Sunday Brunch Filipino-Style | Malasa San Francisco

With such few Filipino dining options in San Francisco, it was a delight to discover that there was a Filipino weekend brunch pop-up, named Malasa (flavorful in Filipino), located in the Inner Sunset. The space is shared with a Cajun-Creole restaurant called Crawstation, which can be easy to miss if you’re actually looking for the name “Malasa”. Mestelle and I went on a Sunday morning to check it out.

When we arrived, there were probably only three other tables that were occupied. The restaurant interior was fairly casual with minimal decorations. The waitress promptly seated us and handed us our menus. She let us know of the drink special which was mango cantaloupe that included free refills as well as another refill in a take home cup. If I hadn’t taken the train, I would have gotten this to go refill since it was so good. I had overheard her talking to another customer about the drink special and how it was “made with love”. That brought a smile to my face and assured me that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

The menu was a mix of the typical Filipino fare such as lumpia shanghai (meat spring roll) and silogs (dish that includes a meat, garlic rice and a fried egg) but with a bit of flare. I saw a dish with bonito flakes and nori, a cheese filled lumpia, as well as a smoked trout instead of tinapa (smoked milkfish). Everything looked appealing but we decided on the crispy chicken chicharon (cracklings) as our appetizer and the combination silog and carne norte for the mains. And, of course, the mango cantaloupe drink special.

Now, on to the food!

Malasa Mango Cantaloupe
Mango Cantaloupe

Jamie: The mango cantaloupe combination worked very well together. It was extremely refreshing without being too sweet. There were tiny chunks of cantaloupe that I sipped through a straw and the crushed ice was just perfect for keeping it cool. 
Mestelle: I would’ve never thought of this combo, but it’s a wonderful creation. It’s like a Filipino agua fresca! I had a glass and a half of this lovely concoction. Every sip had small cantaloupe bits and crushed ice with a refreshingly tasty amount of sweet. The owner said she worked really hard on it so hats off to her!
Malasa Chicken Skin Chicharron
Chicken Skin Chicharron

Jamie: This appetizer was surprisingly light and not at all oily. It was crisp but not hard crunchy like when you over fry something. I preferred eating it by itself as I thought the sauce was too acidic for my taste. 

Mestelle: I love fried chicken skin. To find out they had it in chicharon form, I was excited to try it. This crispy, savory goodness would be great for pulutan (Filipino snack) and paired with beer. Maybe a sweet dipping sauce would’ve been a better choice than the vinegary one they served it with. 
Malasa Combination Silog: tapa, longanisa, tocino with garlic rice
Combination Silog: tapa, longanisa, tocino with garlic rice

Jamie: A great way to sample their silogs as it comes with three meats, a spoon of atchara and salted egg and tomato, as well as a fried egg with garlic rice. All the meats were seasoned well and the sweet tocino was my favorite out of the three. 
Mestelle: One of the better silogs I’ve tried in the Bay Area. Some places serve tapa that’s too dry, longanisa that’s too fatty and sweet, and tocino that’s oily or burnt. The meats here were just right. I’m happy they had an option to try them all out. I enjoyed the side condiments and it tasted great altogether.  

Malasa Carne Norte
Carne Norte

Jamie: This wasn’t the canned stuff that your parents made for breakfast. It’s home made with bite size chunks of meat. The seasoning was on point and was a nice garlicky flavor. 
Mestelle: So this is my first time trying corned beef hash that wasn’t made with Ox &Palm or Libby’s Corned Beef (the struggle with that darn key!) It’s definitely a different version than what mom makes. It’s super filling and comes in a big portion which would’ve fed another person. Truly an ultimate Filipino comfort food.

Overall, the food was delicious and it surely lived up to it’s name, malasa. The dishes were good size portions for the price and were actually filling. We would definitely return for lunch as well as dinner in the future since the waitress informed us that they’re currently working on being open for dinner. We’re glad that they helped fill the void of Filipino cuisine in the Sunset District. We hope others make their way out to try it too!



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