NEW YORK—At Tsismis NYC, a new casual French-style bistro, executive chef Jappy Afzelius says people can have great conversation, while pairing the flavors of Philippine cuisine with the finest wines.
After all, Tsismis is a Filipino word that means “gossip” or “idle talk.”
“We wanted to showcase this part of Philippine culture, the side of us that normally sits down, hangs out with friends and family. We eat, we drink some wine, or some San Miguel beer and just have a good time,” Afzelius told “Balitang America.”
Afzelius, a classically trained chef, has worked with famed master chefs such as David Burke and Alain Ducasse, whose famous restaurant, The Dorchester in London, holds 3 stars in the Michelin guide.
But the flavors at Tsismis are authentically Filipino, using mostly ingredients and spices found in the Philippines.
“We’re using traditional products such as pinakurat suka, cane vinegar from Negros, spicy bagoong, and of course, banana ketchup,” Afzelius said.
The New York Times puts a spotlight on one of Tsismis NYC’s most popular appetizer, kale laing, sauteed with bagoong, or shrimp paste.
Eater New York highlights other popular items in Tsismis menu, such as Pinoy caesar salad with romaine lettuce, garlic croutons with flakes of tuyo or Pinoy anchovies.
The tinapa croquetas are addicting.
When it comes to dessert, Afzelius’ maja blanca and silvanas are a hit.
From this chef’s table’s Pinoy mural to the storefront decals, Afzelius says Tsismis is also about showcasing Philippine culture.
“In order to raise the Philippine flag, we also have to raise our style of restaurant, thus promoting food and culture,” the chef said.
Owned by Reggie Aguinaldo and Stephen Dee Young, Tsismis NYC is located in the Lower East Side.