Community, Lifestyle

Chinoy Chow: Chinoy Food Tour in Cebu with Valerie Tan

In partnership with Globe Business, CHiNOY TV launched a three-part food series showcasing various Chinoy food hotspots all over the country. Valerie Tan took us to an exciting world of Filipino-Chinese cuisine, from popular restaurants to hidden gems. 


Also known as the Queen City of the South, Cebu is home to a large community of Chinoys. Chanda Simeon, deputy executive director of Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum, explained that while there is no specific plot of an area called Chinatown, there are pieces and details emulating Chinatown in Cebu’s nooks and crannies. 

In this episode, Valerie first visited La Fortuna Bakery, owned by its third-generation heir Michael John Sy. The bakery was established in 1953 by his grandparents who migrated from China and initially peddled for a living. Today, La Fortuna is always packed with hungry customers looking for delicacies like the crowd-favorite Maci, a kind of tikoy with peanut and sesame filling. 

Opening La Fortuna in the U.S. was his father’s dream, but his grandmother reached out to Michael who grew up and lived overseas for help in the Philippines. Thus, Michael felt inclined to heed her call. Taking on the family business in exchange for his passion for engineering felt like a duty, a responsibility, and a way of giving back to his grandparents who paved the way to financial stability. 

With each new generation comes different advantages and disadvantages. It was crucial to him to adapt to the times in order to keep the business afloat.

On another hand, the magnified digitalization during the pandemic jumpstarted many online businesses like Chef Joshua’s Kitchen. Joanne and her son, Joshua Ong, began their online venture out of their own kitchen which they described as impractical as it was placed on the upper floor of her residence while delivery riders waited on the ground floor. Hence, they converted their garage into a commercial kitchen.

Chef Joshua’s Kitchen offers crispy chicken sandwiches, Neapolitan-style pizzas, and everything comfort food. Valerie took a bite out of their chewy and crispy pizza made from DIY poolish dough, which takes three days to complete. 

Going digital was Joshua’s idea. Aside from going online to connect with customers and getting the word out, their POS did the heavy lifting for their inventory and sales. Joanne hoped that their business would expand to more branches in the future.

Valerie’s final stop was Cur8, an Asian fusion restaurant owned by one of the top restaurateurs JP Chiongbian. It’s lauded for its world-class modern ambiance and flavorful fusion dishes like the dragonfruit kinilaw.

 JP began in the F&B industry with a bar setting and later opened up Sugbo Mercado, an all-year-round food market. In 2022, he opened Cur8. 

He understood that, to stay on top of the industry’s changing demands, he had to leverage digital tools. His online food community turned mobile app, Let’s Eat Bai, offered other Cebuano food merchants a platform to be promoted in. 

After a day of exploring Cebu and getting to know our Chinoy food entrepreneurs, Valerie learned how important family and community are to the success of a business. Missed the premiere? Watch it here.

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