Had another successful lunch at Halo today. They use the steam trays on Fridays only, as far as I know, so that's when I try to visit. Their other offerings are solid, but I feel like they make a real effort to offer unique items on Fridays.
I ordered two dishes with a side of rice. The black dish is some kind of stewed tilapia in a tart sauce. I think it might be dinuguan
, but it definitely didn't have any of that metallic or offaly flavor I'd expect from a dish made with pork's blood. Though it was a little funky, hard to say. Perhaps they used a little and offset it with plenty of vinegar so as not to scare off customers? Not sure, but it was tasty. The fish was soft and tender, and served as a nice vehicle to carry the funky sauce. There were also pieces that were soft and fatty that originally I thought was soft tofu, but realized it was some kind of animal fat (I don't think it was fish). They leant a nice textural contrast to the fish and added richness to the dish.
The other dish is the Filipino classic, chicken afritada
. This was a solid version that featured perfectly cooked hunks of carrot that were still firm but still picked up plenty of flavor from the creamy sauce. The chicken was all dark meat, soft and flavorful. The sauce was a little sour from the tomato sauce, but I also detected a funkiness that probably came from fish sauce. I perked it up a little with their spicy vinegar that they have behind the counter.
This place is real close to my office, so it has become my go to for a quick, cheap Friday meal. I hope they keep rotating the interesting Filipino steam tray offerings on Fridays. It's been a fun and delicious education in Filipino cuisine.