A joke leads to establishment of Filipino Restaurant

What started off as jokes over drinks became a reality for a circle of Filipino friends residing and working in Samoa, who now own a restaurant that specialises in Filipino dishes.

The group of 13 friends invested $30,000 tala to open Adobo Hauz in Tufuiopa.

One of the friends, Alminda Magbalot Mckenzie, said the idea was born out of their shared interest in food, which they discovered during their picnics on the beach. 

“We knew each other from the Filipino community here, it’s called P.I.S.O. (Philippine in Samoa Organisation). We have a sports fest where we come to meet and bond, and every week for several months we become close friends,” Ms. Mckenzie said.  

“When the sports fest was over in November last year, we managed to meet each other once or twice a month and we go to the beach and drink and swim and when we were drinking, we cooked food and we find our food really good. Most of us cook well, but we chose three chefs. 

“We were joking about it for five months and then another three months planning to set the restaurant up and we opened on August 8.” 

Ms. Mckenzie said they named the restaurant Adobo as it is a very famous Filipino food. 

“Most Samoans always ask for Adobo because they have seen that in movies. Adobo could be chicken, pork, squid, it can be a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar and it’s just the sauce. It’s a typical Filipino food.

“There are 13 menus and every week we offer different food like the latest one is the Crispy Pata, which is a favourite of the Samoans. And we have five types of Filipino desserts.” 

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The friends set a target of $500 every night since they opened and so far they manage to cover their expenses with their income. 

“We really had a good customer turnout on the first day and we have maintained a good income every night because there are a lot of takeaways.

“We set a minimum of $500 every night but we get 800-1000 orders some nights and other nights less than that, but our income still covers our expenses.” 

The friends also employ three Samoans and source their ingredients locally. 

They plan to also open a bar as their main chef is really good in mixing cocktails and add more menus.  

“We all work in Samoa and the restaurant is our part time job that is why we only open at dinner time,” Ms. Mckenzie said. 

There are four males and nine females in the circle of friends. 

“Now that opening a restaurant really came true, we laugh at how we managed to establish the restaurant.”

Like any group of friends there are always challenges and disagreements, but Ms. Mckenzie said they always come to a solution when it’s regarding the business. 

She said their business venture is a partnership born out of friendship, and hopes that last friendship will sustain it in the future. 

The restaurant opens at 6pm-10pm every day except Sunday. 

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