The Filipino community take up a large percentage of the expat population in the UAE, and it is heartening to see we finally have a little piece of the Philippines right in the commercial nook of Deira, Dubai catering for the authentic cuisines our Filipino brethren have been missing from back home. Little Manila is not a restaurant; it is a whole food-court of well-loved foodie brands hailing from the Philippines. I had the pleasure of attending their opening in September (read all about it here), and then I got invited for a ‘Boodle Fight’!

Little Manila is a ‘first of its kind’ Filipino themed restaurant in Dubai, and is the global conglomerate, Al Ahli Group’s first venture into the food industry.

little manila logo deira dubai

The restaurant has officially started business from this Monday 14th September, and I had the pleasure of being invited to the media event on Saturday.

little manila deira dubai pinoy food opening
Al Ahli Holding Group’s senior executives CEO, Mohammed Khammas, and International Business Development Head, Mr. Parvez Naqvi lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Little Manila along with senior delegates from the Consulate General of Philippines (Dubai) office.

Although he is a qualified engineer, Chef Richard followed his parents’ footsteps and entered the famous Filipino kitchens of Max’s Restaurant.

Richard or Chai, to his friends, has a Bachelor of Science degree specializing in Civil Engineering. He is a graduate of the Technological Institute in the Philippines.chef richard max restaurant filipino

Combining a love for cooking with the practicality of science, Chai’s career has seen him win a number of accolades across his decade-long career with Max’s restaurant including a special award for food safety. However, his greatest moment of pride was when his dish won over the finickiest of critics; his 6 year-old daughter!

When Max’s was brought to the UAE, Chai was chosen to help the team in maintaining the high quality standards of the food. For him, bringing Max’s to UAE was like planting the Philippine flag in the UAE culinary map. Chai believes that Max’s UAE has brought Filipinos closer to home.

Katherine Lorente is from the Philippines. Her bubbly persona masks her age, and makes her perfect for her daytime role as a receptionist for the Q-Gourmet head office based in Sharjah.

In Katherine I found yet another master chef! Katherine has an innate love for cooking, and has her very own culinary business back home in the Philippines.

pancit palabok philippines recipe