Filipino comfort food has come to Oakland with Kainbigan (2101 14th Avenue at East 21st Street). The restaurant officially opened its doors on September 14, 2013.
Kainbigan is a play on Tagalog words kain, meaning eat, and bigan, meaning friend. Together the word loosely means come in and eat friend, which is Kainbigan’s slogan, “Let’s eat, my friends.”
The popular street food turned pop up restaurant has now found a home at 14th Avenue. The small restaurant serves up the same yummy Filipino comfort food for dining in, take-out or catering that it has since it became available on Oakland’s street corners and nightclubs several years ago.
Caabay still can’t believe that her dream to bring her grandmother’s and mother’s recipes to the public at Kainbigan has become a reality.
“I’m still shocked. I feel like, it’s unreal, it feels surreal, it’s still a dream and like now it is it’s a restaurant,” said Caabay, 34, who for years served up her home cooked Filipino comfort food on the streets of Oakland and in night clubs.
People have been waiting for a long time for Kainbigan to find a home and open its doors. Since the soft launch, there has been a steady stream of people picking up orders or sitting and hanging out eating at the restaurant.
A new regular at Kainbigan, Mona Webb, calls the food a “spectacular melody of delight.”
The poet stops by for lunch about every two weeks to get her two favorite dishes: the meatless chicken sticks and the garlic shrimp, she said.
“They are really flavorful and really filling,” said Webb, who lives nearby. “Kainbigan has ‘feel good food.'”
Making her mark throughout the Bay Area, Chef Caabay satisfies appetites with her creative culinary skills. Her love of cooking Filipino food and inventive personal specialties has satisfied taste buds wherever she goes. Having cooked and served her deliciously inspired food at many famous, local area venues such as: The Oasis, The Den inside the Fox theater, Somar, Oakland Art Murmur, Terra SF, and SomArts Cultural Center – to name a few – Chef Caabay is excited to find a permanent home in Oakland.
You can be sure that her motto follows, “Where there is good food, there is always good company!”