A Former Filipino Janitor Now Has A Filipino Restaurant In Australia

IMAGE JOHN ANDREW DANGCA

Is there a formula to make your dreams become a reality? For John Andrew Dangca, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Australia, it took hard work and countless sleepless nights that eventually paid off when he opened his very own Filipino restaurant in the Land Down Under.

According to an interview with Summit OriginalsDangca says he was brought to Australia as an exchange student sponsored by his aunt. While studying, he worked multiple jobs on the side and persevered through the exhaustion for the sake of his family.

"Hindi na lang ako naging choosy.Kung ano na lang pumasok sa akin na trabaho, i-gagrab ko talaga 'yun. Kahit alam kong nakakapagod, sige lang po.

Believe it or not, on top of studying, he worked as a cleaner in offices, houses, and childcare facilities; worked in a hotel; worked as a dishwasher in a chicken charcoal restaurant. 

"Sobrang hirap po talaga kasi sa train station, doon na po ako natutulog. Minsan, 4 a.m. dumarating ako doon sa terminal ng train station, diretso na po ako sa school. Hindi na po ako umuuwi sa tita ko o sa uncle kasi nasasayangan ako sa oras." He adds, "After work doon sa hotel, nakikiligo na lang ako para dirediretso na ako sa school."

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And in the year 2020, Dangca was able to earn and pool enough money to open his very own restaurant, Salu-Salo, a place that was previously owned by a Filipino couple he worked with at the airport.

Salu-salo is a Tagalog word that means to gather and eat together. The restaurant specializes in Filipino comfort food that will make any kababayan visiting the restaurant, feel a little less homesick and feel little closer to home. While this is also a great way for foreigners to introduce themselves to the delicious dishes of the Philippines.

Take a look at Salu-Salo:

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Salu-Salo serves silog meals (16-17 AUD) that include tapa, bangus, tocino, pares, and bacon, and Filipino Pandesal (8 AUD) that's served with ube jam and butter. They also serve other interesting breakfast dishes like the Adobo Omelet (19 AUD), Ube Waffles (18 AUD) which are topped with fruits, mascarpone, ice cream, ube maple syrup, and candied walnuts.

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For dinner, you can't go wrong with classics! Salu-Salo has Sinigang na Hipon (26 AUD), Swordfish Sizzling Sisig (22 AUD), Kare-Kare (24 AUD), and Chicken Inasal (18-34 AUD) you'll want to pair with lots of rice.

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They also serve other handaan and merienda favorites like Pansit Palabok (19 AUD), Filipino-Style Spaghetti (18 AUD), Pork Siomai (15 AUD), Pork Barbecue Skewers (15 AUD), and Vego Spring Rolls (P15 AUD) which are vegan-friendly lumpia that's made with mushroom, carrots, cabbage, and bean sprouts, wrapped in vermicelli.

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According to Salu-Salo, their specials feature their childhood favorite dishes from their hometown. Salu-Salo got help from the best cooks from each family in Pampanga, Ilocos, Nueva Ecija, Cebu, and Laguna. You can try their Pampanga's Prk Sisig (20 AUD), Ilocos' Pakbet (15 AUD), Nueva Ecija's Kalderetang Kambing (24 AUD), Cebu's Liempo de Balamban (22 AUD), and Laguna's Buko Pie (8 AUD).

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If you are or you know someone in Australia looking for Filipino food (or a place to book for private events!), Salu-Salo is located at Shop 9/39 O'Hanlon Place, Nicholls, Act 2913. Follow Salu-Salo on Facebook for more information.

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.

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