Chance Anies, Owner of Philly's newest Filipino food truck Tabachoy
Over the last few years, there has been a steady rise in Philly’s Filipino food scene. I remember when there were no options available when it came to finding Filipino food. Now there are restaurants, popup events and even food trucks! I’d like to introduce Chance Anies, owner of Tabachoy. He’s an up and coming chef creating authentic Filipino cuisine from his food truck.
Tell me where you’re from?
“I’m a Navy brat, so it’s hard to answer that question. I was born in San Francisco, spent some time in Hawaii and Florida, until finishing high school in Northern Virginia. I moved to Philly after high school in 2009, and instantly fell in love, so though I’m not from here, I give all the credit to this city for helping me grow up.”
When did you learn to cook?
“My dad is a personal chef in DC, so I grew up in the kitchen. I know I’m biased, but he’s the best chef in the world, and is a really good teacher. He never taught me strict knife cuts or anything, but he taught me how to taste. Every single thing on my menu was introduced to me by him, and I try to mimic the flavors he creates as best as I can.”
What inspired you to open a food truck?
“I couldn’t afford to open a restaurant, and needed to get better at cooking before I did, so a cart was the best starting point for me. And I just want people to LOVE Filipino food as much as I do. I’m half Filipino/ half white, so I didn’t grow up around a lot of other Filipino groups, and haven’t had as much exposure to the culture as many of my peers- so inadvertently, this project has been a way for me to learn more about my heritage as well.”
What challenges did you face while getting your business started?
“Just taking the leap and opening the business was challenging. I worked a great job at Temple Medical school with no stress, great benefits, and great hours—so leaving that was really tough. But I was really bored with my job, and didn’t feel like it would lead me anywhere that would fulfill me. I knew I had to work in food. I’m a firm believer in getting tons of advice, so before I opened up, I met with some great chefs in the city and picked their brains slash begged them to teach me how to make it work. I’ve been so blessed to have had such a smooth transition into food business ownership because of them. Shout out to Kiki and Chris at Poi Dog, Lou of Perla/ Sarvida, and the team at LALO for being incredible human beings!”
How would you describe Filipino cuisine to someone who’s never experienced it before?
“Oh gosh. We’re a mix of a lot of things. I usually just tell people that we love vinegar and sour tastes a lot more than any other culture I’ve experienced. But we somehow always make sure it balances itself out with the rest of the meal. Oh, and the only thing we love more than vinegar is garlic. There’s never enough garlic in any of our dishes!”
Tell us about some of the items you feature on your menu?
“The most popular items are the pork adobo and the barbecue chicken. I was a little nervous to sell bone in ribs from my cart because they’re not as easy to eat and there’s a lot of cartilage and fat, but people don’t seem to mind the extra work. I’ve also been shocked at how many people love my homemade Filipino barbecue sauce. It’s salty, sweet, and tangy- and honestly reminds me of mall Chinese food, but man, I love how comforting it is, and people seem to enjoy it equally as much.”
Do you feature any weekly specials?
“I wish I had more space on my cart to feature more items, and since I’m just starting out, I’m still figuring out what people like. Until I get more into my groove, I’m going to toy with a handful of items, and see what works best. I’d love to eventually change the menu regularly though. I would be so bored making the same food everyday for long periods of time.”
Do you plan on featuring any dessert items on the menu?
“In the future I hope to! I love flan and bibingka, and ice candy, and would love to introduce taho to the community as well. There are so many things I want to do, but I do feel a little limited with the space on my cart. One day I will figure it out though!”
What are your favorite Filipino dishes?
“The things I cook on the cart are my favorite things! Beef steak, tocino, chicken adobo, I cook the things I like eating myself. Of course I love lumpia too, but don’t have a fryer on the cart yet! Though, I know once I start serving lumpia, I will have opened up Pandora’s Box, and I’ll be rolling them far too frequently for my liking.”
What are your thoughts on Philly’s Filipino food scene?
“Man, it’s incredible right now! And I love that we’re all in it together. I’ve been blown away at how warm everyone has been in welcoming me into the scene- especially without having a background in the industry. Lou let me use Sarvida to host a pop up in May; Melanie at Flowstate makes the best gelato in the city; LALO’s crew are some of the sweetest humans I’ve ever met and their food is bomb; and Raquel of Tita Emmie’s is doing the most Filipino thing by bringing people into her home to feed them. Everyone is doing something a little bit different, but representing the Philippines so well. I’m grateful to just be a part of it all.”
If you could collaborate with any chef, who would you collaborate with?
“Easy. Matty Matheson, Brad Leone, and Matt Abergel. Matty and Brad just seem like super fun and happy people I’d want to be around. Their food is great, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. And Matt Abergel has just created something really special with Yardbird. I haven’t eaten any of their food, but I have been in love with their brand since discovering them. They’ve done really cool things with food and fashion, that I would weirdly love to see happen with Tabachoy.”
When you’re not busy running the food truck, what do you love to do on your free time?
“Hmm…I don’t think I’ve been business long enough to have free time yet…but you can find me spending time with my wife, Maria, in West Philly. We’re most likely walking our 2 year old Great Dane, Charlie, or eating dim sum or nachos at happy hour somewhere in the neighborhood.”
Where would you like to see Tabachoy in another 5 years?
“Goodness. I’ve never been a small dreamer, but in five years, I’d love to have a brick and mortar location with a bar. I want to continue to expand Filipino food in the city, but do something a little more than my rice bowls right now. I am working on a concept of doing a sort of Filipino smoke house, with Filipino BBQ, whole pig lechon, longanisa, and all that. I’m excited to see how Tabachoy helps open doors!”
For more information about Chance Anies and Tabachoy Food Truck, head to www.tabachoyphilly.com