I’m starting feel that Rome is a schizophrenic city. It’s beautiful. It’s crazy. The ancient ruins are awe-inspiring. The bureaucracy is awe-inspiring in an entirely different and unpleasant way. I wish I could live here forever. I wish I could leave here right now.
And yet, throughout all of these emotions cascading through me, there’s one thought runs steady— there are Filipino restaurants in Rome! Canberra had no Filipino places my entire time there, and the single Filipino place Kusina was only launched the year I left. Here in Rome, I have access to Asian Delight near Termini, Sarap near the Vatican, a little lutong bahay place near the Philippine Embassy. According to both locals and TripAdvisor, there are quite a few more places for me to discover.
It’s been a few times now that after a long day getting nowhere with Italian bureaucracy, I’d stop by a Filipino place and get something to take away. Asian Delight, Sarap, and the lutong bahay place all sell dimsum as well so I can get my siopao-siomai-prawn-cracker fix from them as well. Surprisingly, I’ve run into Italian diners a number of times and there are always Italian staff present who may or may not speak Tagalog.
In terms of groceries, Italian sisters often keep shop at the sari sari store beside the embassy (when not manned by the very kind lady who helped us on our first day), and most Asian shops also carry Filipino food like instant noodles, Pure Foods corned beef, and 555 Sardines. Sadly, not Century Tuna or Lady’s Choice mayonnaise, but one cannot have everything and at least there are no queues!