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Spotlight: Scott Joseph Reviews Taglish

Photo courtesy of Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide
Photo courtesy of Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide

This review is abridged for broadcast. Find the full version of the review at Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide on this page.

“Hi, welcome,” said the man behind the counter at Taglish. “I’m Mike, I’m the owner.”

That was the pleasant beginning to a visit that got even better as it went along. Well, as pleasant as food-court dining can be, but we’ll come back to that.

Taglish is a Filipino-American stall in the food court at Lotte Market in West Orlando. The name is a portmanteau of Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philippines, and English. I’m not sure how that translates to the menu, which seems to have more fusions of Filipino and Spanish. But then if you combined those two you’d still come up with Taglish, so we’re good.

I placed my order with Mike – that’s Mike Collantes, by the way – who took my payment and asked for my phone number. He wasn’t being fresh; the staff sends a text message when the food is ready, so you can wander the market.

I went whole hog, so to speak, and ordered Chicharrones for an appetizer and Lechon Kawali for my main course.

The Chicharrones were flash-fried and crisp, sort of like a meat version of rice crackers. They had a nice bit of saltiness to the tongue.

Lechon Kawali is a two-step cooking process, first boiling pork belly and then deep frying it to get it crispy. Taglish’s was nicely crisped and served hot on top of a bed of moist yellow rice with stewed mung beans and garnished with a stack of atchara, or pickled papaya.

Collantes’s resume includes experience cooking with the likes of Wolfgang Puck, Eric Ripert (Le Bernadin) and Joel Robuchon.

Dining at Lotte Market is nothing like a meal at Le Bernadin, and that’s fine. Tables in the common area are clean if a little wobbly, and as I said, the market itself is a fascinating playground for foodies. If you’re lamenting losing your Lucky’s, pay a visit to Lotte.

And stop by Taglish for some delicious food. Or just to say hello to Mike.

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined Central Florida Public Media in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from extraordinary hurricanes to historic space flights, from the people and procedures of Florida’s justice system to the changing face of the state’s economy.