Big Boi on Sawtelle, which opened in late 2017, is part of the Filipino food movement that’s finally starting to trend in Los Angeles. Created by Chef Barb Batiste of dessert bar B Sweet fame, Big Boi serves homestyle Filipino comfort food. My familiarity with Filipino food was fairly limited, so I was eager to try expand my knowledge.
Big Boi is a fast casual restaurant, where you place your order up at the counter and find a seat. The menu is primarily meat-focused, with most customers ordering either the “Smallz” combo, with your choice of entree, rice and pan de sal, or the “Bigz” combo, with choice of two entrees, rice or pancit (or both), and pan de sal. If you’d like, you can upgrade to garlic fried rice for a $1 extra. Alternatively, entrees and sides can be ordered a la carte.
The pan de sal is a yeast-raised bread, which is more sweet than salty (contrary to what the name would imply). Big Boi sells these by the dozen, along with a bright purple ube butter (which gets its color from the purple yam) as well.
There are six meat entrees, with a heavy emphasis on pork – chicken adobo, pork sisig, longanisa, pork tocino, BBQ steak skewers, a rotating canned meat (like Spam or Vienna sausages) and a monthly special.
With my healthy appetite and curiosity to try new food, I chose the Bigz combo in order to sample more. When I sat down, I noticed that all the female customers were happily eating Smallz combos. I thought they were merely watching their weight, but when I received my Bigz combo, I realized why.
The Bigz combo was a lot of food, with the chicken adobo, pork tocino, rice, pancit noodles, veggies and pan de sal. I’m ashamed to admit that I could hardly make a dent in it, taking most of it home with me. The chicken adobo and pancit noodles were on the bland side, though there were condiments that could be used to jazz them up. My favorite was the pork tocino, which was similar to Chinese char siu (BBQ pork), both sweet and salty. I’d come back and order the pork tocino, for sure.
Big Boi does not offer much in the way of vegetarian dishes, other than rice, pancit noodles, seasonal veggies or pan de sal. Even the lumpia egg rolls contain pork. However if you are a meat eater, Big Boi definitely delivers. Bring your appetite and if you’ve got room for dessert, definitely pay a visit to B Sweet a couple of doors down.
Location – 2027 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Website – https://www.gobigboi.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – No, just the sides.
Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly – No, just the sides.
Gluten-Free Options – Yes