We are very fortunate
to have easy access to a global food palate—with a Japanese restaurant hanging
out in every corner, good Spanish places abound, and easy access to French,
Indian, and Persian cravings whenever we feel like eating something that did
not come from our kitchen.
we only have a handful of places that come to mind on the subject of Southeast
Asian cuisine. Our neighboring ASEAN nations—Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia,
to name a few—have beautiful flavors that are worth noticing, but when we think
about going out for a food trip, the first thing that comes to mind are
burgers, pizza, pasta, and sushi.
to this gap in the market, Chef Christina Sunae sought to bring the beauty of
these cuisine and merge them with Filipino flavors to create something
And so, Sunae
Asian Cantina was born. In partnership with Carlo Gordon Lorenzana—restaurateur
behind Nikkei, La Cabrera, and Single Origin—Chef Christina created Sunae to
bring together all the outstanding characteristics of our favorite Southeast
Asian dishes and create new flavors and unique pairings.
As an Asian-American chef raised by her Kapampangan Mom, and having backpacked around the world, Chef Christina knew her way around playing with gastronomic fusions. Her passion for traveling and tasting the world became the foundation of her first restaurant in Argentina, Cantina Sunae, which celebrated her Southeast Asian roots.
Last year, she brought this back to her home turf with Sunae Asian Cantina in BGC, where she continued to play around with Southeast Asian dishes
and techniques, anchored in Filipino flavors. This is why you’ll see siomai and rendang sitting
beside a Davao pomelo salad, or pork adobo slapped inside a steamed pao with
some kimchi and marinated cucumbers.
the food, the harmony of cultures is also splashed across the canvas of Sunae Asian
Cantina’s interiors. Hanging lamps made of synthetic rattan light up the whole place,
bilaos that would’ve been used to peddle Vietnamese spring rolls or pad thai line
the ceiling, and art pieces featuring Southeast Asian characters and design are
scattered around the restaurant.
and familiar, but fresh and new at the same time. That’s the charm of Sunae’s
interiors—a place to hang out with your friends to try something new, or somewhere
to bring the whole clan when you want a conservative but hearty feast. It helps
that they have an all-day happy hour in place for when you want to chill with
your amigas, where you can enjoy 3 drinks for only 500+ pesos.
worth mentioning that Sunae has a generous al fresco dining space, perfect for
dining under the stars or enjoying the cool afternoon weather. With Covid-19 still
in full swing, al fresco dining has also been a preference of many, and it’s
great to have places like Sunae where you can comfortably enjoy your food.
opened last year, Sunae Asian Cantina has started rolling out new dishes to
keep its menu fresh for their patrons. And recently, they’ve added four new
dishes that highlight Vietnamese and Thai flavors, but grounded with a Filipino
Check out our
gallery below for Sunae’s new menu additions, and for a virtual tour of the
New and exciting dishes
SWIPE LEFT OR RIGHT TO NAVIGATE BETWEEN PAGES
1 / 17
A welcoming space
Wood and warm colors dominate the interiors of Sunae Asian Cantina, true to its Southeast Asian and Filipino roots.
2 / 17
Spacious and tasteful
Upon entering, a tiled counter greets you, which showcases a semi-open kitchen layout.
3 / 17
Touch of Pinoy
This nostalgic ethnic Filipina artwork is stamped on the brick walls that surround the restaurant. Lorenzana was said to be very hands on in the creation of the interiors and design of his restaurants, including Sunae.
4 / 17
The seats are properly spaced to give ample social distancing between guests dining in.
5 / 17
Get your sun
Huge glass windows surround the whole restaurant, inviting a healthy amount of natural light that warms up the concrete flooring and the heavy woods.
6 / 17
Invite your amigas for a happy hour at the cantina. Enjoy your drinks on the bar, which flows seamlessly into the kitchen.
7 / 17
Southeast Asian decor
Synthetic rattan are woven to create low-maintenance hanging light fixture, which as if melt into the ceiling studded with hundreds of bilao.
8 / 17
A Southeast Asian grandmother smiles behind the photograph, reminiscent of our suki lolas, which are landmarks in Southeast Asian street food.
9 / 17
Warm recycled wood
Repurposed wood was also retrofitted into the design of the interiors to encourage sustainability.
10 / 17
Sunae has a spacious al fresco dining area, which can seat more than a handful of groups and couples.
11 / 17
Fresh air, morning to night
Since the al fresco area is shaded, it’s still nice to dine out here in the mornings and afternoons. It’s extra exceptional at night, where you can chill and eat with a view of the city lights and the clear skies.
12 / 17
Kinilaw sa Pipinu
First on Sunae’s new menu list: Kinilaw sa Pipinu. This bright and light starter dish has bits of lapu-lapu fish, chili peanuts for crunch, and fresh cucumber that’s bursting with the flavors of coconut milk, fresh ginger, and dill. It comes with a side of homemade cassava chips, which tastes nice with the sweet chili sauce that comes with the chips when you order it separately. The sweet chili sauce and cassava chips combo is phenomenal, and would go well with some cocktails.
13 / 17
Lola's Tinola Dumpling Soup
Dumplings may not be staple in Filipino cuisine, but one bite of this and you’ll be taken back to your lola’s kitchen, the smell of ginger and freshly picked malunggay wafting in the air. This dumpling soup is definitely Pinoy comnfort food but leveled up. It’s homey, it’s warm, it’s delicious.
14 / 17
Wagyu Thai Roll
Something a bit more lavish that you’ll see in the menu is this roll of medium rare US Wagyu flank. But don’t be fooled, because it’s still a roll of fresh goodness, reminiscent of Thai dishes packed with the crunch and freshness of vegetables, and a kick of cilantro. Contrary to our expectations, each roll is not too rich because of the freshness of the lettuce and garlic-cilantro filling that complements it.
15 / 17
Escabeche Red Snapper
This is probably our favorite in the new lineup of dishes. It looks simple and unassuming, but the perfect cook on the red snapper makes all the difference. The moment you cut into it, the crunch is phenomenal it makes you think twice if the fish was coated, and the turmeric escabeche just blows it out of the park. The flavors in the sauce hits you on the first bite and then subsides, asking you to get one more bite…and another, and another until you finish it and you’re left wanting more.
16 / 17
Passion Fruit Tisane
If you’re not up for something alcoholic, you can wash down your hearty feast with a glass of passion fruit tisane—a fruit blend of elderberries, cranberries, hibiscus, rooibos, and rosehip. What’s great about Sunae’s iced teas is that they’re very light and refreshing, which is perfect when you’re ordering something rich, spicy, and coconut cream-heavy from their menu.
17 / 17
Cap off your visit with a bowl of carioca balls, this time leveled up from the usual carioca balls on sticks that you buy from your neighborhood banana cue vendor. Sunae’s Carioca Pop comes with a coconut and sweet potato ice cream (it’s actually just cream but I like to call it ice cream because it’s sweet and cold and creamy), and mango and strawberry toppings. The generous toasted coconut shavings and sesame seeds on top of the sweet potato cream make this dessert very earthy and not overly sweet at all—perfect as a finale to a gastronomic journey around Southeast Asia, bringing it all back home.
Cantina is located at 2/F View Deck, One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th
Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. For inquiries, contact them at 0916-607-4903 or
visit their Instagram page at @sunaeasiancantinaph.