Southeast LA Spotlights Filipino Culinary Delights with Weekly Buffet in Artesia


Artesia, a hub in Southeast LA’s Gateway Cities, vibrates with a rich cultural amalgamation, finding a heartbeat in the myriad of Filipino restaurants and bakeries it houses.

A remarkable highlight in this culinary tapestry is the Mekeni Pinoy’s Pride, which metamorphoses into a gastronomic haven every Wednesday night, drawing in more than 200 food enthusiasts eager to delve into the Filipino culinary delights showcased in its grandiose dinner buffet.

The term “Mekeni,” from the Kapampangan dialect prevalent in the north of the Philippines, is a cordial invitation urging people to “come over.” True to its name, the restaurant, under the ownership of Felina and Moises Simbulan since November 2022, offers an environment echoing warmth and festivity, heightened by elegant white chandeliers, an alluring open kitchen setup, and panoramic windows, creating a space of inclusivity and joy.

Felina, a native of Pampanga — an area held in high esteem as the gastronomic heartland of the Philippines — pours her passion for her heritage into the culinary offerings of the establishment. As she states, her vision was to forge a haven where both Filipino natives feeling a tug of homesickness and culinary explorers could find common ground over a meal brimming with authentic flavors. The demographic statistics, with nearly 18 percent of Artesia’s population being of Filipino origin, testify to the restaurant fitting perfectly within the locale, a natural haven for the community to gather and revel in familiar flavors.

From Spontaneous Beginnings to Culinary Triumph: The Story of Mekeni Pinoy’s Pride

Mekeni Pinoy’s Pride
Photo Credits to the Rightful Owner

The birth of Mekeni Pinoy’s Pride was somewhat spontaneous, driven by the couple’s strong sense of community and aided immensely by their existing rapport in the home health agency sector. Felina sought guidance from a fellow restaurateur, owner of LA Brisket, in navigating the myriad prerequisites to launching a restaurant, from permit acquisitions to workforce recruitment.

“It was clear to me that my comfort zone was the kitchen, not necessarily the business side of a restaurant,” expresses Felina, a sentiment punctuated by her heartfelt gratitude towards the enthusiastic patrons who grace her establishment, confirming its triumphant start.

Mekeni Pinoy’s Pride didn’t stop at offering a dinner experience; it ventured further by introducing a breakfast buffet during the weekends, featuring beloved morning staples from the Filipino cuisine, a tantalizing array of dishes from tocino to sinangág lining the buffet trays, adding warmth and hearty flavors to the morning dining experience.

Their gastronomic journey evolves with a dynamic menu, mirroring the vibrant Filipino family feasts with a variety of dishes ranging from the savory pork adobo to the sweet and creamy dessert soup, ginataang bilo bilo, a harmonious blend of coconut broth, sweet potatoes, and jackfruit providing a sweet end to the meal.

Mekeni Pinoy’s Pride Expanding with Event Space and Catering

The future looks bright for Mekeni Pinoy’s Pride as they anticipate expanding their footprint with a private event space and a more extensive catering service, geared to launch later this year, adding another feather to their hat.

As customer Ryann Vanier shares, the heart of the restaurant lies in Felina’s unique ability to foster a familial atmosphere, bridging gaps between strangers and regulars alike, embodying the true spirit of Filipino hospitality and warmth.


Read Also: Cebu Goes Culinary 2023: A Grand Celebration of Filipino Cuisine


Written by Proudly Filipino

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