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Kainbigan is a labor of love for chef-owner Charleen Caabay, whose East Oakland restaurant’s name is a play on words in Tagalog that translates to “Let’s eat, my friends.” Like many Filipino eateries, the restaurant has a steam table that features a handful of saucy, long-cooked stews like pork adobo and the chicken afritada that hold up to the treatment. But Caabay wanted to introduce diners to the freshness of Filipino cuisine, so about half the dishes are cooked to order in a hot wok. Try the bistek fried rice, a piping-hot calamansi-marinated beef stir-fry that’s served over soy-sauce-soaked rice. Or get the plump grilled-to-order shrimp drenched in a lush house-made garlic sauce, which Caabay likened to a calamansi-infused aioli. Kainbigan is an order-at-the-counter kind of place, but the service is warm, and the portions are often big enough to feed the whole damn potluck.

— Luke Tsai

Hours: Wed.-Mon. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.


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Price: $-$$

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