Every year, the Rigga Night Market features plenty of food stalls and shopping outlets, which are visited by up to 4,000 people per day. One of the food stalls offers Filipino street foods that have become a big hit among customers!
“Inihaw King” is run by Bryan Valencia Pantaleon, a 37-year-old OFW who lives in Dubai with his wife and son. For some time now, the food stall’s offerings — including the popular grilled isaw (chicken intestines) — have been “sold out” everyday!
PH Street Food Sold Out Daily at “Inihaw King”
In 2012, Bryan came to Dubai on an employment contract, working as a general maintenance technician, GMA News reported. His skills include installing electrical lines, air conditioning, carpentry, and plumbing at popular dining venues in the city. Eventually, he started operating a commissary kitchen.
“Katulad ng marami sa atin, sinawaan na rin akong mangamuhan. Pag namamasukan ka kasi, kahit anong sipag mo, hanggang doon lang din ang kikitain mo. Company ang yumayaman (Like many OFWs, I got tired working for other people. When you’re an employee, no matter how hard you work, your earnings are limited. It is the company that gets richer),” Bryan explained.
“But as you get older, you’d realize you need to be practical and try other fields,” he added. “This way, you will learn that comfort and peace are more important.”
Thus, Bryan decided to open “Inihaw King” (Grill King), one of the food stalls at the Rigga Night Market in Deira. The menu includes Filipino street food such as beef BBQ, grilled chicken feet, chicken gizzard, chicken head, and proben (proventiculus).
The bestseller, however, is grilled isaw or chicken intestines. According to Bryan, they are able to sell about 2,000 sticks everyday… and that’s just the isaw! In addition, the food stall also serves Gotong Batangas and Lomi Batangas.
Team Work Makes the Dream Work
Bryan shared that the food stall employs seven people, who are divided into teams with distinct tasks.
“Almost 24 hours ang operation namin. Sa night market, open kami ng 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., pero ang staff pumapasok na sila ng 3 p.m. at nakakauwi ng 4 a.m. Paid overtime naman ‘yun siyempre (Ours is a 24-hour operation. We are open at the night market from 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., but the staff are already there by 3 p.m. and go home at 4 a.m. They are paid for overtime, of course),” Bryan said.
“Ibang team pa ang sa preparation ng inihaw. Maghapon silang nagtutuhog at inaabot pa hanggang gabi, at ibang team pa din ang sa sauces. ‘Yung sauce, wife ko na gumagawa noon with the help ng kasambahay namin (There’s a different team for food preparation. They work all day, sometimes until evening, putting the food on sticks. Then, there’s another team for the sauces, which is handled by my wife, with assistance from our house helper),” he added.
Bryan mentioned that the food — chicken offals (organs) — are obtained from different suppliers across the UAE.
A Successful Business
Notably, this is the second time that Bryan has joined the Rigga Night Market. He credits his success to the combination of his and his wife’s skills.
“Naging successful naman kaagad. Napagsama ko ang specialty ko sa heavy kitchen equipment at ang galing ng wife ko sa pagluluto (The business quickly became a success. I was able to combine my speciality with heavy kitchen equipment, and my wife’s cooking skills),” he said.
As for putting up their own restaurant, Bryan shared that they have been looking for a place. However, they still haven’t found a location that suits their needs. So for now, he plans to focus on his commissary kitchen while doing freelance interiors and maintenance work.
“Pahinga muna ang F&B (food and beverage) business during the summer (The F&B business will ‘rest’ in the summer),” he noted, while still considering a return to Rigga Night Market when it starts again next year.
Congratulations, Bryan, for the smashing success of your business! To learn more about “Inihaw King” and its delicious food offerings, check out its official Facebook page. Meanwhile, if you’re on the lookout for more Pinoy snacks, here’s a list of the best Filipino street food, right here in Dubai!