Cartier Masthead Final Weeks

First Look: Hey Kuya

Alison Senti

Don’t you hate it when your cooler, older brother strolls up and steals your thunder/ girlfriend/ skateboard/ favourite t-shirt?

Kusina’s big brother, Hey Kuya, is soon to saunter onto the Braddon food scene

The brother and sister foodie team behind Filipino restaurant Kusina, Jon Ora and Leilani Fox, are getting ready to launch their newest venture, Hey Kuya, in Braddon mid-year. Hey Kuya literally means big brother and the street stall-cum-bbq and grill will be the sassy spinoff to sister restaurant Kusina. But unlike it’s Southside sister, Hey Kuya will be located centrally in the new Palko development on Lonsdale Street.

Hey Kuya logo

Kusina has been quietly building a loyal following since opening its doors in 2012 and schooling Canberra diners on the unique mix of Spanish, Malay and Chinese flavours that embody Filipino food. Owner Leilani never intended Kusina to be the only Filipino joint in town.

“I want Canberrans to experience the best of Filipino food – and that’s not always in a restaurant setting,” she explains. “Kusina serves the traditional dishes our Mum makes, like adobo, but with a modern twist. Filipino food is street food too, so we have always wanted a food market presence and Hey Kuya is a permanent extension of that concept”.

Porkbelly Popcorn with rice

Porkbelly Popcorn with rice

The Kusina team have been regulars on the Canberra food stall scene over the last two years and have honed the best of Filipino street food to serve up to hungry market goers.

Kusina will also be serving up their well-loved favourites and some new additions at the Enlighten Night Noodle Markets this week. Slow-braised Adobo Nachos (beef or chicken), Adobo with Rice and Cucumber Salad (beef or chicken) and their newest creation, Pork Belly Popcorn, will make its debut – crispy, chewy, melty chunks of Jon’s famous pork belly with a side-hit of siracha chilli sauce, if you please (and yes I do!).


Kusina does a mean savoury dish, but sweet-lovers shouldn’t despair: Kusina new dessert, garishly-coloured Purple Yam and Green Pandan soft serve, will arrive in time for the Night Noodle Markets and is an unusual but addictive combo of traditional sweet/savoury Filipino flavours.

But it’s all about the Pork Belly Popcorn for me – you better hope there’s still some left after I get to it!

the essentials

What: Hey Kuya
Where: Parkinson Street, Weston.
Phone: 6288 8461 or book online
When: Enlighten Night Noodle Markets – 5pm til late, Friday 3 – Sunday 12 March, Reconciliation Place. Hey Kuya, Filipino BBQ and Grill opening in Braddon mid-year – stay tuned.


Alison Senti

Alison Senti is a child-rearing, part-time working, globe-travelling, gourmet-gutsing, marathon-running, shoe 'collecting' second generation Canberran who likes to take life by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. Most of her stories on Her Canberra are selfishly of interest to her personally! More about the Author

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