Owners Pamela and Sonny Florentin inside their Pinoy Heat restaurant in Regina. (Nichole Huck/CBC )


Regina, Saskatchewan

Restaurant is home away from home

It’s not always that a whole Lechon will be a centrepiece of a Filipino restaurant
but in Regina’s bustling Filipino community, the iconic roasted pig is a draw every Sunday.

Pinoy Heat, located at 1769 Hamilton St., was featured in a recent CBC report that looks at the unique way the restaurant is trying to preserve the Filipino culture through food.

The report says the restaurant is a hot spot for the Filipino community since it opened in 2012.

While it is mainly a restaurant, it is also a ‘sari-sari’ store catering to practical needs of its customers while they eat. They can send money home or choose a Filipino craft for a gift.

And while they’re at it, some would dish a tune in the open mic sometimes led by the chef Warlie Roxas who is also a good warbler as he is a good cook. Roxas worked for more than two decades as a chef in the Philippines before moving to Canada in 2013. He gained experience working at hotels and on cruise ships, picking up different tricks and tips along the way.

Owner Pamela Florentin said visiting the restaurant on Sunday will give Canadians a good taste of Filipino food and culture.
“We have the live band and video karaoke, and we have the full buffet and whole roasted pig, we call Lechon,” Florentin told CBC.

“It’s always a party.”

Florentin has extensive experience in business in the Philippines, but managing a restaurant is new to her.

When she arrived in Canada in 2011, it took a while to find her feet in business. She started off working as a cleaner, then as a cashier at Dollarama.

Last year her husband and she bought Pinoy Heat. They run the restaurant with their two adult children.

Florentin said there are many reasons it’s become a hub for the Filipino community, on top of the food and remittance stand they also operate WOW Pinoy Travel and Tour agency.

“It’s because of the language, the pictures on the walls, the TV programs, the sing-a-longs. They feel like they are in the Philippines,” she said.