Diverse and Seasonal Asian Dishes Powered by Family Recipes for Under $45

In case you need a refresh, the Bib Gourmand distinction is awarded to restaurants that offer multicourse meals at reasonable prices. And while all are unique and the “price” varies from country to country, the standard for quality remains the same.

That’s why every Friday, we’re highlighting our Bib of the Week: where to go, what to order, the best time to stop by, and everything in between. So, whether it’s a taste of Mexico City in New York or Cambodian flavors in Vancity, our selection of Bib Gourmand spots will leave both you and your wallet satisfied.

Tucked inside the District Wharf in Washington D.C. is Bib Gourmand Kaliwa, a local favorite that pumps out a delicious feast made up of Korean, Filipino and Thai dishes. Here, dishes come courteous of chef Cathal Armstrong and traditional recipes passed down for generations.

But don’t take our word for it, check out what our Inspectors had to say here, and below, learn from the team about what you need to know before you go.

What is the dish to order at Kaliwa?

My favorite dish will forever be our Bicol Express. This dish is so good, whether it’s hot or cold outside. The story of the Bicol Express came from the route of a train station that shipped Thai chillies to Manila-Legazpi. Traditionally, Bicol Express is spicy. Our Bicol is a bit different—It still possesses the spice, but I believe our Bicol Express allows the silkiness of the coconut milk and the wok seared vegetables to shine through, plus you cannot forget the crispiness of the pork belly. There is a variety of elements that make our Bicol amazing!

What price range can customers expect at Kaliwa? 


When is the best time to stop by?

Right now!

What was the idea behind Kaliwa?

We have a very diverse team from all parts of Asia, specifically Southeast Asia. Filipino, Thai and Korean flavors just seemed natural, based on the family recipes and cooking techniques everyone brought to the table. 

How would you describe your approach to food and cooking?

The way we approach our food is to start with a traditional recipe, many of which are passed down from family members. From there, we insert our creativity, adjust flavors, and experiment. One thing we never forget to do is to make sure the dish never strays far away from its roots. We also like to work with seasonal ingredients, which can be unexpected and fun.

The result is a beautiful dish with an undertone of familiarity with an overlay of fresh, new, and modern influences.

What is one thing you want our audience to know about Kaliwa?

We take the representation of the cultures our food comes from very seriously. We are located in the Wharf, which is a very busy area. We could easily do more volume cutting corners, but sharing our traditional influenced cuisine with some of the highest quality ingredients on the market is our passion.

Hero image: @4mybelly – Chris/Kaliwa

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