Mabu Yami pork belly rice plate Credit: @ericgomez_

Matisse and Buko are good boys who have been best friends from the beginning. Together they’re known as “Mabu,” which makes their ears perk up whenever anyone shouts “Mabuhay!”

Matisse and Buko are the Shiba Inu and Australian shepherd-Lab mix that are also best friends with, respectively, best friends Nicholas del Carmen and Evan Kalaw, who comprise the Filipino pop-up shop known as Mabu Yami.

If the weather cooperates there’s a strong chance Mabu will hold court on the patio at Ludlow Liquors this October 16, barking “Mabuhay!” to all comers when Mabu Yami spark up the grill for the next Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s weekly chef pop-up.

Del Carmen and Kalaw launched Mabu Yami (i.e. yummy) this summer with an outdoor blowout at Kimski (where the former once worked), featuring soy-pineapple marinated, spicy Jufran-glazed, grilled pork belly or chicken skewer rice plates, based on Kalaw’s father’s recipe.

That was only a taste of their mission, decades in the making, of hyping and reinventing the food they grew up with.

“We would always just talk about our love for cooking,” says del Carmen. “And our desire to create something that was genuine to our upbringing here in Chicago and our Filipino heritage.”

They’ll also be frying shrimp and potato lumpia, handed down from del Carmen’s grandfather, and debuting a corned beef and potato empanada, a tribute to the weekend garlic rice-and-egg silog breakfasts they grew up with—and to del Carmen’s late Uncle Jun who first taught him to cook. Finally, they’ll reprise their chubby, smoked and chargrilled longaniza rice plates, the sausages ground and stuffed by family friends the de Veras. “It’s like longaniza I’ve never had before,” says del Carmen. “It reminds you of home.” All of these dishes can and should be amped with liberal doses of spicy soy-vinegar dipping sauce, aka sawsawan.

“Filipino cuisine is popping off a lot and we’re just trying to pay homage to it,” says del Carmen.

It’s going down at 5 PM until sellout with DJ @soundsbyej on the decks at 2959 N. California in scenic Avondale.