Cultural enclaves in America preserve ways of life that might otherwise have been sacrificed in pursuit of the American dream, as preservation of language and customs is often lost through overtime and cultural assimilation. Reminiscent of distant lands, these neighborhoods house recipes and rituals—the last remnants of a past life. as a result, they gain greater importance in the appreciation of culture and history.
As I grow older and more conscious, I reflect on how grateful I am for my hometown of San Diego, where small clusters of Filipino businesses in National City and Rancho Peñaquitos served as gateways to my parents’ past. Palengkes (wet markets) were packed with staples like sukang ilokano (spicy vinegar) and served whole fried fish and balut. As a child, I would roam the aisles of these markets like an explorer, picking up jars of tiny shrimp floating in a pink paste and forming words on labels that meant nothing to me. The saleswomen called me Anak, I called them Tito or Tita, and for those fleeting moments I felt connected to a country I had never visited. This got me wondering: Where are the other Little Manilas in the United States? Where do the approximately 4 million Filipinos come together to eat and drink in community?
Everywhere, it turns out. You’ll find us cooking in all 50 states, offering gems like bright orange Pancit Palabok, shimmering bronze stews like Adobo, and royal purple Ube Ice Cream. In every corner of the nation, Filipinos cook and feast, sometimes running a lonely food truck hundreds of miles from the nearest Filipino community, sometimes opening multiple businesses side-by-side, with a community of owners and cousineros supporting each other and their descendants through trade and cuisine.
I’ve done my part in New York City, which I consider to be the hospitality capital of the world. It is here that I have chosen to launch two restaurants, Maharlika in 2010 and Jeepney in 2012, laying the roots for a new wave of Filipino style and substance. At Maharlika, I wanted relaxed confidence in a bistro setting with a focus on hospitality. Jeepney was meant to be a deep immersion in history and culture, and my team and I introduced Kamayan celebrations and educated our guests on the Filipino origins of tiki. The award-winning “Chori Burger” left its mark on Jeepney with lots of energy and swag. This was the era when food critics, journalists and influencers began noticing the influence of Filipino cuisine and dubbed it the “next big thing”. Although my restaurants have closed in the last two years, I still have hospitality blood running through my veins and am glad that Filipino food has only expanded its reach.
As I looked at restaurants across the country, each state revealed some things I didn’t know about Filipino history in America. For example, I didn’t know that Filipinos were the first Asian settlers here (we’ve been coming to the United States since the 15th century), nor did I understand the racism and prejudice behind the legislation that prevented my ancestors from obtaining jobs or marriage outside of our culture. One of the most disturbing moments in Filipino history in America took place at the 1904 Missouri World’s Fair, where no fewer than 1,000 Filipinos, many of them Igorots from rural mountainous regions, were exhibited in human zoos and forced to eat up to 20 dogs a day, bathe and “live” to the amusement of the many Americans who flocked to this disgusting and inhumane exhibit. I believe a story of shame was born here, as well as an ongoing desire for security and survival, which caused Filipino cuisine and culture to eclipse. For decades we have learned to assimilate and hide in plain sight.
These traumatic stories give me even more reason to be inspired by the bravery and perseverance of the chefs, home cooks, cousineros and food entrepreneurs who proudly and joyfully prepare Filipino food in America today. Shed the mantle of survival and don the armor of trust. They step out of the shadows. Filipinos have come a long way in America and we still have so much to do, but this is a moment to savor.
Read on for the best places to eat Filipino food in America.
Mary Chappell, the owner of Filipino food truck Flippin’ in Huntsville, Alabama, worked as a medical assistant until the pandemic cut her hours. As the country locked down around her, the mother-of-two young daughters began making up for the sudden drop in wages by cooking and selling steaming trays of Filipino dishes from her kitchen. Chappell thrived on her side job and got her restaurant on the road, serving hungry Alabamaners everything from snack lumpia Shanghai with a flavorful concoction of ground beef, chopped onion, garlic, carrots and celery to freshly baked stuffed ones purple ubes crispy biscuits dusted with icing sugar.
Caption: Spam and tofu musubi at Black Moon Koven in Juneau To see also : Steady your food dollars without skimping on taste.
While the freezing cold of Alaska is a far cry from the heat of the Philippines, the northernmost state is actually home to 30,000 Filipinos. The large population is the legacy of the Filipino Sakadas, the thousands of men who, devastated after the Philippine-American War, were recruited to work in American farms and salmon canning plants in the early 20th century.
Forced to adapt to a dramatically changing food landscape, the self-proclaimed “Alaskeros” inspired fusions such as salmon lumpia and beaver adobo. The flavors of home were a welcome relief, as they lingered in second-rate conditions in the canteens, living quarters, and cafeterias of the canteen. But discrimination fueled Alaskeros resilience, propelled them to form the first Filipino-led labor union, and laid a strong foundation for thriving communities across the state where younger generations of Filipinos are now carrying on their culture.
In Juneau, Alaska’s capital, chef Aims Villanueva-Alf spent her childhood comparing cooking techniques at Filipino parties and spotting distinct differences between each family’s homemade fried rice, adobo, and pinakbet. This curiosity, coupled with her father’s time as a US Coast Guard chef and cook, nurtured her passion for cuisine and integrative nutrition. At first glance, Villanueva-Alf’s Black Moon Koven restaurant can easily be mistaken for a psycho store. Walk past the witchy aesthetic and you’ll find comfort brunch fare with a twist. The chef prioritizes locally sourced protein, having learned about harvest management and respect for food from the A’akw Kwáan and T’aaḵu Kwáan, the country’s indigenous people of Juneau. Ready to dig? Try the “Fried Moon Rice” with Spam, smoked bacon, fluffy eggs, onions and of course lots of garlic – it’s the Filipino way.
As far as the North Pole, there are Filipino flavors too. Nanay’s Kitchen Food Truck is located in and around Eielson Air Force Base, just outside of North Pole, Alaska, as owner Jade Graybeal and her husband are active duty military personnel. Graybeal inherited the truck from her own nanay and has since traveled across the country (as far away as Mississippi), visiting Air Force bases and serving up generous helpings of lumpia and adobo along the way.
In the city of Phoenix, Filipino immigration can be traced back to seasonal farm workers from the northern Philippines via Hawaii. An unofficial Little Manila here has been home to Filipino-Mexican-American meztizo families since the 1920s. This may interest you : Ministry of health announced May retail food inspection. The community enjoyed a busy social life for early enterprising settlers called “Old Timers” who opened small shops, billiards, and dance halls from the 1940s to the 1960s. Today, food business owners in Phoenix are booking the familiar with updated take on Filipino cuisine.
At the Casa Filipina Restaurant & Bakeshop you will find baked classics like Pandesal. A Meryenda staple, the soft bun is a slightly sweet, warm, yeasty, soft, flavorful carb cloud topped with breadcrumbs and enjoyed simply with a (generous) knob of salted butter or a slice of spam. Over at PHX Lechon Roasters, the catering and pop-up team of Brian Webb and his Filipino wife Margita specialize in Cebuano-style charcoal-roasted lechon, simply seasoned with salt and pepper and flavored with lemongrass, garlic, bay leaves, Sage and lots of green onions. Filipinos have long served lechon at celebratory festivals where something special is needed. Arizona residents are in luck: Chef Brian and Margita also offer a lechon catering option, where they lovingly serve it up Kamayan style and even offer lechon carving services as part of the package.
“Kumain ka na ba?” or “Have you eaten?” are the first words that greet you at Whilma’s Filipino Restaurant in downtown Searcy, Arkansas. The phrase is familiar to anyone who has visited a Filipino home, and feels like a warm hug to the few Filipinos in the state. As a young girl in the Philippines, chef Whilma Frogoso honed her honest cooking skills to feed her family. On the same subject : No more binge eating: Signal pathway in the brain that detects food intake. Since opening the restaurant in 2009, Frogoso has been dedicated to providing customers with an experience reminiscent of the love and care found in any Filipino family kitchen. Their tender, marinated pork adobo gives Southerners the soulful bite they’re looking for.
California is the Philippine capital of the United States. Filipinos have immigrated to the Golden State for 435 years, drawn over time by its agricultural, military and medical opportunities, and California’s location on the Pacific Rim as a logical first step for many immigrating to the United States. Today, the municipality’s influence is in direct proportion to its population. The 1.6 million Filipinos living in California are by far the largest concentration of Filipinos in America, and arguably the world, outside of the Philippines itself. (For context, the second largest population of Filipinos in the US is in Hawaii, which is roughly where we are 360,000 count.)
California Filipinos found their voice as early activists fighting injustices caused by labor laws, housing, education, hate crimes, interracial marriages and economic inequality. Its impact is national: from the 1930s through the mid-1960s, for example, one of the leading activists of his day was Stockton-based Larry Itliong, the Filipino-American union organizer with whom Cezar Chavez later joined forces to spearhead the Delano grape strike to better working conditions for agricultural workers. Today, the Central Valley retains a vibrant Filipino presence; While in Stockton, head to Foo Lung Deli on Main Street for Filipino comfort food that never disappoints, and Papa Urb’s Grill on Weber Avenue for fast food when the cravings strike.
Many Asian and Filipino grocers were established in California or have strong positions in California to meet the tremendous demand. Through the entrepreneurial efforts of visionary Filipinos, Filipino ingredients retailers such as Ramar Foods, Island Pacific Supermarkets and 99 Ranch have had the opportunity to establish themselves as leaders in the Filipino food supply chain. (Ramar, for example, is the creator of popular Filipino brands like Magnolia Ice Cream and Manila Gold, which sells elusive calamansi juice that’s conveniently packaged.)
The Filipino diaspora spread its wings far and wide in California, centered in three main regions: The Greater Los Angeles Area, The Bay Area, and San Diego. These three areas spawned official and unofficial Little Manilas.
In the Los Angeles area there is historic Filipinotown (with a recently unveiled monumental gate welcoming visitors) and West Covina. Both neighborhoods invite visitors to wander and explore, but be sure to visit The Parks Finest BBQ for Filipino-inspired BBQ, owned and operated by a couple who have been committed to the community from day one, and Hi FI Kitchen for traditional ones & Vegan rice bowls preserving the legacy of historic Filipinotown. Don’t miss Dollar Hits (2432 W Temple St, Los Angeles, which serves quintessential Filipino street food from the streets of Manila to the streets of LA, or Lasita, a highly sought-after stop for Filipino-inspired fried chicken in brine, stuffed and marinated with Lemongrass, Garlic, Spring Onions and Ginger For good Filipino food just outside of the city center, head to Chino and head to Cafe 86 for all that ube you can eat.
In the Bay Area there is Daly City and a resurgent Manilatown in SoMa. In Daly City, visit one of the locations of Starbread, a bakery founded in 1986, for the Ube Donuts and their famous Señorita bread, a soft and flavorful pastry. For old-school tastes, there’s Fil-Am Cuisine, which offers the best pork barbecue on the West Coast, traditionally cooked over charcoal. For something a little more edgy, visit Abaca for contemporary Filipino-American-California cuisine by Chef Francis Ang. Visit Oakland for FOB Kitchen, a QWOC-owned restaurant in Temescal that serves solid Filipino food, cocktails and inspirational conversation.
Finally, SoCal features San Diego’s National City and Mira Mesa (nicknamed “Manila Mesa”) as the hub of all things Pinoy. A long-awaited addition to San Diego’s dining scene, White Rice brings hipster fuel to Filipino cuisine, and Animae, led by Chef QWOC Tara Munsod, has cleverly introduced progressive and hearty Filipino cuisine to the former Japanese steakhouse. If you’re curious about what Filipino fried chicken is all about, try Max’s Restaurant, a traditional national chain that also manages to be a local favorite for lightly breaded, tenderly crispy chicken that’s fried to a light golden brown and is best served with Banana ketchup is enjoyed and white rice.
Wouldn’t it be great if the school had a class called Eatamology? The curriculum would break down the roots of the names of various dishes, tracing branches of their family trees, and explore techniques and historical context. The course might start with the humble hand cake known as The Empanada. We would learn that the loose translation is the verb “blanketed in bread” (as in envelope) and that the dish and its name are rooted in Spain and spread to Mexico and the Philippines through intervening conquistadors. There are different batters and empanadas can be fried or baked, but the shape and filling remain the same with slight variations by country. In a nondescript mall in Colorado Springs, visitors have a chance to explore history through bites at You-ka Cafe. Owned by Blackapino, this restaurant has the entire menu for your gastronomic and educational enjoyment. (Ask about the origins of Parmesan Lumpia.) Chef and co-owner Emilou Savage uses the empanada fillings of standard Carinderia-style dishes, but for a standout meal, try one of his odd adaptations that show that food is an ever-evolving art form is. Savage’s third-wave flavors include chicken curry, spinach and cheese, and humba, a slow-cooked pork stew tender and flavored with pineapple juice and baking spices like star anise and cinnamon.
The intention of Zul Cafe and Grill is simple: to deliver authentic Filipino flavors of home. Rob Luz, a former Filipino grocer, and his wife Gladys, a nurse at Greenwich and Stamford Hospitals, saw this need firsthand and jumped at the opportunity to open the only Filipino restaurant in Norwalk, Connecticut. The pick-up-and-go place filled the void for a community used to traveling all the way to Woodside, Queens, for a good plate of grilled pork sticks and steaming hot rice. Look out for Thursday specials, which include à la carte delicacies like Binagoongan with Eggplant, a smoky eggplant in funky shrimp paste sauce.
Chef Carlos Miranda opened Tagpuan Restaurant in Newark, Delaware with a mission to share with the world his passion for his country and the food he grew up eating. Tagpuan, or “meeting place,” proudly displays a bright yellow Filipino sun on the building’s exterior and since opening in 2018, has been a focal point for family and friends to meet and share a cultural experience through the kitchen. Grab a bite of “adidas” or fried chicken feet, a popular street food staple. For dessert, the Halo Halo has a nice balance of shaved ice and mix-ins. Customers say it’s not too cute, a review any Tita would agree with.
District of Columbia
Since 2015, Washington, D.C. has been home to Bad Saint, a pioneer in Filipino cuisine who takes the intersection of inherited cravings and technological modernity to a new level. A recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Bad Saint introduced some deep cuts to Filipino flavors like palapa, a sweet and tangy Mindanon condiment that was one of many culinary choices that distinguished this intimate 24-seat restaurant. With two-hour waits and raving reviews, Filipino food seemed like an overnight hit, but D.C. have a long history in the area. Follow the smell of bawang and bagoong and you’ll be guided along a path stretching back almost a century to Manila House.
Located at 2422 K St. NW, Manila House looks like an ordinary townhouse with almost zero remnants of its Pinoy heritage, save for a bronze plaque. In its heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s, Filipino visitors would gather at Manila House to eat with their hands the finest Filipino dishes made with home-grown vegetables and discuss political issues ranging from American segregation to Japanese occupation and the collective of the Filipinos ranged joys and sorrows.
Although The Manila House was abandoned in 1976, the legacy of its founders lives on 45 years later in the hands of a new generation of Filipino chefs. Their restaurants range from fast-casual (see Pogiboy, where Bad Saint alum Tom Cunanan serves up sweet-and-spicy tocino burgers on bright purple ube buns) to laid-back, bistro-like settings (Purple Patch, where Patrice Cleary makes mean Filipino spaghetti ). into a culinary experience with a progressive tasting menu. The last is at Hiraya, where Paolo Dungca paints with flavors familiar to the Filipino palate – the latter reflecting Chef Paolo’s years of study alongside adored chefs in high-end kitchens and the flavors he grew up with.
“Filipino chefs have always been at the back of kitchens. We’ve never really shown our skills with our food until now,” says Jacksonville, Fla.-based chef Jojo Hernandez, owner of a popular food truck (and soon-to-be-brick-and-mortar restaurant), Abstract Filipino Essence, known for its lively green colour. With 22 years in the kitchen, Hernandez oversees a growing ensemble of chefs in North Florida called Jax Filipino Chefs, all intent on influencing menus and stores with the flavors of the archipelago and making customers aware that Filipino food is more than just that lumpia. Jacksonville is the state’s most populous city, and Hernandez aims to make his elevated take on his favorite Filipino dishes a part of the city’s tapestry.
Born in the Philippines to a father who enlisted in the US Navy, Hernandez shares this background with many other Filipinos in the city.
The US military and Filipinos are inextricably linked in Jacksonville. The connection can be traced back to the American occupation of the Philippines beginning in 1898 after the Treaty of Paris, when Spain sold the Philippines to America for $20 million. Soon after, America had military bases in the 7,100 islands and opened up low-level jobs and recruitment for local Filipino men who signed up for work and the opportunity to serve and travel to the States and beyond. A Naval Air Station was established in Jacksonville in the early 1940’s and by the 1950’s 90% of the Filipino population of North Florida had ties to the American military.
Today, Jacksonville is home to the largest Filipino community in the entire state of Florida, but has no central Filipino district. Though there’s no Little Manila, Hernandez only uses products from the Philippines, like the country’s signature dark and intense soy sauce, which he uses in dishes like his mother’s salty and sweet ilokano adobo recipe. “I want people to know all the flavors of Adobo,” he says.
Filipino food is gaining attention in Atlanta, Georgia, thanks to bold and enterprising entrepreneurs who have a dream and make it happen. In the enchantingly glamorous Boite Estrelita, which opened in 2020, friends Hope Webb and Chef Walter Cortado serve Salmon Head Sinigang. Estrelita’s Sinigang remains respectfully intact to its home cooking origins and given an elegant presentation: the fish head is sliced open lengthwise and served trimmed in a sour tamarind broth, so diners get the best parts – including the decadent skin and the buttery fish cheeks, alongside green bok choy, okra, green beans and tomatoes. That spring, Estrelita also organized Atlanta’s first annual Filipino Fest, where other new concepts could test and realize their restaurant dreams.
Acidity in the form of sinigang, adobo, kinilaw and paksiw is a common thread found on almost every table in the 3 regions of the Philippines, but in a corner of the southern province called Bicol, heat and spiciness is ubiquitous and the basis of many dishes . Bicolano flavors are in Atlanta near the OTP (outside the perimeter) and Buford Highway, where KamayanATL has opened in an Asian cuisine neighborhood that draws customers from Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. KamayanATL chef Mia Oriño uses silis, popular in the Philippines, in a coconut milk stew to create flavors unique to the Visayan region. Try their Sinilihan, a stew simmered so gently and slowly that the kombucha it contains triples its job of flavoring, thickening and coloring the dish, and Belacan, a Malaysian shrimp paste, for depth and a funky flavor gives. KamayanATL affirms its commitment to the community not only by nurturing youth and sharing the kind of flavors and history that have escaped curricula and food carts, but also through a rotating curation of local artists featured on the walls.
We would be remiss not to mention Guam, as the American territory’s association with the Philippine archipelago dates back to the 17th century. Spain colonized both countries for centuries until 1898 when the US gained the upper hand and took over at the end of the Spanish-American War. During their occupation, colonizers often sent Filipinos to Guam as rebel exiles, missionaries, and soldiers. Many of them later married the Chamorru, the island’s indigenous people, and have intertwined their cultures (and food) ever since.
Today 50,000 Filipinos live on the island, most of them in Dededo, the second largest village on the island. Here, award-winning Ben N Yan’s is the undeniable favourite. Founded in 2002 by Belnita and Salvador Espino, the restaurant is named after their sons Neil, Benson and Bryan. Their sizzling specialty platters come hot and sizzling, straight off the fire, with a side of rice. Get the “pork chips” version – the house’s favorite pork chop, served with a special sauce.
Filipino food and its presence in Hawaii can be traced back to plantation days and lunch on the plate.
From 1900 to 1940, 125,000 Filipinos, mostly Ilocanos from the Ilocos Sur region, were recruited to Hawaii as laborers for sugar and pineapple plantations. Referred to as Sakadas, these Ilocano immigrants were respected and revered for their work and contribution to Hawaii’s economy and agriculture. The Sakadas did the backbreaking work, made up 70% of the plantation workforce and, according to the 1939 Bureau of Statistics, received the lowest wages of any ethnic group at the time. In those years, during lunch breaks, workers would bring their rice-filled kau-kau cans and their home cooking, gather and share what little shade there was, and have lunch together. One by one, each worker could share their food to create a shared feast on newspapers. These luncheons represented the kitchens of the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Filipino workers creating a brotherhood distinct in every personality yet united on one plate.
The Sakadas were known for growing their own vegetables, working multiple jobs, and sending money home to their families in the Philippines, remitting $276,000 each month during the Great Depression. They were also known for their courage and resilience as they led a crusade for equal pay and changed the face of equality across the states.
There is no such Filipino town in Hawaii because the Filipinos are so inextricably linked to the Hawaiian people and rooted in the Aloha spirit. There are two major cities – Waipahu and Kalihi – with a concentration of Filipinos and restaurants shaped by the plantation days of yesteryear, including the wonderful Elena’s, which serves a mix of Filipino classics with a Hawaiian influence and family recipes. Go to Lechon Special.
There are so many Filipino chefs working in this tourism mecca and you would be hard pressed to find a place that doesn’t have a Filipino on the helm or at the top of the crew. But we’re particularly excited about the up-and-coming Filipino chefs who love to share their food – Tin Roof’s Sheldon Simeon is a prime example. His cuisine, which can consist of Chinese noodles, Korean kalbi, Japanese katsu, Hawaiian lau lau and chicken adobo on any given day, is a true reflection of Hawaiian Filipino style.
After the Philippine-American War, hordes of young Filipino men came to America to answer a call for farm workers. Beginning in California, they traveled wherever farm labor was needed, with some trickling northeast into rural Idaho. More than a century later, a small Filipino community in Gem State have cultivated themselves and get their sustenance from Lot’s Filipino Food Restaurant & Bakery in Mountain Home, Idaho. Owners Jerry and Geraldine “Lot” Shetler started with a stall at the farmers market and have since grown into a permanent location. Nothing beats the Beef Tapsilog, a traditional breakfast of marinated beef and silog, or garlic fried rice and eggs.
In Chicago, Kasama shines bright as the first Filipino restaurant to earn a Michelin star. Chefs and co-owners Genie Kwon and Timothy Flores have created a home that joins a growing movement that ranks the kitchen and its owners among the best in the world.
At night, Kasama is a fine dining restaurant where you breathe in the Philippines through an ever-changing tasting menu of refined interpretations of classic dishes. Fingers crossed Nilaga is on the menu for dining. Typically a hearty country soup that simmers down tougher cuts into an unfiltered broth confetti with bone marrow and whole black peppercorns, fans of Kasama’s versions, one of which uses A5 Wagyu, cabbage and short-grain rice, speak enthusiastically of their silky flavors and tartness silky texture . It is reinvention achieved through repeated visceral experience of the original and enhanced through vision, trial and error, and expertise. The evening menu is only available upon prior reservation. As you can imagine, the seats disappear as soon as they become available, which is midnight every 45 days.
During the day, the restaurant adopts a fun, casual atmosphere for walk-in customers (and gives hope to those wanting to experience a Michelin-starred Filipino restaurant). Plan ahead because lines start at 8am and Chef Genie’s pastries (like their Basque Ube cake) sell out. A curated selection of Filipino breakfasts like mushroom adobo or homemade garlic longanisa satisfy tart and sweet cravings. It’s a Filipino thang.
Want a bite from an oldie but goodie? Uncle Mike’s Place has been a hometown favorite for over 31 years. Owner Lucie Grawjeski immigrated from Tondo, where her mother owned a carinderia that served inexpensive meals to jeepney drivers. Lucie and her husband Mike stay true to their roots and try to keep prices affordable. The price of their Filipino breakfast of egg, rice, salad and a champorado for dessert is still a steal at $14.95.
Before he was in his early 20s, cooking was off Chef Carlos Salazar’s radar. When he was eight, his parents left the Philippines for Indiana to join relatives who had already settled in the state, where he grew up watching his father passionately nurture friends and family. While attending accounting college, it dawned on him that cooking came as naturally to him as he had ever enjoyed sitting in an office crunching numbers. So he made the leap to culinary school and has since risen to become one of Indianapolis’ top chefs. His first restaurant, Rook (now closed), was born out of a desire to introduce his fellow Hoosiers to Asian-inspired flavors and to challenge himself to learn his cuisine and culture thoroughly. After Rook closed in 2020, he founded the Lil’ Dumplings Noodle Bar, a test concept that has since become an award-winning stand at the Garage Food Hall. While Salazar’s menu doesn’t focus on Filipino food, Filipinos drive an hour into town to enjoy specialties like steamed buns with seared pork belly and crispy lechon skins, dressed with sweet but tart Mang Tomas sauce. He also occasionally serves his own version of lugaw, a savory congee similar to warm congee.
Carmelita Shah, the matriarch of the Shah family and a physician for nearly 40 years, inspired her children, Hannah Elliott and Taufeek Shah, to open Lola’s Fine Kitchen in Ankeny, Iowa. The restaurant reflects her Filipino and Pakistani upbringing and her mother’s immense love for delicious fusion cuisine. It’s a fast-casual, build-your-own-bowl concept, so choose a base first, like pancit noodles or biryani rice. Then choose your protein — tandoori chicken rolled into meatballs or Filipino longanisa pork — and top it off with over 20 options, from atchara or Filipino pickles to her line of Lola’s Fine Hot Sauces.
Records show that the first Filipinos in Kansas may have attended the University of Kansas in the early 1900s under the Pensionado Act, the scholarship program funded by the US government to provide an American education to a select group of affluent, young Filipinos . Most of these students returned home after graduation to become government leaders, so the local community in Kansas did not begin to cultivate until after World War II, when US Filipino veterans began settling outside of Fort Riley or Fort Leavenworth army bases.
For those Pinoys, there’s Filipino cuisine in Junction City. Opened in 2020, the no-frills shop serves everything from deep-fried tilapia pompano fish, pan-fried for a balance of crispy skin and succulent meat, to trays of rich Dinuguan blood stew. Owners Shirley Mahait McKendall and Scott McKendall introduce newcomers to Filipino cuisine daily and offer customers a taste of each dish before they order. Mostly first time tasters fall in love with the taste. It’s Lola’s home cooking through a pickup truck window.
Rudy Bamba, a longtime restaurant worker, dreamed of one day opening a food truck. The dream was always in the back of his mind but never materialized until he was unemployed at the height of COVID-19. The Bamba Eggroll Company was founded after he and his wife Emma started selling crispy, golden homemade lumpia egg rolls — just like the kind his parents hand-rolled and fried during his childhood days. (His late father was in the military and took her family to Fort Knox, where at the time they couldn’t find Filipino flavors outside of their own kitchen). At first, Rudy and Emma only sold lumpia to their closest circle, but their rapid success led them to secure a commercial kitchen and eventually build Louisville’s first and only Filipino food truck. While meat and vegan lumpia are the stars of the menu, don’t miss out on the pancit – they mix the noodles with lots of fresh veggies and it sells out fast.
Chef Christina Quackenbush is an early pioneer and popular ambassador of Filipino cuisine in New Orleans. Fleeing a turbulent life in Indiana in 1999, she came to Louisiana to start anew and observed a lack of Filipino food and representation. Her reinvention came as a Filipino food entrepreneur cooking lumpia and escabeche from her pop-up Milkfish in 2012.
Her new life unintentionally followed in the footsteps of her Filipino ancestors. Known as the Manilamen, a group of enslaved people from the Philippines escaped Spanish galleon ships in Louisiana nearly 300 years ago, found freedom, and put down roots in St. Malo (part of present-day New Orleans), where they helped start the Louisiana shrimp industry. They are the earliest Filipino settlers in the Americas and founded the first Asian American settlement, Manila Village, which existed from 1800 to 1965 (when the historic city was destroyed by Hurricane Betsy). The influence of Manilaman heritage in these parts is evident today, including innovative shrimp fishing techniques (particularly the traditions of drying shrimp and shell-removing methods that influenced modern technology), Bahay-Kubo architecture, and impressive meals cooking shrimp resemble
Like the Manilamen before her, Quackenbush has a sense of freedom and is known for reintroducing the region to the art of kamayan, the hands-only feast served on banana leaves, likely a precursor to shrimp boils, the be enjoyed on newspaper. She is a sought-after advisor when restaurants ask her for advice on how to add Filipino flavors to their menus. Today you can find her and her food in pop-ups singing out loud to karaoke while her daughter ponders how to bring the concept to a store.
As Maine’s largest city and culinary epicenter, Portland is your best bet for finding Filipino food. The kitchen is just beginning to take off with the help of chef Dave Mallari, who came to the state almost 30 years ago for a job in physical therapy. He comes from a family of medical professionals with a penchant for delicious food; His father was a doctor and passionate about home cooking and was from Pampanga, a region of the Philippines known for its chefs. Driven by his innate love of cooking, Mallari decided to become a chef. He worked in Kennebunk’s food scene for years before opening The Sinful Kitchen, a gluten-free friendly brunch spot featuring Filipino specialties. This cozy corner hosts pop-up taco nights featuring Filipino chicken adobo birria and Boodle Fights, a traditional feast eaten with the hands of banana leaves. When he’s not running the restaurant, Mallari roasts whole lechons at his catering business, The Pig Kahuna. They usually book a year in advance.
In the mid-20th century, some Filipino restaurants operating in Annapolis relied solely on word of mouth. The owners refused to put up signs for their businesses. These restaurants were mistakenly or intentionally labeled Hawaiian even though they served Filipino dishes. Perhaps this anonymity provided security from discrimination or harm. Decades later, a handful of chefs and restaurants are reclaiming their Filipino heritage.
Chef Javier Fernandez builds his company around his identity and his favorite cut of pork. At Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly, he serves the famous Cebuano-stuffed lechon and sells t-shirts that say “LIVE LOVE LECHON”. The fast-casual concept stuffs, rolls, ties and roasts bellies until they are uniformly golden and juicy pork is covered by a crispy skin. Once pierced, hints of lemongrass and garlic flirt with your appetite.
He’s so good at pork belly he doubles with his sisig. Finely chopped, its crunchy, fatty sweetness is balanced by chilies and onions. Pork belly reappears in Kawali; Slabs are boiled, fried and then cut into dunky, decadent cubes, accompanied by a vinegar-based dip sawsawan and a sweet and tingly pickled green papaya. If you’ve had enough of pork, there are other options. Fili wings are confit and fried, then tossed in a flavorful adobo glaze for a bit of heat and salty acidity.
Alongside Javier, his sister Stella runs Gwenie’s Pastries, a bakery specializing in Filipino-inspired baked goods like Ube Crinkle Cookies and Ube Cheesecake. Can’t make it to Annapolis? Don’t worry; The baked goods are available in their Amazon store.
Boston-based Filipinos are used to going after Pinoy Republic & Sons in Worcester for their popular snacks and cooking staples. However, when the intimate 10-seat dining room opened at Tanám in 2019, Filipinos got a modern option right in their backyard — or rather, Somerville. Chef Ellie Tiglao is a neuroscientist by training, for whom cooking is close to breathing; it’s been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. Out of a simple desire to eat the food of her childhood, she hosted a pop-up dinner that drew a large turnout from an eager Filipino community. In tanám, which means “cultivation” in the dialect she speaks at home, she wants to tell the story of Filipino food in a place that is quite unfamiliar with it. While the restaurant’s Kamayan celebrations put it on the map, its emphasis is on “narrative cuisine,” which creates space for meaningful storytelling about food, culture, and identity, especially by people of color. Bring a friend and reserve a fiesta dinner for two. Pinch a scoop of rice with your fingers and enjoy with a bite of their sweet, home-smoked pork tocino.
Adobos in many American restaurants tend to cook proteins or vegetables in five basic ingredients: soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves. A red-colored adobo laced with achuete (achiote) and slightly sweet and nutty is rare in America. But Red Adobo, also known as Adobong Pula or Ilonggo-style Adobo, is proudly served at Isla in the Sterling Heights neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan.
The chefs/owners of Isla – J.P. Garcia and Jacqueline Joy Diño – hail from Iloilo Province, where Adobong Pula is regularly served in homes and restaurants. Her village is part of a larger region called the Western Visayas, which also includes the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Negros Occidental, Capiz, and Guimaras.
Although J.P. and Jacqueline did not market the restaurant as Illonggoan, flavor profiles and dishes provide clues to their origins. Isla serves chicken inasal and Java rice, recipes based on a regional mirepoix made with onion, garlic and ginger, along with achuete and turmeric. Fans hope they’ll discover more of her roots and regional flavors.
In 2018, a trio of seasoned industry pals — Carl Rademacher, Sherwin Resurreccion, and Shawn Nafstad — opened up a laid-back neighborhood spot that could easily be overlooked as a quintessential big-city hipster hangout. That it’s a local watering hole pushing an emerging cuisine in the American countryside is a low-key inflection. Late night dining, affordable prices, pub style dining, karaoke and comedy nights come together at Apoy, a thoughtful Filipino eatery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Serving locals for four years, Apoy defies expectations of a casual, modern Midwestern pub. Of course, guests sit and sip (San Miguel) beer in a relaxed but well-appointed environment, but the menu is Pulutan, Tagalog for drinking food. The kitchen offers adobo wings, inihaw (grilled skewers), longaniza burgers, inasal grilled chicken and ukoy (sweet potato fritters). Amidst all the pub grub, Apoy casually slips Filipino home cooking like sinigang into the mix. His unassuming manner belies his larger contribution to the restaurant scene. Their efforts are having a profound impact: Apoy is redefining what to expect from a Filipino-American pub.
Finding Filipino cuisine in Mississippi is a challenge except for those lucky enough to stumble across the Filipino Food Mart. Owners Steve and Imelda DuBose run the humble Biloxi storefront, where customers are greeted with a friendly, handwritten message on the door: “Welcome Home, Pinoy.” Filipinos as far away as Louisiana and Alabama travel here to stock up on goods like pan de sal (soft Filipino buns). The name translates to “salt bread,” but the flavor profile is sweet. Each month, the couple helps local people ship about 50 balikbayan boxes, special care packages that Filipinos abroad send home to their families in the Philippines.
Pancit simply means “noodles,” and there are many versions, sautéed with vegetables, sauces, and proteins, as well as soups. At Ting’s Filipino Bistro’s booth in the City Market in Kansas City, Missouri, the pancit sotanghon is a chicken broth-based soup with scallions, piles of fried garlic, and shredded chicken, along with a side of patis that is added if desired. Sotangon (sho-tahng-hone) are translucent, thin, and slippery glass noodles best enjoyed by alternating slurps and chews in vigorous sips.
Montana currently has fewer than 1,600 Filipinos, making it the smallest community in the country. However, Manila-born Susana Moore, chef and co-owner of Suzette’s Organics in Hamilton, Montana, dares to run a restaurant here. She says you’re more likely to see the cast from the popular TV show Yellowstone than a Filipino dining at her 100% organic restaurant, which sources from nearby farms and is run by her husband, three children and a recently added son -Law.
Encouraged by her childhood sweetheart (and now husband), Susana started her business to satisfy her cravings for the food she grew up with. Unlike her contemporaries, her story is notable for her commitment to an all-organic menu (“If I can’t find it organic, I’ll make it from scratch!”).
Suzette’s Organic is fueled by both Susana’s infectious enthusiasm and her family’s dedication to sourcing hard-to-find ingredients like blonde rice for her progressive Filipino recipes. They’re worth it anywhere on the menu, from a rich and hearty organic beef sisig to a homemade organic sweet pork tocino — both dishes are so popular in Hamilton, Montana, that Suzette’s Organic is planning a second location nearby located city of Missoula.
Inspired by their Hawaiian and Filipino heritage, Chef Maria Villegas and her husband Leo opened Ono Pinay Kitchen in 2019. Locals flock to the outskirts of Omaha in droves to satisfy both their Spam and Adobo cuisines and indulge in one of their featured desserts, like the ube puto, a royal purple steamed rice cake topped with a creamy slice of leche flan is topped. It’s a touch of the Philippines with an aloha side.
The contrast between Las Vegas’ theatrical setting and Nevada’s modest Filipino restaurant scene is striking. This is where you’ll find turo-turos, “aka point-point restaurants” – very casual steam table establishments that became popular in the early ’80s. They’re free from glitter and neon, but full of affordable home cooking with no posturing or parades.
Some popular Turo Turos in the state are: Silong (no website; 2302 Oddie Blvd, Sparks, NV 89431); PhilHouse (no website; 8650 W Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89147); Kuya’s Manila BBQ (no website; 4500 E Sunset Rd Unit 14, Henderson, NV 89014); Kusina Ni Lorraine Filipino Fast Food & Asian Market (no website; 4343 N Rancho Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89130); D’Pinoy Joint (no website; 7680 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89123); Cafe de Manila; Lutong Bahay (no website; 4115 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89102); and Oming’s kitchen
Among the small mountain towns of New Hampshire there’s a store holding the Filipinos. GFM Pinoy Food Mart (224 N Broadway d8, Salem, NH 03079) is located in Salem, New Hampshire and is stocked with ingredients rarely found in New England. Expect baked goods like ensaymada, a sweet pastry made with sugar and butter; Spices like bagoong, a fermented shrimp paste; and popular snack foods like SkyFlakes, a simple salty cracker that every Filipino will recognize by its iconic red, white, and blue packaging. The mart also helps locals ship Balikbayan care packages to the Philippines.
Nearly 140,000 Filipinos live in New Jersey – one of the largest Filipino populations in the United States. In many ways, they shaped the state’s culture and geography, from the urban river areas of Jersey City to suburbs like Bergenfield, now informally known as Little Manila of Bergen County.
It began when an influx of Filipinos arrived after World War II. America had an urgent need for US Navy nurses and sailors and began recruiting in the Philippines. As Filipino health workers and seafarers crossed paths on the East Coast, they raised families and ignited a thriving community fueled by the cuisine and customs of the homeland. Parols, or Filipino holiday lanterns, lined Jersey City balconies every winter. Chefs opened Turo Turo restaurants on street corners. Their presence was so felt between the 1970s and 1990s that Jersey City named an official “Manila Avenue” and constructed a Filipino plaza honoring Filipino American veterans.
While the community has changed along with the city over the years, local Filipinos continue to honor their roots. Jersey City-born and raised Lloyd Ortuoste and Trisha Villanueva opened banana pudding shop Baonanas in 2014 with options that hark back to their Filipino heritage, like ubenanas, a fluffy, bright purple mousse with bites of ube halaya, or purple yam topped with swirls made of soft graham crackers and fresh banana slices. Get it at one of their three locations in New Jersey and New York City.
Looking for more traditional dishes? Sample pork sisig at Jayhan’s Grill or head to Bergenfield to the family-run Bamboo Grill, one of the neighborhood’s authentic Filipino food carriers for years. Owners Lito and Lynette de Guzman founded the restaurant in 1996 after leaving their traditional factory jobs to make a living from their passion for Filipino culture and food. With Filipinos making up 18% of Bergenfield’s population, they are never short of kababayan – country people – to feed.
grannies & Papa’s Authentic Filipino Favorites (no website; 36 Highway 522, north of the flashing light, El Prado, NM) boasts a large red and white sign. A red checkered plastic tablecloth lies on a square folding table set in front of a food truck that looks like it’s no more than 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Everything is handwritten with chalk or paint, slightly crooked, unpretentious and nonchalant. There is a small window to order chicken adobo and banana-filled spring rolls. This is New American Country Cooking about the Philippines.
The food truck is the project of chef R-Beth, an immigrant from the Philippines who has been cleaning homes since arriving in 2013. She still cleans houses part-time, but spends the other days cooking and running the truck.
Philippine Independence Day, which marks the Philippines’ declaration of independence from Spain in 1898, had even greater ease for Filipinos in New York City this year. On June 12, locals watched intently at the intersection of 70th and Roosevelt Avenues when a new, freshly printed “Little Manila Avenue” street sign was unveiled. It was like a flag had been raised – the sign’s classic kelly green and bright white text beamed at viewers with the hopeful sign of history. A year in the making, following an online petition from an engaged community and a unanimous vote by the New York City Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee, this was the official naming of the city’s “Little Manila” in Woodside, Queens. Filipinos filled the well-known intersection with impromptu line dancing and singing to celebrate a loud, proud Little Manila.
Decades of momentum have built up to this moment. Woodside was New York’s home for Filipinos for the past century, with more than half of the city’s Filipino population residing in this borough. The stones of this community were laid by the accommodating Filipino nurses recruited at Elmhurst Hospital in the 1960s, whose presence and families soon became the center of Queens with a throng of Filipino bakeries, markets, barbecue joints and Balikbayan box mail order shops were in the area.
While the shortage of nursing and medical training brought young Filipinos here, the real appeal of New York was the plentiful opportunities. Hungry for success, Filipino chefs entered the lion’s den of New York’s restaurant scene. The competitive and flashy landscape gave way to modern Filipino food, like Cendrillon’s early work, which garnered awards from top chefs before it closed. But in the New York restaurant scene, Filipinos keep making it happen. Here’s the best New York City has to offer (more and more entering the competition at warp speed). In Queens, from its humble surroundings off the Queens Bridge,
Tito Rad’s Grill serves inihaw na panga (grilled tuna jaw), a hard-to-find dish. Renee’s Kitchenette & Grilled dishes featuring homemade Filipino specialties served in a two-story space with a weekend buffet. With exquisite donuts (available to order online only), Kora explores the richness of Filipino culture through elevated hospitality and family recipes.
In Brooklyn, find a special meal at Purple Yam, a creative and pioneering spot best known for its renditions of coconut milk chicken adobo. This district is also where you’ll find F.O.B., by a former Daniel chef, serving Filipino barbecue, seafood, shakes and sweets in a casual setting.
There’s tons of Filipino flair in Lower Manhattan. Mama Fina’s House of Sisig serves all kinds of sisig imaginable, from fatty pork to crispy bangus (milkfish) and umami-rich pusit (squid). Three nurses turn a craving into a business at Bilao, serving traditional Filipino fare in a compact setting. Kabisera, a simple Filipino eatery with fixies silogs, paninis & desserts as well as Filipino coffee and specialty drinks.
Downtown gets another dose of Filipino flavors with Flip Sigi. This is the original Filipino taqueria, known for Chef Jordan Andino’s “Plan B” burritos and sandwiches. On the Lower East Side, Pig and Khao’s is a go-to for Filipino and Thai food like Sisig and Pad Se ew. Finally, don’t miss Tradisyon’s New York’s cool and unassuming Filipino diner that serves authentic food and atmosphere.
Joel’s Asian Grill & The Sushi Bar in Mooresville, North Carolina offers a melting pot of Asian cuisine, but what keeps Filipino families coming back is a full menu dedicated to Pinoy dishes. Its wide range has satisfied anyone seeking dishes like sinigang or palabok, glass noodles bathed in a rich, velvety shrimp sauce. Owner Joel Jose opened the doors to his beach-themed bar in 2001 and put himself at the helm of one of the few restaurants serving Filipino cuisine in the region.
You can find The Wok Filipino Cuisine food truck parked outside of breweries and offices throughout Grand Forks, North Dakota. Owner Rosemarie Stokke operates the only Filipino grocery store in the state and is often the first to introduce her customers to authentic favorites like pancit and lumpia with sweet chilli sauce. Expect everything to be freshly prepared and hot out of the wok.
Ohio’s first group of Filipinos arrived in 1920—the beginning of several waves of people from the Philippines who came to Buckeye state, drawn by the prospects of jobs, education, and medical training. The influx continued well into the 21st century, setting the stage for chef Krizzia Yanga, a born and raised Ohioan and a driving force behind the state’s Filipino food movement. At her flagship restaurant Bonifacio in Columbus, she shares the experience of uncompromisingly authentic Filipino dining with offerings like chicken pyanggang, a grilled chicken dish with burnt coconut native to Yanga’s mother Jolo’s home island of Sulu, south of Mindanao. The island is predominantly Muslim, so the food offers a different flavor than what most are familiar with from Filipino cuisine, and tastes more like dishes from Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
In 2020, at the age of 62, Rhoda Hughes opened her self-titled food truck, Rhoda’s Filipino Cuisine, in the town of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Without any professional experience or training, Hughes prides himself on introducing people to Filipino cuisine. At Chef Rhoda, that introduction is probably lumpia, a crispy spring roll stuffed with meat, rolled tightly and fried.
It was her mother’s dream to open a restaurant, so Hughes runs the food truck in honor of the woman who taught her to cook. Everything is homemade, from the ube and mango ice cream to the siopaos, which are big, doughy, steamed dumplings. She fills the siopaos with pork asado, a thickened sweet and peppery stew. She sometimes gets calls from Filipinos traveling around Oklahoma looking for flavors of home. Once they find her, they line up for their chicken adobo, which she garnishes with fresh pineapple chunks because, as she says, “presentation matters.”
Chef Carlo Lamagna’s Portland restaurant, Magna Kusina, is a study in contrasts in aesthetics and flavors influenced by his experiences in Manila, Detroit, Chicago and Portland. As you look around the restaurant and experience his food, you’ll find glimpses of his life and bites around every corner. There are vibrant red, yellow, and blue signs reminiscent of those in the Philippines, against a muted, earthy background that’s Portland through and through.
Lamagna has a rebellion that wants to experiment with the new and challenge traditional menu expectations. His take on kare kare, a dense peanut butter and oxtail stew, is a metaphor for challenging the status quo of a traditional dish. Lamagna swaps oxtail for braised lamb neck and updates the flavor and presentation by swapping out bok choy and eggplant for a pickled brunoise. Lamagna describes the dish and its approach best: “Traditional, interpreted in a modern way. Deliciously inauthentic.”
Unlike states like Hawaii, California, and Alaska, where immigration was predisposed for agriculture and the military, immediately after the end of the Philippine-American War in 1902, Pennsylvania hosted Filipino immigration to America through medical training for doctors and nurses. While some people stayed in Philadelphia, others returned to the Philippines. During the 1918 flu outbreak, some Filipino medics returned to Philadelphia to provide medical assistance.
With the Hill-Burton Act of 1946, funding gave a boost to hospital construction, particularly in states that had no hospitals at all. The 1948 exchange visitor program provided training for Filipino nurses who would later fill the nursing deficit. These hospitals were surrounded by Filipino restaurants; Some local favorites include the Pinoy Groseri grocery store and Tabachoy, a food truck that serves cravings during work hours. New to the scene is Perla, a charming BYO bistro that’s part of the Filipino New Wave.
In Pittsburg, another city transformed by its hospitals, Rafael Vencio was one of hundreds of professionals wondering if they would continue to work in hospitality amid the stark reality of Covid-19. He reinvented himself as a social impact entrepreneur with Amboy Urban Collective and his pop-up Kanto Kitchen. The former is an urban farm that aims to address food diversity and insecurity, emphasizing products from the Philippines such as kang kong and bitter melon. The latter offers Kamayan meals, dinners, and picnic baskets of Filipino food infused with the ingredients Amboy grows. Vencio says he believes the right products are essential to the integrity of the dishes.
There are several reasons to visit Pinoy Lane Food Mart in Warwick, Rhode Island, especially the generous helpings of classics like lechon sisig and turon (sweet bananas in crunchy, caramelized spring roll casings). The restaurant and grocery store is unassuming and is next to a cigar shop in a mall, but locals have made it their go-to for Filipino delights. You’ll often see the owners set up a table at Filipino charity events where they serve halo-halo in support of the local community.
The US Navy recruited thousands of Filipino sailors in the mid-20th century, resulting in small enclaves of Filipino communities forming near naval bases in Charleston. While the local food scene hasn’t seen many Filipino food chefs, Chef Nikko Cagalanan’s Mansueta’s Filipino Food has a magnetic pull. Anyone who can secure a spot at one of its bimonthly pop-ups will be treated to artfully reimagined Filipino dishes, from crowd favorites lumpia and pancit to creamy, coconut-y Bicol Express scallops. Aside from the aesthetic beauty of the topping, customers keep coming back for the incredible flavor that Cagalanan delivers as a natural. He’s a self-taught chef inspired by the way his late grandmother Mansueta, the pop-up’s namesake, lovingly cooked for his family in the Philippines. Lucky for us, Cagalanan carries on the same love and legacy.
The Philippine Oriental Food Store in Sioux Falls is a treasure trove of Filipino delicacies, from fried banana turons to Choc Nut, a popular peanut milk chocolate wrapped in shiny red and gold packaging. The only store of its kind in South Dakota, this grocer is also a hub for locals wanting to ship Balikbayan Care packages to the Philippines.
There’s a reason Filipinos in Nashville drive 40 minutes to MaeMax Market in La Vergne. Owners Chriss and Malo Goyenechea opened the doors of MaeMax in 2017, creating a haven for Filipinos in central Tennessee. Named after their two children, Maeful and Maximus, the international grocery store and Turo-Turo, or “point-point” restaurant, is a family affair that greets its customers with warm hospitality. Come for the sisig, a sizzling hot plate of minced and seared pork topped with a sunny-side-up egg, and leave with an armful of hard-to-find Filipino vinegars, spices and more.
Little Known Fact: Nuevas Filpinas translates to New Philippines and was the name given to Texas during the New Spain Era (1760-1821). The name could describe the new wave of entrepreneurial Filipinas who use food to assert their identity and prove their ambition, talent and business acumen.
In Dallas, Ulam Dallas’ chef Anna Swan is doing a monthly pop-up featuring her favorite dish, Tipsy Pancit. Pancits are meant to be quick and easy, but Tipsy Pancit kicks off at least three days before when it begins hardening yolks in patisseries, steering the amorphous blob into something completely different in flavor and texture. She rubs this over dried chicken adobo floss, wilted kale, carrot ribbons, fresh pea sprouts, atchara cucumbers, green onions, and two types of noodles. Her pancit is a symbolic feat.
Proselytizing Filipino food in Salt Lake City is easy for Chef Benjamin Pierce, as many of his new and returning guests at the World Famous Yum Yum Food Truck are already enthusiastic converts to the kitchen who have served as missionaries in the Philippines.
Pierce, along with his wife Erin Cotter and sons, runs two world famous Yum Yum food trucks serving sisig, lechon kawali and chicken adobo. Despite the welcoming, wholesome cheerfulness exuding from Benjamin and his crew, he’s not immune to hard times spurred on by hate crime or circumstance. Last year his truck was badly damaged and wrecked with insults, and the team survived an explosion in the truck that left first and second degree burns. They were able to bounce back thanks to the kindness of Utah Jazz player Jordan Clarkson and the larger community who funded repairs to help them stay in the game.
In 2017, with a mission to bring people together around the relaxing comfort meals of his childhood, Chef George Sales opened Pica-Pica Filipino Cuisine in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, one of the few Filipino restaurants in the state of Green Mountain. Sales leverages Vermont’s diverse agriculture by emphasizing fresh, locally sourced meats and vegetables in all of his dishes. One of the most popular dishes is his pinakbet, a funky northern Ilocano favorite based on vegetables like long beans, bitter melon, eggplant and yellow squash, cooked with bagoong for a complex blend of seaward, salty and bitter flavors.
The Filipino-American influence in Virginia is a tale of two cities so densely populated by Filipinos that they are each twinned in the Philippines itself: Norfolk with Cagayan de Oro and Virginia Beach with Olongapo respectively. The Philippines-Virginia counterparts became hubs for US Navy recruitment and military bases, bringing 35,000 Filipino nationals who joined the Navy onto American soil.
There are many excellent restaurants and bakeries to immerse you in this vibrant enclave of Filipino-American culture, but we’d start at Only at Renee’s in Virginia Beach. Owner Emma Dizon (whose parents run the legendary Renee’s Kitchenette in New York’s Little Manila in Woodside, Queens) runs this popular eatery with classics like inihaw na pampano (grilled whole fish wrapped in banana leaves) and oxtail kare kare (tender oxtail in a rich peanut stew with vegetables). Or if a snack calls for you, Angie’s Bakery owner Ken Garcia Olaes and his mother Lelis bake a delightful ube hopia (purple yam puff pastry) and a popular pepperoni and cheese filled Filipino bread from scratch.
More than 108,000 Filipinos in Virginia today are thriving, enjoying hot seaside summers reminiscent of their homeland, fil fest events with lumpia-eating contests, and a growing number of politically active voices representing the community.
With the passage of the Pensionado Act of 1903, Filipinos received funding to study in America, and in 1912 the University of Washington had the highest enrollment of Filipinos than any other institution in America. The Filipino American National Historical Society, founded by Dorothy and the late Fred Cordova, was born here, as was its legacy: the national recognition of October as Filipino American History Month.
Seattle’s culinary scene is also shaped by a scientific approach. At the Archipelago, the restaurant is like a history lesson, each meal a textbook and each dish a chapter that connects it to the past. The ten-chapter meal could consist of orosa sauce, a twist on the condiment banana ketchup commonly served with fried chicken and rice or used in Filipino-style spaghetti sauce. Chef Aaron Verzosa uses caramelized pumpkin and Oregon chiles to pay homage to the original, and named it after its inventor, Maria Orosa, a food technologist who studied at the University of Washington.
In Musang, chef Melissa Miranda also uses her restaurant as a platform to get nourishment and information. She limits her staff to no more than 4 shifts per week and offers healthcare, both of which she learned were not common in the hospitality industry. At Musang, Miranda interprets Filipino cuisine. Her approach is evident in her pinakbet, which is well known in the diaspora. Pinakbet (Pee-Nahk-Bet) has strong roots in the northern region and loosely translates to “shrink”, which is observed in the textures of vegetables that are long cooked in bagoong to create a wrinkled effect. Combining her Italian culinary training and Filipino research, the ingredients don’t look old anymore. Instead, she mashes acorn squash, tosses eggplant and sweet potatoes, pickles bitter melon, and finally dehydrates bagoong by dusting the dish with Filipino funk.
A Hidden Gem in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Philippines Best Food is a window into the Philippines itself. Co-owners Daniel and Ellenita Lubuguin moved to the state over 20 years ago and opened their first restaurant in Parkersburg. Daniel oversees the kitchen, which serves a rotating menu of traditional dishes like pancit noodles and Filipino bistek — succulent, tenderly sliced beef braised with onions in a soy-based sauce — as well as modern additions that appeal to local palates, like chicken adobo burritos . Simple phrases translated from English into Tagalog are chalked on the wall. The restaurant recently added the Philippines Best Food Truck to its offering; see their Facebook page for the food truck schedule.
Best combination for cold Wisconsin brewed beer? Sizzling, sweet and savory BBQ on a skewer. Enter Meat on the Street, Milwaukee’s popular food truck, restaurant and catering facility for Filipino kebabs and other traditional dishes. Sibling co-owners Matt and Alexis Alfaro take special care of every ingredient, from grinding their own pepper to hand-crushing each clove of garlic. Customers opt for the beef kabobs and stay for the homemade Ube ice cream. More of a lumpia lover? Lumpia City, owned by Alexa Reyes and Samantha Klimaszewski and also in Milwaukee, pioneered modern fusion Lumpia flavors like Korean beef and chicken enchilada. They ship throughout the Midwest, so order online if you’re hungry.
If you’re looking for fresh lumpia while roaming Cheyenne, Wyoming, Nipa Hut offers a haven. The restaurant is the premier gateway for Filipino food in the vast state, nestled on the plateau of its capital. While Nipa Hut may be the first pancit supplier on this frontier, they may be up to something as their success as a food truck has since led to a brick-and-mortar opening in 2019.
Chicken Adobo is the most famous and popular of all Filipino foods, known and loved by everyone. It is also one of the best examples of how the country is such a rich melting pot of different historical influences.
Do Filipinos love salty food?
And so we suspect that eating salty food is only natural for Filipinos. This is how we preserve our food – we salt it and ferment it. Salt is perhaps the most important spice in the world, and for most of us, a little extra salt doesn’t hurt, especially since we like our food extra salty.
What is the favorite dish of Filipinos? Often referred to as the national dish of the Philippines, adobo is certainly the most famous Filipino dish. The flavor is created with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and black pepper. Chili peppers are also sometimes added to give it a bit of spice.
Why is Filipino food so unpopular?
Compared to other Southeast Asian cuisines, Filipino food — with its lack of spices, use of unorthodox ingredients like offal, and focus on acidity and linamnam — may not be considered “exotic” enough by these outsiders to be worth their interest, given that they are both too alien and too “boring”.
What does Filipino food taste like?
The majority of Filipino dishes have a very special taste between sweet, sour and salty. Like many cuisines, Filipino food evolved out of taste and necessity. Cooking with acidifiers helps to preserve food in the warm tropical climate.
What are the food that Filipino love?
Favorite Filipino Food: Show
- Turon: Banana spring rolls.
- Kamaru: Crispy fried crickets.
- Lumpia: Filipino spring rolls.
- Pancit Palabok: Noodles with shrimp sauce.
- Tamilok: the woodworm delicacy!
- Arroz Caldo: the Filipino porridge.
- Buko Pie: the divine Filipino coconut pie.
- Halo Halo: the best Filipino dessert.
Do Filipinos like Chinese food?
Our love of Chinese dishes like Lumpia has been in our blood for hundreds of years. One of the main reasons we Filipinos have a unique affinity for Chinese cuisine is that it has been part of our culture for over hundreds of years.
Why is Chinese food popular in the Philippines? Story. Filipino cuisine is primarily influenced by China and Spain and was assimilated into pre-colonial indigenous Filipino cooking practices. When restaurants were established in the 19th century, Chinese food became a staple of pansiterias, with the food taking Spanish names.
Does Philippines have Chinese?
There are 900,000 to 1 million ethnic Chinese in the Philippines, approximately 1.2% to 1.5% of the total Filipino population. Half of them live in the Metro Manila metropolitan area; the other half is scattered in other major urban centers such as Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Bacolod.
How does Chinese food affect Filipino culture?
Trade with China was the beginning of a major influence and contribution within Filipino culture. An important influence that the Chinese brought within the culture was the art of cooking. Some culinary techniques taught to Filipinos include sautéed dishes, rice cakes, and noodle dishes (like pancit!).
Which country has best food?
The 10 countries with the best food, ranked by perception
- Italy. …
- Spain. …
- France. …
- Mexico. …
- Greece. …
- Thailand. …
- Portugal. …
Which country has the worst food? Italy claims first place on lists across the internet, including those from CNN, Ranker and Thrillist. As the Italian proverb says: “A tavola non si invecchia” or “You don’t age at the table”. Rounding out the top 5 are Spain, France, Mexico and Greece.
Which country people eat worst food?
Madagascar had the worst score in terms of food quality. On average, 79% of human consumption comes from nutrient-poor grains, roots and tubers, compared to a global average of 47%. It also tied with India in the THIRD WORST POSITION for malnutrition.
What is the most famous Filipino food in the world?
Often referred to as the national dish of the Philippines, adobo is certainly the most famous Filipino dish. The flavor is created with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and black pepper.
What is the most popular Filipino food? Adobe. Adobo is the most popular Filipino food and is considered the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. It’s generally chicken (although pork is the second most popular option) braised in vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, soy sauce, and bay leaves.
Why is Filipino food not famous?
Our cuisine has been heavily influenced by our colonizers, so many of the popular Filipino dishes like adobo, mechado, etc. have very similar dishes to other countries, which prevents them from standing out. Some may even argue that such dishes are not truly Filipino.
What is the national food of Filipino?
The national dish of the Philippines is adobo. Its name derives from the Spanish word “adobar” which means “marinade”, “sauce” or “spice”. And while some of Adobo’s origins are difficult to trace, others are well known.