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Taste The Details: Why Is Filipino-American Food Overlooked?

Chicken adobo. Lumpia. Leche Flan. These are all traditional Filipino dishes that are getting remixed through the lens of Filipino -merican chefs. And though it’s drawing skepticism from Filipinos themselves, while still having to prove itself to the mainstream, Filipino-American cuisine is poised to overcome such obstacles.

Growing up, busting out my lunch of kare-kare with a dash of bagoong didn’t exactly draw kids closer to me, eager to trade up with one of their Lunchables creations. Which is fair, not many really find ox-tail in a peanut stew with a dash of fish paste to be appetizing. But these days, folks have more adventurous palates and are being exposed to Filipino food that has a touch of “growing up in America” generously added to it.

In this latest episode of Taste the Details, walk with me as I explore the friction between traditional and modern Filipino cuisine. This new generation of Filipino-American chefs are cooking up their interpretations of the traditional Filipino food they grew up eating — and pissing off our lolas in the process.

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‘Ulam: Main Dish’ Is the First Filipino Food Documentary To Be Distributed Worldwide

ULAM: Main Dish – Official Trailer #2 (HD) from Alexandra Cuerdo on Vimeo.

It’s pretty safe to say that over the past couple of years, Filipino cuisine and culture have continued to sizzle slowly into the hearts of America’s dinner table.  Highlighting this cultural shift is Ulam: Main Dish, a documentary that shows the true “underdog of Asian cuisines’” rise to center stage — and is the first Filipino food documentary to be distributed worldwide through Hulu

Aside from the love that late greats Jonathan Gold and Anthony Bourdain have heralded in regards to Filipino food, the rest of the world was slow to take notice. Regardless, its voice grew louder, its proponents adjusted to the contemporary dining climate, and its ascent rose high enough to the point that it could no longer be denied.  

Ulam: Main Dish is a documentary by filmmaker Alexandra Cuerdo staging how the cuisine moved beyond being known for lumpia and ube to become a phenomenon, all through the efforts of a handful of celebrated Filipino-American chefs and restaurateurs like Alvin Cailan (Eggslut, The Usual), Chase & Chad Valencia (LASA), Johneric & Christina Concordia (The Park’s Finest), and Nicole Ponseca (Maharlika, Jeepney) to name a few.

The film is a compelling confrontation of the issues that come inherent with representing an authentic Filipino culture and cuisine within an American community — but ultimately, is a celebration of the representation and validation that the Filipino people and advocates of the cuisine have longed for. 

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A NYC Filipino Taqueria Is Serving Up Their Take On A Sinigang Cup Noodles

A New York City Filipino favorite just joined Nissin Cup Noodles and tangy sinigang together in a mouthwatering combination.

The Sinigang Cup Noodles was created by Jordan Andino of Flip Sigi, a “Filipino Taqueria” that serves up classic eats from the Philippines in sandwich, taco, and burrito form. For Andino, this item is the fusion of his love for Nissin Cup Noodles growing up and one of his favorite traditional dishes.

For those who’ve never tried, sinigang is a tamarind-based soup that provides a bright, acidic punch of flavor. Andino’s spin involves braising beef short ribs in the broth for three and a half hours to perfectly contrast the richness of the meat.

He then combines that with Nissin Cup Noodles, tomatoes, scallions and carrots before garnishing the bowl with fries dusted in tamarind powder. The crispy spuds add a crunch that brings out the lusciousness of the noodles and beef, making for a full-on flavor and texture experience.

Andino’s dish bridges together traditional Filipino food and Nissin Cup Noodles in a standout explosion of taste that you have to try for yourself. It’ll be available at Flip Sigi as a special item for the entirety of November, while supplies last.

Photos by Marc Kharrat


Created in partnership with Nissin Cup Noodles

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Utensils Not Necessary For This Massive Filipino ‘Kamayan’ Feast

A kamayan style dinner in Filipino cuisine is one where utensils are not used and an extraordinary amount of food is eaten with one’s hands only. The impressive spread is served on top of banana leaves and can feature a decadent list of Filipino dishes that range from crispy fried pork belly (lechon kawali) to sweet cured sausages (longanisa) to a whole fried tilapia. Such tasty items rest atop a mountain of rice and make for a true eye-gasm on its incredible presentation alone.

Though this setup sounds like something out of your deepest cravings and wildest food fantasies, such a lavish feast can be found at MFK By Aysee in Anaheim, California. The modern Filipino restaurant serves up kamayan feasts on the regular, accommodating large parties to fulfill their insatiable appetites.

Served up by Chef Henry Pineda, the kamayan feast at MFK By Aysee is the perfect meal for your whole crew. Squad goals are easily met with one giant kamayan spread. Just imagine gathering up a proper band of hungry foodies, all with the singular objective to go HAM on the festive gala of gluttony laid before you.

Yeah, I know, I’m drooling, too.