There’s something to be said when you catch a vibe from cooking your own food in a setting that’s normally not in your own kitchen. You can find that simple pleasure when barbecuing, campfire cooking, and even sitting down to a Korean bbq meal. But a spot in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown called Dollar Hits is adding its name to that list, by channeling the energy of Filipino street food and letting diners cook it themselves on grills out doors.
Step inside and you’re greeted with a wide array of Filipino street food options. Imagine heaping stacks of meat skewers ranging from traditional pork and chicken barbecue, to other favorites like fish balls, pork and chicken intestines (isaw), chicken feet (adidas), chicken head (helmet), pig ears (walkman), chicken hearts, quail egg (kwek kwek), and more.
After picking your lot to grill, simply step outside to three outdoor grills and cook your choices to taste. As far as dining experiences go in LA, Dollar Hits is quite memorable as there’s not many like it in the city.
With outdoor dining being the norm these days, Dollar Hits should serve as a great choice to add to one’s list of spots to safely eat out at, all while catching the whole Filipino street food vibe that many have yet to experience.
The Filipino practice of kamayan essentially ditches the utensils and lets diners get into the meal by eating with their bare hands. Such a technique is the usual call to action when faced with a Filipino feast known as a boodle fight, which is a large communal spread presented on banana leaves. Dishes making up the bounty consist of traditional favorites like fried fish, grilled veggies, fresh mangoes and tomatoes, lumpia Shanghai, crispy pork belly lechon, and various barbecued meats.
This extravagant meal is usually experienced at large family parties and gatherings or in restaurant settings, but now, a whole kamayan feast can be your next weeknight dinner thanks to take-home meal kits from Silog, a Filipino restaurant in Torrance, California.
“We want to continue to promote our culture through our food. Since food heals everything, it’s perfect for this unprecedented quarantine time,” states chef and owner, Lemuel Guiyab. “If people can’t go out yet and gather in restaurants, it’s all good, we can still provide everything they need for a kamayan feast right in their own home.”
To order, reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance, with a minimum order good for four adults at $39.95 per person. The sumptuous feast is for sure a fun and unique dining experience that you can have at home to spice things up from the usual or if you have a special occasion you’d like to celebrate with the family.
When it comes to pork, Filipinos could write a whole saga on their love affair with the protein. Like there would literally be a sonnet for sisig, a limerick for lechon, a chorus for crispy pata — you get the picture. Consider every part of a pig and Filipinos probably have a dish for it. But Southern California Filipino restaurant chain, Noypitz, has got something that even had me astounded at their take on a pork dish: whole crispy pig head.
It’s not every day you see a whole fried pig head (dubbed Crispy Ulo) served up on a platter, let alone one that’s deep-fried to golden brown perfection. In fact, I doubt I’d ever seen anything quite like this Crispy Ulo platter on any Filipino restaurant menu. But its uniqueness on paper gives way to an iteration of pork that few folks ever get to enjoy. Make no mistake, pork belly is always the fan favorite, but not many realize that head meat offers a next level kind of tender that would make your favorite slow jam jealous. Keep that in mind the next time you’re in the mood for pork and are feeling adventurous.
Noypitz has three locations throughout Southern California, so trust there will be plenty of Crispy Ulo to go around.
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.
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.
I’m usually pretty shy when I order food. Something I need to work on, sure. Timidness doesn’t seem to be a problem, however, with Filipina diner Glysdi Faith Baguio. Especially when she wants her rice.
Baguio is the star of one of the most viral restaurant videos to hit the Internet this past week.
According to NextShark, the video was recorded at an unknown location of Filipino restaurant chain Mang Inasal. This barbecue fast food concept offers up unlimited side orders of rice, and Baguio was looking to take full advantage. Baguio’s friend Liviann Magat Zorilla, the one behind the camera, posted it to her Facebook page.
As she eats, Baguio nonchalantly whips out a microphone and asks one of the servers for another helping of rice. Because he doesn’t hear her the first time, Baguio is urged to ask again taking the microphone out again.
The server, referred to as Kuya (big bro), doesn’t get upset or annoyed. Instead, he flashes a smile and presumably heads to retrieve the much-anticipated rice. It seems this dude’s amiable reaction to what many other servers would consider rude contributed heavily to how viral the clip went.
Since it went live, Zorilla’s upload has already gained 3.7 million views. Many of the comments were positive, praising the reaction of “kuya” in the video and how he helps contribute to such a positive restaurant atmosphere.
Although Baguio was the star, everyone clearly thought that the “kuya” was the real MVP of this clip.
It’s time for Filipino food to get its limelight as America’s favorite cuisine. At least, according to Anthony Bourdain, it is.
The Parts Unknown host sat down with CNN Philippines for a discussion on Filipino fare in the United States and where it’s headed. He claims that American palates are just starting to “become seriously interested” in Filipino food, but they’re to begin “embracing and learning” about one of the most underrated but delicious cuisines out there.
Of course, as with any cultural food getting its chance to shine in the United States, some dishes are going to be more mainstay and recognizable to U.S. consumers than others. These “gateway dishes” are what gets people hooked onto a cuisine. For Filipino food, Bourdain believes that dish to be sisig, a mouthwatering combination of chopped pig’s head and liver (though other popular iterations can include pork cheek and pork belly) that is sauteed in vinegar and peppers and served sizzling in a skillet, usually with an egg.
“I think sisig is perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole… I think it’s the most likely to convince people abroad who have had no exposure to Filipino food to maybe look further and investigate further beyond sisig. I think that’s the one that’s gonna hook them.”
Bourdain’s reasons for sisig being that “gateway dish” include the variety of textures and crisp flavors inside of it, the accessibility and relative cheapness of the dish, as well as the fact that it goes great with a few beers.
Bourdain isn’t the only one with that opinion on sisig and Filipino food. Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold has also noted that “the Filipino Food moment” is now upon us, and its unique yet familiar flavors and cheap prices have finally thrust it into the gaze of American food culture.
Our managing editor and resident Filipino Foodbeast, Reach Guinto, expanded on Bourdain’s and Gold’s thoughts, noting that sisig is “accessible and versatile” and can be served in a “variety of styles” that are more appealing to American palates, such as with the cheap but beloved pork belly. Reach also feels that the creativity of Filipino chefs in the United States and social media gives the cuisine a huge advantage.
“Filipino food has always been around, but the awareness brought about through social media and tastemakers like Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern have brought Filipino food into a prominent platform. I believe a lot of it has to do with these first generation Filipino Americans riding the wave of food being so diverse and creative these days. They’re taking the influences and tastes that they grew up with and putting their own creative spin on them. What’s more, they are the new restaurateurs that are starting to pop up in place of immigrant Filipino mom-and-pop joints that we all grew up eating at. Also, food’s relationship with social media now allows these young, hungry, tech savvy Filipino chefs to leverage that technology for more exposure.”
I’d even be bold enough to add it to my list of 2017 food trends because the Filipino food scene has exploded, largely in part to what Reach, Jonathan Gold, and Bourdain have brought up. The cuisine is poised to spread across the USA like wildfire, and the cheap but flavorsome sisig is going to be a big reason why that happens in the immediate future.
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.