Cravings Culture Features Restaurants

LA Filipino Restaurant Selling Whole Kamayan Feast Kits To Recreate At Home

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.

kamayan feast

“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.



Photos: Nicole Daphne
#foodbeast Adventures Cravings Culture Features FOODBEAST Opinion Restaurants Video

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.

#foodbeast Culture Features Film/Television FOODBEAST

‘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. 

Culture Restaurants

The Must-Try Dishes To Dive Into When Sampling Filipino Food

filipino food. simon majumdar. saute magazine. san diego.Source: Saute Magazine

Have an unquenchable craving for a traditional kamayan-style meal? Take a trip south to San Diego.

It’s one of the questions I am asked most often in interviews: Which of the nearly 80 countries I have visited is my favorite? With one or two exceptions (which I shall sensibly keep to myself), every country I have been to has its own charms. That said, there are some places that have left an indelible mark on my traveler’s spirit, and to which I either long to return or indeed have done so on more than one occasion. 

Top of that list: the 7,000-plus islands that make up the archipelago of the Philippines. I may be biased—I am, after all, married to a Filipino-American, and as a result, I have become part of an extended family that has shown me extraordinary hospitality over the last eight or so years. However, long before my wedding day, when I like to joke I became part Filipino by marriage, I had already visited the Philippines and fallen in love with its culture, the warmth of its people and, inevitably, with its food. Even without the prompting of my new family, I would still be a lively ambassador for all matters Pinoy. I have made discovering more about its culture and glorious, but underrated, cuisine one of my key goals. 

Even if I don’t get to visit as often as I would like, the significant Filipino-American communities that exist within the United States allow me to regularly immerse myself in the culture and satisfy my cravings for delicious Filipino food without having to endure the 15-hour flight from LAX to Manila. The United States is home to nearly 3.5 million people of Filipino ancestry. And, while there are communities in every state, by far the greatest concentration appears in California, with the biggest density in the southern part of the state. So whenever I develop a deep food craving that only lechon kawali (boiled then deep fried pork belly) can satisfy, it is easy enough to hop in a car and drive to a neighborhood dotted with Filipino restaurants. I would normally do this in my home city of Los Angeles, but a recent visit to San Diego gave me an opportunity to see what was on offer in an area where Filipinos are by far the largest group of Asian-Americans. Many are descendants of those who found their way to this part of the country through the military, particularly the United States Navy. 

The United States is home to nearly 3.5 million people of Filipino ancestry.

While interest in Filipino history has ebbed and flowed over the decades, there seems to be a resurgence. Young people of Filipino ancestry are rediscovering the history of their culture, and chefs are bringing the cuisine to the attention of food critics. The community, in general, is beginning to thrive under the banner of being Filipino-American.

So we pointed our car toward National City, a community in the larger San Diego metropolitan area where nearly a fifth of the population is of Filipino ancestry. It was a great place to start our eating adventures. But, before we headed to our first restaurant of choice, we parked our car and took the opportunity to walk around the parade of Filipino food shops to whet our appetites.

For any food-obsessed person, Filipino supermarkets are a wonder to behold: shelves lined with pickles, fish sauces, shrimp paste, palm vinegars and banana ketchup; counters filled deep with ice and fresh fish on display (as well as one reserved just for fish heads); meat counters with neatly arranged cuts of chicken- and pork-related products ready for classic dishes such as adoboand crispy pata; rows of longganisa, a spicy sausage that is a culinary remnant of Spanish colonization and one of my all-time favorite versions of encased meats. 

If supermarkets are good, then Filipino bakeries are truly a thing of beauty. The smell of pan de sal, a slightly sweet fluffy bread roll, being pulled from the oven fills the air. Display cases are stocked with ensaymada, another sweet bread, this time topped with grated cheese. Kept warm in a glass case is siopao, the Filipino take on Chinese cha siu bao, and hopia, pastries filled with beans. Lovingly wrapped in cellophane are my favorite of all: ube loaf, a soft cake-like bread that is filled with a swirl of purple yam. It’s delicious on its own—and even better when used as the base for French toast.

I could have quite easily satisfied my Filipino food urge snacking in the bakery, but we had come to this part of National City for a reason, and that was to try one of the most traditional styles of Filipino dining—turo turo, which means “point point” in Tagalog. While I have never quite wrapped my head around the Filipino inclination to naming everything twice, I do particularly like this style of dining, as it allows you to sample more than one dish at a time, choosing from a selection held in trays on a steam table.

Tita’s Kitchenette (2720 E. Plaza Blvd., National City, 619.472.5801) was already filling up when we joined the line. My wife explained the items on offer as we waited our turn to point out our selection of dishes to the friendly servers behind the counter. There were whole bangus, or milk fish, flattened and fried until crunchy; caldereta, a rich and tangy Filipino beef (or goat) stew; trays of lumpia spring rolls; dinuguan, a stew of pork meat cooked in its own blood; and Pancit Malabon, named after the city from which it was invented—it’s a dish of thick chewy noodles filled with seafood.

I wanted to order it all, but my wife was more sensible and reminded me that we had two other restaurants to visit. Deciding to limit ourselves to a shared combo plate of two dishes, our eyes were drawn toward the sight of sinigang soup being ladled into a Styrofoam container, and our noses were drawn to the sizzle of chicken skewers from a grill. We added a large scoop of rice to our selection and made our way to a spare table, and made sure to grab a bottle of chili vinegar. Steaming rice with a splash of vinegar is one of the irrefutable proofs that the world is a good place to be. The same, too, with sinigang, a soup of braised beef that is laced with enough tamarind to bring a sour taste that is, for the record, the perfect hangover cure. Finally, there were the chicken skewers. Chunky pieces of chicken thigh marinated in soy sauce and banana ketchup before being grilled to give them juicy tenderness. It had a deep and rich umami hit as we bit the meat from their wooden skewers.

A short drive away, we found ourselves at stop No. 2—Lisa’s Filipino Cuisine, another turo turorestaurant. A similar selection to Tita’s was on offer, but this time we noticed two things on the steam table that made our ordering easy. The first was a large platter of crispy dilis—tiny dried anchovies that had been dipped in a light batter and then deep-fried. The second was a tray of stubby longganisa that had been coated in a sticky, glistening red sauce. With the prerequisite large scoop of rice, both of these dishes reminded me of why I love this cuisine so much. The dilishad the crunch and saltiness that all Filipinos seem to crave, while the sausages dripped a sweet garlicky sauce down our chins as we bit into them.

That would have been as good a way to end the dining trip as any. However, my wife reminded me that we had one more Filipino meal to experience. Kamayan, which means “with hands” in Tagalog, refers to a traditional way of eating—food is laid out on top of banana leaves and then eaten by hand. Villa Manila in National City has been offering this style of dining by special request for some time. We had pre-ordered our meal, and when we arrived, we found that our table was already prepared with a layer of fresh banana leaves. It didn’t take long for our food to arrive, and I was glad my wife had been so insistent that we take it easy at our previous stops.

An enormous mound of rice was placed on top of the banana leaves, followed by layers of enough food to feed four people, including grilled shrimp, Filipino fried chicken, grilled pork, roasted eggplant, a salad of tomatoes and mustard leaves, salted eggs and a whole grilled milk fish. At first glance, I was convinced that we would be leaving with a sizeable doggy bag. However, once we began to scoop rice with our hands and top it with fish, meat or seafood, the pile began to reduce at a rate that belied the fact we had been stuffed when we arrived. Within 20 minutes, there was nothing left on the banana leaves except a few stray grains of rice, remnants of shrimp shells, chicken bones and fish skin. 

That, to me, is the true joy of Filipino cuisine. However full you may think you are, there is always one more delicious dish to persuade you that you can eat just one bite more. 

It was a fantastic way to end our road trip, and it definitely satisfied my urge for Filipino food, for the time being, at least. I won’t lie to you. I let my wife drive all the way back to Los Angeles as I slept off my indulgences in the passenger seat. I may well have dreamed of lechon.

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One World Everybody Eats Receives Humanitarian Of The Year Award

Article by Meghan Malloy for Sauté Magazine. Read the original article here.

Culture Fast Food Video

YouTubers Successfully Recreate Jollibee At Home [WATCH]

Ah, Jollibee. Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad memory at the popular Filipino fast food chain. The problem is my cravings will never outweigh the rising costs of gas. Can’t keep driving out for miles every time the Jollibee hunger strikes. If only I knew how to make it at home.

Popular YouTube cooking channel HellthyJunkFood channeled the essence of Jollibee and recreated three of the chain’s most popular items: Jolly Spaghetti, Jolly Hotdog, and the Chickenjoy.

Because most fast food chains keep their recipes pretty close to the vest, hosts JP and Julia try their best to get as close as they can to the actual dishes based on their experience recreating popular fast food items and the descriptions provided by the Filipino chain.

If you’re itching to try this at home, you can find the recipes here.

Just watching this makes me yearn for a trip to Jollibee, as a statue of the pleasant, comely bumblebee waves me inside the doors, the smell of fried chicken and burgers welcoming me, luring me to the register.

Visually, I think they nailed the execution. The sound of that first crunch is also music to our ears.

Our only disappointment was that they don’t show you how to make Jollibee’s incredibly addicting gravy.  Though that’s fair, because if I knew how to make that liquid gold at home, I’d never leave the house.

#foodbeast Cravings Culture Features FOODBEAST Restaurants Video

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.

Sweets Tastemade/Snapchat

10 Sweet Ube Desserts You Need Right About Now

Ube seems to be every foodie’s new obsession, and with good reason. If you’re not sure what it is, ube is basically a purple yam, similar to a sweet potato, most notably found in Filipino cuisine. While ube tastes amazing and is extremely versatile to cook with, the veggie’s claim to fame is its beautiful purple hue. The stuff can make anything look good. Because ube deserves to be in your life if it isn’t already, here are some of our favorite ube desserts.

Ube Donut

See what we mean about the beautiful color? It’s so rare to find natural foods this vivid without any food dye, but ube has defied all odds. Manila Social Club in NYC started making these donuts and everyone went wild. We would literally hop on a plane and fly across the country for a dozen of these without any shame.

Ube Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich

Dear Lord, we can barely comprehend the amazingness that is in front of us. If you’re wondering, and you should be, this is ube ice cream toasted into a brioche bun with shiso granola and a little coconut dulce de leche for good measure. Yet another infectious concoction out of New York City. What’s in the water over there? The city sure knows its sweets.

Ube Velvet Whoopie Pie

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These are Ube whoopie pies. The cake is ube velvet, as opposed to red velvet, and the cream is ube gelato. That’s three delicious layers of ube in one amazing dessert. You know, this looks oddly similar to Sunday nights when we do meal prep. Oh, what a world it would be to eat ube whoopie pies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Ube Coffee Cake

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Okay, guys. This is ube coffee cake, so that means we’ve officially found a sweet ube treat that’s acceptable to eat for breakfast. This luscious goodie is topped with a coconut sugar walnut crumble, just for that added crunch. With that beautiful hue, how could you say no?

Ube Leche Flan Cupcake

To any known deity in the universe, all we ask of you is that some day we will be able to experience the deliciousness that is this ube cupcake. We would also like to point out that this little beauty is topped with leche flan instead of frosting. That’s just how Cafe 86, a Filipino joint located in Southern California, rolls.

Flores de Ube

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While we mentioned ube is commonly found in Filipino cuisine, none of the sweets we’ve listed so far are traditional applications of the ube. That ends here with these incredible Flores de Ube. Word on the street is you can get three of these these sweet, tasty rolls for only $1.99 at Valerio’s Tropical Bake Shop in Daly City, CA. Use whatever train, plane, or automobile to get there, stat.

Ube NiceCream

Sure, we’ve heard of “Nicecream.” It’s basically frozen bananas that somehow magically adopt the taste and texture of ice cream after being blended together. But we have never seen Ube Nicecream. Now you can indulge in a sweet ube treat that is, dare we say, actually healthy for you. Plus, if you have a blender, this will be a piece of cake to make.

Ube Upside Down Pie

Okay, so this basically looks like heaven in a jar. What is it, you ask? Well, this is an upside down ube pie with a graham cracker Greek yogurt crumble. Pineapple upside down cake is pretty visually stunning as is, but it might have some competition here. That gorgeous shade of purple just can’t be beat.

Ube Cinnamon Roll

Everyone loves cinnamon rolls. They’re the quintessential Sunday morning breakfast. We’ve spent so many weekend mornings curled up with a cup of coffee and a warm, sticky cinnamon roll, you don’t even want to know. It just doesn’t get better than that. Well, maybe we spoke too soon. This ube cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting and caramelized coconut sugar is definitely way better.

Ube Bread Pudding

Wow, this is absurd. We didn’t think anything could top Cafe 86’s ube cupcake with leche flan, but that was before we discovered their ube bread pudding with ube ice cream. What the heck. Just look how dense and delicious that bread pudding looks. And don’t even get us started on the ice cream. Drool.

Adventures Culture Features Restaurants

The First Time I Tried An Authentic Filipino Breakfast


I’ve always thought of myself as a connoisseur of breakfast foods.

The warm, velvetiness of soft scrambled eggs. The crunch of a perfectly fried strip of bacon. The squirt of juice that comes from biting into a plump sausage. These were all little highs I’ve chased for the last twenty-something years of my life.

Since my pancake-loving youth, I’ve branched into many breakfasts from different cultures. I fell in love with the Mexican chilaquiles. I adore dining on dim sum. I’m even down for the occasional crepe when the opportunity arises.

However, it wasn’t until recently that I got to experience what an authentic Filipino breakfast was like.

I was on an all-day food shoot with fellow Foodbeast Richard Guinto, who made up half of the Hot Boy Duo. We were in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles and I had been sitting in traffic for nearly two hours.

Reach, Richard’s nom de guerre, suggested we grab some food before starting our extensive workday.

What do you wanna eat? I asked him.

Are you down for some Filipino breakfast?

I had never tried Filipino breakfast before in my life. It wasn’t a taste thing, or a culture bias by any means necessary. I just never had the opportunity to try the cuisine before. My prior experience with Filipino cuisine was limited to fusion spots that highlighted meats like adobo (marinated meat in a stock) and sisig (sizzling pork). Though they were heavily white-washed on fries, or stuffed into a burrito.

No, we were going for traditional tapsilog, the combination of marinated meat accompanied by garlic rice and a fried egg.

We drove through the backstreets of Koreatown until we came upon a rundown looking plaza.

Tucked between a lavanderia and a Filipino corner store was a tiny restaurant and bakery. On a typical day, I would have just driven past the location without a second glance.

Bagnet Restaurant, the spot was called.

It being my first time there, and himself a local, Reach ordered our meal in his native Tagalog.

I got you, man.

There was some back-and-forth between him and the elderly Filipino woman behind the counter. She looked at me like a shy fawn walking towards human campers for the first time.

took @pham_bot to his first #silog experience. #foodbeast #breakfastforever

A photo posted by @cozy.bryant on

We took our seats, Reach whittling away at his Redwood tree of unanswered emails. I, on the other hand, scanned the restaurant eagerly taking in the aesthetics of the establishment. The menu was painted on the far back wall. In bold letters, a sign boasted $5 breakfast served all day with unlimited rice.

Five bucks for breakfast with all the rice you could eat? My excitement grew along with my hunger.

A few minutes later, the woman approached our table with two plates of food.

Before me was an aromatic plate of garlic fried rice, crispy fried chicken, two fried eggs, roasted pork known as lechon, and two longanisa links. The savory crimson sausage is flavored with Filipino spices that made for one hearty protein.

While I took a moment to take a photo of this magnificent meal, a habit that’s pretty hard to shake in this line of work, I could hear the earth-shattering crunch of Reach biting into his fried chicken with overwhelming satisfaction.

As I forked a stout piece of sausage, Reach offered me some words of caution.

Prepare yourself for some “longanisa burps,” he said. This meant that the flavor from the breakfast meat was so potent, you’d be burping up the taste for days to follow.

As I bit into the ample banger from the Pacific Islands, my taste buds were engulfed in flavor and juices. I immediately chased down the richness of the longanisa with a spoonful of garlic rice. Next up was the lechon.

I myself am a sucker for any kind of pork. You can roast a pig, braise it, smoke it, or even pan fry it and I’m down to nibble. The crispy texture and fatty content made the lechon a perfect parallel for bacon. It pleased me, as much as finding a front-of-the-store parking spot on an exceptionally frustrating day.


I washed the meal down with a refreshing gulp of a Filipino style of lemonade called calamansi juice. The light, citrus beverage cleansed the savory sin congregating in my mouth, my palate now a social chatter of flavor. The meal left me pretty satisfied, albeit unwilling to continue onto my forthcoming workday.

As with every successful breakfast, I just wanted to nap.

After we left the restaurant, I told myself I would make time to return and try more dishes. The savory Filipino breakfast I just devoured had left a craving in my spirit and a new restaurant to frequent whenever I’m in the area.

My trip to Bagnet further reinforced my love of breakfast, the greatest meal of the day.

Driving out of the parking lot, I let out a pretty hefty belch. He was right about those longanisa burps. I tasted the meal again, its essence dragging its feet through my tongue, anchoring its flavor to my senses and staying with me for the rest of the week.