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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.

kamayan

 

Photos: Nicole Daphne
Categories
#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.

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#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. 

Categories
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.

Categories
#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.

Categories
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

A post shared by B Sweet Dessert Bar (@mybsweet) on


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.

Categories
Adventures Culture Features Restaurants

The First Time I Tried An Authentic Filipino Breakfast

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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.

tapasilog-03

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.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Rich Singaporean Couple Charged With Starving Maid With Bread And Instant Noodles

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A Singaporean couple are facing charges in court that they forced their Filipino maid to only eat bread and instant noodles, causing her to lose 44 pounds over the course of 15 months.

The maid, 40-year-old Thelma Oyasan Gawidan, weighed about 64 pounds when she was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital in April last year, about a 40 percent drop from January 2013, when she first began working for the couple and weighed 108 pounds, reports AsiaOne.

On the stand, Gawidan testified that the couple, Lim Choon Hong and his wife Chong Sui Foon, both 47, fed her two packets of instant noodles and three slices of bread daily for her first meal and then a slice of tomato or cucumber, plus six slices of bread for a second meal, according to the Straits Times.

ofw-starved-by-singaporean-employers
Thelma Oyasan Gawidan

“I became very skinny, I couldn’t recognize myself when I saw myself in the mirror,” a crying Gawidan said through a Tagalog interpreter in court.

She was able to regain her weight at a shelter run by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics after fleeing from her employers.

In addition to being inadequately fed, Gawidan claimed she had to sleep in a storeroom at odd hours during the daytime.

Her weekly baths, which were taken at a public restroom in her employers’ condominium building, were monitored by Chong so that she would not bathe too long. She was also forbidden from brushing her teeth.

The couple’s lawyer, Tan Hee Liang, told District Judge Low Wee Ping that Lim was “very distressed by the whole affair” and “eager to have his side of the story (told).”

Lim and Chong are currently out on $3,000 bail each. If convicted, they face a fine of up to $10,000 and 12 months of imprisonment.

Written by NextShark