There’s A Filipino Food Movement Happening

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Steamed mussels from House of Sisig - Photo by Sarah Burchard

Steamed mussels from House of Sisig – Photo by Sarah Burchard

Filipinos are some of the most warmhearted people I have ever met. Their larger than life personalities, dedication to family, and pride for the foods of their homeland is something to be admired.

Brightly influenced with Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, Spanish and Japanese flavors, Filipino food is the ultimate fusion cuisine.

Taro boba tea & lumpia - AJ’s BBQ and Cafe - Photo by Sarah Burchard

Taro boba tea & lumpia – AJ’s BBQ and Cafe – Photo by Sarah Burchard

There’s a Filipino food movement happening in the Bay Area. Up until recently, this cuisine could only be found locally in the densely Filipino-populated area of Daly City. But over the last few years, it has spread to San Francisco and Oakland, bringing more food trucks, pop-ups, turo-turos (quick service steam table style) and hole in the wall restaurants which serve everything from silogs (essentially Filipino breakfast food) to full Kamayan dinners (foods spread out on banana leaves to be eaten with your hands).

Food Trucks – The infamous Senor Sisig redefines taco trucks with their Filipino twist and will give any taqueria a run for its money. Alternatively, The Sarap Shop truck claims they were the first to “veganize” Filipino-American comfort food. Their vegan sisig sandwich is a take on the American “Pittsburg sandwich” and consists of warm pita bread stuffed with spicy, vinegary tofu, slaw, crunchy cornicks (a Filipino version of corn nuts) and of course, French fries.

The “Fiesta” Kamayan dinner - House of Sisig - Photo by Sarah Burchard

The “Fiesta” Kamayan dinner – House of Sisig –
Photo by Sarah Burchard

Pop-ups – Yana Gilbuena created The Salo Series, which brought Filipino cuisine to 50 states in 50 weeks. Through social media, she partners with local chefs from each city, arriving only with a suitcase and a menu. She cooks innovative and elegant Visayan inspired dishes such as Sinigang poke – raw salmon marinated with tamarind and sesame oil. Other pop-ups of note include Elena Una – upscale Filipino cuisine prepared by uber-talented chef Janice Lazaga; Pampalasa – former restaurant turned Kamayan dinner pop-up; and The Lumpia Bar, hosted by Alex Retodo – owner of The Lumpia Company in Oakland.

Turo Turos – At AJ’s, you can eat like a king without having to wait. This point and scoop joint offers classics like chicken adobo, Sinigang – pork shoulder and greens cooked in a sour broth made with tamarind, house-made Longanisa – a bright red garlic-pork breakfast sausage, and pancit – stir-fried rice stick noodles. But their claim to fame is pork and chicken BBQ. Large chunks of marinated meat grilled to smoky, crispy, sweet perfection.

“Hole in the walls” – At Tselogs, they specialize in silogs – meats paired with garlic fried rice topped with a fried egg. Tselogs makes a dynamite sisigsilog – made with sizzling chicken, lemon, and scallions, and a damn fine lumpia. They also make pies in-house with Filipino flavors like buko (young coconut), halo halo (mixed fruits), and ube (purple yam).

Sinigang poke from the Salo Series pop up - Noli

Sinigang poke from the Salo Series pop up – Noli

For a real deal Kamayan dinner, head to House of Sisig in Daly City. Sit back and watch the feast unfold on to a table lined with banana leaves. The fiesta menu for 6 includes items like lechon – slow-cooked crispy whole pig, chicken BBQ, and a variety of seafood, including fried whole tilapia, mussels, and head-on prawns. There are special condiments for each offering and a huge pile of rice plopped down in the middle for diners to grab by the handful.

Filipino dishes are as vibrant as the people who cook them and to me, embody the phrase “comfort food”.

When asked, “what does Filipino culture mean to you,” chefs like Kevin from AJ’s, JP from Sarap Shop, and Yana from Salo Series all pretty much said the same thing: friends, family, and home-cooked food. If you are ever fortunate enough to have a Filipino cook for you, then you’ll know just what they mean. In the meantime, the growing Filipino food movement adds to the Bay’s tasty options for street food and sit-down dinners.

Sizzling sisig, tocilog and paresilog from Tselogs

Sizzling sisig, tocilog and paresilog from Tselogs

 


Senior Sisig
seniorsisig.com
Trucks are located in several Bay Area locations. See website for locations by day and time.


The Sarap Shop
thesarapshop.com
SOMA Street Food Park
428 11th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103


Salo Series pop-ups
eatfeastly.com/salo/
Pop-ups done through Feastly; location varies.


Elena Una
elenaunasf.com
3347 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(They are doing a permanent pop up in this space through April. They are currently looking for a new space to move into after that.)


Pampalasa
pampalasa.com
Pop-ups done through Feastly; location varies.


The Lumpia Bar
eatfeastly.com/meals/d/19352828/the-lumpia-bar/
Pop-ups done through Feastly; location varies.


The Lumpia Company
squareup.com/market/thelumpiacompany
Call to order (415) 758-0644


AJ’s BBQ & Café
2275 San Jose Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94112


Tselog
tselogs.com

6192 Mission St.
Daly City, CA 94014

552 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

11-B San Pedro Rd.
Colma, CA 94014


House of Sisig
houseofsisig.weebly.com
2408 Junipero Serra Blvd.
Daly City, CA 94015

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