Filipino Cuisine Finally a Yes for the Restaurant Industry?


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New School food. Old School jams #filipinofoodmovement #latimes

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Filipino cuisine. We've seen it on "upcoming trends" lists for years on end, with the culinary community keeping it on the radar and staring at it with a watchful eye, but for some reason, it would always fail to completely launch the way eager diners anticipated and hoped it would, the same way Vietnamese dishes and Korean staples steadily became just as commonplace as Japanese and Chinese influences in the restaurant industry's melting pot. Others have scoffed, not considering it a real trend.

Waiting for Filipino cuisine to pop into the scene felt oddly similar to waiting for "The Second Coming" — but will Filipino finally be a yes in foodservice this 2017? Its time may be right around the corner.

According to Bloomberg, Google searches for "filipino food" have doubled in the last five years, while the hunt for "lumpia near me," lumpia being the famous Filipino-style spring roll, has surged 3,350 percent. In "Bon Appétit" Magazine's most recent Best New Restaurant List, Bad Saint, a concept based on the colorful, flavorful tastes of Filipino cooking, landed in No. 2.

And in our very own Foodable Top 25 Restaurants, we've seen restaurants come to life under the expertise of multiple Filipino-American chefs. One of them, ranked in Foodable's Los Angeles Top 25 Restaurants, is Eggslut at Grand Central Market, which was founded by Chef Alvin Cailan. This year, he is experimenting with a food concept that includes a bold "I ❤️️ Filipino Food" logo.

"I saw an article that said Filipino restaurateurs are afraid to enter higher-rent markets because they don't have confidence in the cuisine. I'd like to show that Filipino food can be accessible to any demographic," Cailan said to Bloomberg.

Former "Top Chef" star Chef Dale Talde, whose restaurant Massoni ranked in our latest New York City Top 25 Restaurants, also chimed in on the Filipino food movement.

"People have been saying this for how long?" Talde said to NRN, referring to the times he's heard that Filipino cuisine would be the next "it" thing. "[Filipino food] is bright and poppy and rich and fatty and delicious. I don't [care] if you like it or not. I'm gonna cook it."

"The use of vinegar, the acidity in Filipino cuisine is everywhere in my food. It's a cuisine. It's a piece of me and I'm gonna put it on a plate. I don't need to call it Filipino," he continued.

Sunda, an esteemed restaurant in Chicago (and side note, one that has been featured on our show "Across the Bar" and a restaurant also featured in Foodable's Chicago Top 25 Restaurants), also uses Filipino influences in their dishes without explicitly saying it.

"The filipino food trend is something we've been doing here at Sunda for eight years," Sunda Chef Jess DeGuzman said, adding that of Sunda's 60 Southeast Asian-inspired menu items, about a dozen — including the beloved adobo, pancit, lumpia, and halo halo — are Filipino. "Filipino food is comfort food. ...It's meant to be eaten withy family and friends. It's everybody shares. It's always multiple different dishes, finger foods, a spread of many different types of food. An explosion of savoriness." Read More