filipino foodie

Nice article in The Wall Street Journal on Filipino cuisine. Lots of yummy details and thankfully it goes beyond the typical balut experiences that seems mandatory on any foodie travelogue to the Philippines.

As I've mentioned before, my dad explains the lack of Filipino restaurants in America through the theory that Filipino food is best cooked at home. Why would I pay money for food that I could easily find at a party. We lived in a sizeable Filipino community in Maryland and every weekend had a house party with potluck dishes overcrowding dining tables. Titas that you've never met before would pile food onto your plate chirping "Eat, Eat. Eat!" right after the kiss-on-the-cheek greeting. After making a circuit around the table, your plate resembled a culinary car dump with 15 different foods piled up on top of each other. Nonetheless it was always delicious. Meanwhile, a Filipino restaurant would open up only to close shortly after. Grand opening, grand closing! Perhaps "filipino restaurant" is an oxymoron to pinoys who share my dad's perspective. What are other factors? I've heard that maybe the food is too simplistic, inaccessible or not exotic enough for Americans. Can it be elevated without being bastardized?

As for me? I grew up associating Filipino food with home cooking. But living away from mom's cooking and outside a filipino community makes me more eager to patronize a Filipino restaurant. I was shocked to find a "turo-turo" place nearby and I've tried some fusion and upscale joints in Philly and NYC. When I tell my parents of these places, I can sense the good natured smirks on their faces saying, "You got suckered into paying how much for what?"


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