Filipino, for real: A perpetual ‘next big thing’ arrives
Maybe you’ve heard this said before, but “the time for Filipino food to take center stage is finally here,” said Kate Krader in Bloomberg.com Google searches for lumpia are skyrocketing; Washington, D.C.’s Bad Saint looks like the flag bearer the cuisine has needed; and cities throughout the country can point to at least one Filipino eatery that adds to the momentum. As L.A. waits for Alvin Cailan to go full time with Amboy and New York City waits for Dale Talde to add Rice & Gold to his growing pan-Asian empire, here are three other stops worth investigating.
RiceBar Los Angeles. Seasoned fine-dining chef Charles Olalia threw it all away to get back to the food of his Filipino childhood. In his tiny storefront in the Jewelry District, he’s focused on dishes like pancit luglug—rice noodles with egg and shrimp—and an avocado and radish salad topped with dilis, sun-dried, deep-fried anchovies. 419 W. 7th St., (213) 807-5341, ricebarla.com
Kuneho Austin. Celebrity chef Paul Qui has renamed and refashioned his flagship location as he humbly climbs back from an arrest last March for domestic abuse. Though the menu leans Japanese, Qui’s Filipino roots show in dishes like sisig, an “unconventional” pork stir-fry spiked with citrus and chiles. 1600 E. 6th St., (512) 436-9626, kunehoatx.com
Perla Philadelphia. Lou Boquila is reinterpreting the food he grew up with at this compact, six-month-old BYOB. He makes a pork adobo with brussels sprouts and a duck adobo with cauliflower and kabocha. But you can get lumpia—those popular meat-filled spring rolls—at Sunday’s family-style dinners. 1535 S. 11th St., (267) 273-0008