It seemed to happen overnight. One day we're going to the local turo-turo with our parents eating Adobo and Sinigang buffet-style while our non-Pinoy friends watch horrified and before you know it, celebrities like Andrew Zimmern are lauding our food as "the next big thing". It's a great time to be a lumpia-eating, balut-slupring, San Miguel-chuggin' Pinoy food lover especially with many of our restaurants penetrating the mainstream market like a shot of spicy vinegar. Industry giants hailing from the culinary meccas of the States have been visited by Instagram-toting trendsetters. But how about everyone else? Will Filipino food be just as popular in America's heartland or up in Alaska (do they even sell patis there?!). Yana Gilbuena, the travelling chef behind the SALO Series has been on tour to spread peace, love, and fried rice, hosting a pop-up dinner in a different state each week and I managed to snag an interview during her Chicago stop.
As with any movement during its heady, adrenaline-fueled days, the Filipino Food one is interesting to see especially since there is no one definition for it. Will the rest of America warmly embrace our food as cosmpolitan foodies have? Or will factors such as shame, a lack of community support, and a people used to assimilating drown it out? It certainly is the time for Filipino-Americans to define the movement as they see fit. Read on and ask: "What direction should the movement take? And are we really the next big thing?"
Paolo Espanola’s culinary background is as varied as the dim sum menu in Chinatown. From the grilled meats and saffron rice of his birthplace Saudi Arabia, to the fish frys of his collegiate years in the Midwest, and to his Chinese-Filipino background, Paolo enjoys sharing food from all over the world (except for maggots….anything but maggots). He believes that food is the one common language we all share and that total strangers can bond over a shared meal without speaking a word. When he isn’t busy staring at Excel sheets for his accounting day job, he’s buried deep inside a cookbook or catering events. Rarely making the same thing twice and having lost count of the fried chicken he’s burned, Paolo believes dining is the only true sport he’ll ever excel at.
Discover other similar posts on Paolo's blog.
Photo credit: http://errantdiner.com/2014/07/21/salo-chicago/