Filipino food is one of the last Asian cuisines still not part of mainstream America. But a generation of talented Filipino-American chefs and food writers is working to push us beyond adobo and lumpia. They're injecting a freshness into the cooking of their moms and aunties, sourcing from farmers' markets and butchers who deal in sustainably raised meats.
Among them: restaurant owners and authors Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, and food bloggers Marvin Gapultos and Jun Belen, creating Filipino dishes for the 21st century. Here are four of this generation's recipes.
First, find a whole-animal butcher. You'll not only want a pork shoulder, also called pork butt; you'll need pork jowls, skinned. If you want, you can leave out the pork ears, but why not go ... whole hog? This is a meaty dish marinated overnight for optimum flavor, served with a big vat of steamed rice and icy cold beers. Get our Sisig (Filipino Sizzling Pork) recipe.
In the same way that a vinegary barbecue sauce or cabbage slaw complements fatty, rich Southern barbecue meat, so does any similar sour ingredient help balance the fatty fish and meats in Filipino food. Here, the tart juice from calamansi, or limes, does the balancing act with salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Get our Filipino Sour Soup recipe.
It's like American-style rice pudding, but arguably better. With the Filipino version, you infuse the milky, softened rice with melty chunks of bittersweet dark, high-quality chocolate, and you pour evaporated milk on top, dousing the dish in creamy sweetness. Get our Champorado recipe.
Here's an example of traditional home-cooked Filipino fare, the stuff served as an everyday dinner. Bits of pork belly and chiles flavor the okra, squash, eggplants, tomatoes. Consider it Filipino comfort food, yet it's a recipe culled from a Top Chef winner. Get our Pinakbet, Filipino Vegetable Stew recipe.
Original post by John BIrdsall on June 1, 2012; updated by Amy Sowder on July 13, 2016