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January 15, 2008

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Correction-- sayote (chayote) is a fruit ;) Its best application is as an extender for apples in pie, plus a lot of sugar and apple pie spice (half-kidding).

I'm glad there's a good Filipino restaurant there. Horribly dated signage though :D I think I've had squid adobo just once. The most common versions here-- swimming in an ocean of its own ink-- just does not look appealing.

http://www.bistroluneta.com/

If you're ever up in the Bay Area and don't mind upscale.

Judging by the Filipino food you enjoy, I have to say you're much more pinoy than I am!
I eat all of those stuff but I can't imagine myself enjoying it as much as you did. =)

Glad there's a nice Pinoy resto near you! I went once to a Pinoy resto in New Jersey and another in Queens. Of course, the first to try is usually the chicken adobo. Boy! were they baaad!(bland to a regular adobo eater) :-( But the Pinoys were there supporting these restos. I said to myself, they might be relatives of the owners. Is it because New York State is farther than that of California to the Philippines? I was thinking about the availability of Pinoy ingredients....

i've heard some bad things about local Filipino restaurants around here...but i'm glad i'm not the only person who compares someone else's Filipino food to their mother's! i usually get disappointed with other people's dishes at potlucks because of this tendency.

as for overcooked shrimp; my mom has a tendency to overcook shrimp...bleh! but fried tuyo...my sister will come home from college 2 hours away just for breakfast tuyo.

you don't need a finger, you need proper lip-pointing skills..."Doon...doon!!!"

a random thought to ponder: why hasn't Anthony Bourdain, fan of organ meat and random exotic foodstuffs, made a show spotlighting the Philippines?

Your foam finger made me crack up.

As for the Philippines, it just doesn't get that much press. Plus with the Spanish influence, we don't on the surface look as "exotic" as the other Asian cultures.

I found a place in the greater Orlando area called Mindanao cafe. Only went there once for dinoguan, which was good, but nothing compares to Lola's cooking. What's nifty about it is that one Saturday a month, they roast lechon in the parking lot.

Amen, brother-man! Great observation and review! I was feeling jaded, to, at how many more Viet and Thai places there are compared to Filipino. Thai is all the rage in Phoenix, and Vietnamese is catching up. There are even fusion joints that combine every SE Asian nation EXCEPT Filipino! The Filipino joints out here seem to be fleeting, and even if they stick around, their owners seem to change, which means huge inconsistencies. I hope one opens up out here that has great food AND sticking power!

Glad that you have a good Filipino restaurant near you! I always compare restaurant food to my dad's cooking, and his is always better (at least compared to the places in Chicago). I had some really good sinigang in Vegas once, can't remember the name of the restaurant though...

Right on! We really do not get the exposure that we deserve. Filipino food is one of the best because its simple and yet flavorful. Maybe its also the reason why we dont get much press because its simple food. Plus for the same price as a BigMac you get far more food for to-go

I guess I am just lucky that I live very close to a lot of Filipino restaurants to be choosy where I eat. I have my favorites already - Gerry's Grill, Magic Wok and Salo Salo Grill. The last two for selected items on the menu. Gerrys for everything. For "turo-turo" style its Pinoy Bistro. The breakfast is so good. The only thing I will not eat in Filipino restaurants because I tend to compare it to my Lola's cooking is leche flan. Yes, my entire family are leche flan snobs hahaha. One look at it we know if its worth trying or not

Now that's whaddamtalkinbout! Awesome write-up. Awesome food.

Liked this line the best:

"Considering my penchant for unfairly comparing things to my mother's cooking, this probably wasn't a good thing for JoJo's."

Way to set up how good the place is.

I'm half Filipino and I like you compare others Filipino food to my mother's. For me there is no comparison...then I went to the Philippines on vacation in November and I ate some of my aunties and uncle's food and I'd hate to say it, but they surpass my mother's cooking. Maybe it was because there's local ingredients that you can't get here in the Midwest (Nebraska).

I'm so glad you found a taste of home!

To me, grizzled old Filipinos smoking is a comforting sight. It reminds me of family gatherings; all that was missing was drunken gambling and threats of violence. Good times. - Indeed! :D

I meant to add that that is a scene that can be easily replicated in the Caribbean as well.

I'm glad you finally made your way into a Filipino restaurant. I'm like you in that I compare every Filipino restaurant to my Mom's cooking; yet, I have found some real pearls out there. My favorites are Alejandro's and Barrio Fiesta, both in Eagle Rock and Magic Wok in Artesia. :)

I've been to 2 Filipino turo-turo restaurants here in Virginia, the food and the place are just okay, not great. There are a few more I haven't been to because they are at least an hour away and because they have karaoke at night. I also can't understand why there aren't more Filipino restaurants (not turo-turo) in the Washington, D.C. area. Maybe I should open one.:)

Maybe VNese food is more popular b/c it tastes better. Hoooo! I kid! I kid! You know I love you Marvin! :P

I've always wondered that myself. Do you think it's b/c since Filipinos speak English and are viewed as more assimilated, that applies to food as well? I mean, only in the last few decades has ethnic food seemed to be trendy. So Filipinos would just eat American food? Or b/c Filipinos speak English, they had options of working and don't have to open small businesses or restaurants just to give themselves employment? I really have no idea!

I think you might enjoy this, it's a hoot! http://youtube.com/watch?v=H_UxyQ7cb3I

Hmm...then again, since you don't speak Tagalog, maybe not. But I bet your mom will! ;-)

WC, I think most authorities on this subject (there aren't many of them, btw) think it's the latter.

But, talking about fusion food, many people are now saying that Filipino food is probably one of the earliest known "exemplars" of fusion cuisines, that is before the concept became "trendy". Avocado and corn ice-cream avant garde? Ha! We've been eating those for ages! Maybe we were just ahead of our time ;)

i agree with you that filipino restaurants abroad are always lagging behind our SE counterparts..it frustrates me coz most often people i encounter are either absolutely unaware about filipino cuisine or either have an image that we have the most "disgusting food" in Asia (oh i hate them!!!)but everytime im given opportunity i try to prove them wrong..in France its only Vietnamese restaurants that are thriving in here i've heard that there used to be a good Pinoy restaurant but it closed down already.. too bad never had the chance to try..anyways reading your post gave me some reflection that i should try to feature more often pinoy dishes in my blog :-)

ps, love the photo of your "squid adobo" it reminds me of my fave sci-fi movie..hehehehe :-)

I think part of the reason Filipino food has not caught up in the food scene is that it suffers from an identity crisis. If you go either to an Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese or Thai restaurant, it is easy to tell each cuisine apart by the dominant flavors. With Filipino food, the flavors range from Spanish, Latino, American and Chinese (arroz caldo, lechon, sarciado, longaniza, pancit, barbecue, etc). The strange thing is --- if we go back to the really authentic Filipino food like ihaw (grilled), paksiw, sinigang, ginisa, etc. 1] it may not be fancy enough even for Filipinos to go to the restaurant and 2]the food is so simple that the ingredients have to be extremely, extremely fresh. Lastly, the Philippine government has not promoted Filipino food abroad as much as the other Asian countries.

I've always wondered why there's a dearth of Filipino restaurants even in communities with large Filipino populations. It's the same thing in Seattle. When I was in college, there was this restaurant in the U-District called Marco's where you could get chicken adobo and rice for $3.95--amazing stuff. Sadly it's no longer there and I haven't found an eatery to replace it :(. (Although now I actually know how to make adobo:).)

Thanks for the clarificaton that sayote is a fruit, Manggy. Sayote pie? Hmmmm.

Thanks for the tip krq. I don't mind upscale at all. It'd be nice to see an upscale filipino place.

Hi Ruy. I doubt I am any more pinoy than you are. I probably enjoy the food more because I'm still discovering it;)

That could be it bernadette. I'm assuming there might be more pinoys in California than New York, but that's just a guess.

Hello Janice! I was actually gonna make a joke about lip-pointing, but I didn't know if anyone would get it! As for Bourdain in the Philippines, he should definitely make a stop there. Hopefully he could put a new perspective on Filipino food instead of the usual segment on balut that outsiders like to focus on.

Hi Jikuu. I had more plans for that foam finger, I just didn't have time to complete my zany idea. And you probably have a point with the "Spanish Influence" thing. But I'm sure as you already know, there's more to us than the spanish influence.

Damn those fusion restaurants, Julie! Damn them! How dare they exclude Filipino food!;) Seriously though, I still think that in time, even though it's taken forever, that we'll have more Filipino restaurants.

Hi Ruth! We're always so critical of others' cooking aren't we? I guess it's good though that our parents are good cooks.

Thanks for the tips Raissa, I'll definitely look those restaurants up. I've already heard many good things about Magic Wok, especially from elmomonster.

Hey elmo. I did think the food here was good for what it was. Keep in mind it's a turo-turo joint. I am looking forward to repeat visits though:)

Thanks for visiting Cat! They've got Asians in Nebraska? I'm kidding. Anyways, I agree with you about the cooking in the Philippines. When I was there last, the flavors blew me away. Even in California, I can't quite find all the ingredients I'm looking for.

Cynthia, me and you should open a Caribbean/Filipino place that caters to smokers and gamblers! ;)

Hello pleasure palate. I'm glad you brought up Eagle Rock as that is also relatively close to where I work. Maybe I can work in a lunch at one of those places.

oggi, you should definitely open your own resto! If you ever do, I'd definitely make plans to visit D.C.

Ha W.C! VNese food tastes good, but is not better than Filipino food!! :P You also bring up some very valid points about Filipinos speaking english. That does make a lot of sense.

Katrina. You are the best! Since you've posted that clip I've probably watched it 10+ times. I'm not exagerrating! I don't speak Tagalog, but I do understand bits and pieces. And I still know unintentional comedic brilliance when I sees it! I thought it was a fake skit at first, but that guy is completely serious! His accent is so terrible. I'm glad to say that when I attempt to speak tagalog, my accent is not that bad. I did some googling on the gentleman in that clip and I guess he's some sort of model in the Philippines? Please tell me everyone there laughs at him as much as I do.

Here, here Ed! We are the OG avo and corn ice-cream eaters! You are completely correct in saying we are the first of fusion cuisines.

Thanks very much Joe! I will look into Pondahan.

Hi dhanggit. I agree with you about the perception some people have about our food. From what I've seen on TV here in the states, whenever Pinoy food is talked about it centers on Balut. And while Balut is a part of our culture, that's not all there is to our food. Sadly, images of balut leave a lasting impression on outsiders that isn't always a good impression. I just think there needs to be more focus on other things.

Very good points Leah. But despite the outside influences, our food is still our food, and people need to get past these perceptions. I also agree with your point about simplicity/freshness. But with local, organic, all-natural eating being the hot trend nowadays, Filipino food should be able to logically fit into those categories of simple and fresh ingredients.

Hi Pat! I guess that's the key to Filipino food. Just learn to make it yourself! And you're doing a great job in promoting some aspects of it as well on your blog and through your cookbook!

About lip-pointing: I was floored when I saw two Navajo women lip-pointing a couple of years ago. I had to ask them, "Whoa, you do the lip-pointing too?" One of them said, "Yeah, finger-pointing's just too rude!"

I learned about that video from a friend -- yes, people here find it funny too. I didn't know who that guy was till I Googled him. From what I gather, he's half-Filipino and works as a model in the US and here, as well. He's not particularly well-known, and I have no idea WHY that video was made or what it's for! Hilarious, though, isn't it?! I thought you'd enjoy it. :-)

What a coincidence -- soon after your own post, my friend posted about a Filipino/Thai restaurant in New York. It's called Kuma Inn. (How Pinoy is that pun?! ;-)) And happily, it's NOT a turo-turo! The chef is half-Filipino, half-Thai, and the food is well-reviewed by critics. You can read about it here: http://mywanderlust.multiply.com/journal/item/21/Finally_Kuma_Inn

Make sure you watch the video in the comments section, where the chef talks about the food. You know, I do believe Filipino cuisine is FINALLY reaching the tipping point. I'm fine with it not being very authentic, for now. That's usually how it starts, anyway.

Have you ever been to the Filipino restaurants down in Cerritos? I'm interested to see what you think of them.

And speaking of asian fusion... I've been Typhoon in the Santa Monica airport (http://www.typhoon.biz/) a couple of times and have yet to try any of their filipino dishes. It all seems too "fusiony" and not at all like mom's.

hey! i just happened to meander on you site and think it absolutely fantastic that you are willing and over more yearning to discover Filipino food... i grew up in Geneva, Switzerland and am one of very few of my generation and status (abroad-born pinay) to talk tagalog and love filipino food (including sisig, pinakbet and balut)...
over here, you don't have one single flippino restaurant.. the reason is that EVERYONE knows how to cook so why go out and pay for it?
only when we go home to the Phils do we go out and eat...
cheers!

Jojos lechon is been very dedicated to provide the taste of difference in every serving and no wonder why Filipinos in United States have fun here. the fusion of various Filipino Specialties as well as their services really make difference. hats off to everyone who works here. You are really paving a great contribution in spreading Filipino's culinary pride! More power!

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