Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was pretty lucky to have Goldilocks, Red Ribbon, Jollibee, and Max’s among the Asian markets that were keen on providing the Filipino ingredients needed to make Filipino food. The accessibility of Filipino food in the Bay is so prevalent. Thanks to shows like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods, Filipino food has drawn some audience attention from cultured foodies worldwide. Despite its popularity among our kind, it has never garnered the attention from non-Filipinos like Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian have.
Fast forward to last month, my friend is having her birthday at a bar in Oakland. Two of her hip, y-t friends are talking about the best food they know. Low and behold, they bring up how obsessed they are with FOB Kitchen and Lucky 367. It hasn’t been the 1st time either, I’ve recently had a couple of non-Asian friends ask me if I’d be down to go to Undiscovered SF’s Filipino Food Crawl and pop-up dinners. I knew Filipino food was in….but it really is IN right now. Here is a must watch list of shows featuring Filipino chefs and restaurants moving the culture to mainstream:
Eater, the popular go-to website and newsletter for foodies, recently produced a Filipino food web series called Halo Halo with Francesca Manto. Halo Halo currently has 8 episodes featuring various cities like LA, Seattle, Washington D.C. and chefs who are shifting Filipino food culture in the US. My personal favorites are the Salmon Sinigang at Seattle’s Pike Place Market and learning about the history of Max’s Restaurant (where my Filipino fried chicken fans at?!) and how it came to the US. Watch the series on YouTube here.
You may know First We Feast’s other popular food series like Hot Ones and Sean in the Wild. The Burger Show doesn’t feature Filipino food per say, but its host is Alvin Cailan, founder and chef of the incredibly popular Eggslut. Starting in Feb. 2018, The Burger Show is now in its 3rd season. Cailan not only highlights the most insane burgers in the world, but he also does it with the coolest guests like Seth Rogen, Takashi Murakami, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’s Lana Condor. You can watch it on the First We Feast YouTube Channel.
Strictly Dumpling is a popular YouTube channel at 2.5 million that explores and reviews cuisine from all walks of life. Mike Chen of Strictly Dumpling particularly does an amazing job with his Filipino food reviews. He recently launched a Jollibee video that is currently at 1.2 million views called “BEST Fast Food! JOLLIBEE vs. MCDONALD’S IN THE PHILIPPINES”.
In the past year, some Filipino street food he’s explored were in Tagaytay, Manila, Cebu City, and Binondo. You can binge watch the playlist right here.
From the director and producers of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and “Chef’s Table”, their new Netflix series “Street Food” is a definite must watch. This season, they’re featuring nine episodes in nine different Asian cities – Cebu City is one of them! It’s pretty exciting to see what the narrative of Filipino food will look like in the next couple of years! Watch the official trailer on Netflix’s YouTube Channel. It premieres on Friday, April 26th.
Have any favorite Filipino food spots or chefs you’d like to recommend? Share them in the comments below!