Filipino food may soon be mainstream in U.S.
When immigrants leave their native countries so they can pursue their careers in the U.S. – and in the process, send money back home to their loved ones – family is almost certainly the component of life they missed the most about the comforts of home.
But in the conversation for the joys of life that immigrants long for the most is home cooking, be it Mexican, Indian, Thai or Chinese.
While many of these options are available in the U.S., some are less popular than others, such as Filipino fare. But according to various news outlets, Filipino cuisine is all the rage in 2013.
As noted recently by the website The Food Channel, “Today” show contributor and Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern recently penned a blog posting about Filipino food becoming more commonplace in the U.S., both among individual consumers and in restaurants.
“It’s just starting,” said Zimmern. “I think it’s going to take another year and a half to get up to critical mass, but everybody loves Chinese food, Thai food, Japanese food, and it’s all been exploited. The Filipinos combined the best of all of that with Spanish technique.”
He added that between now and 2015, he wouldn’t be surprised if Filipino food earns the distinction as the country’s “next big thing.”
Filipinos attempt to make cuisine more easily recognizable
BBC News reports that there’s been a concerted effort among Filipinos, both in the U.S. and abroad, to make Filipino cuisine more mainstream.
Rolando Laudico, a chef based in Manila, told the international news source that he and his wife are determined to take food that’s typically only found in the Philippines to a wider audience.
“We base our flavors on traditional Philippine flavors, and we get inspired by them,” said Laudico. “We innovate, we do our own style, and we make it accessible for foreigners.”
He added that because Filipino food is among the most flavorful varieties of food in the world, clearly taste is not the reason it’s not more popular than it could be. He suggests that its unpopularity may derive from Filipinos not giving it the respect that it deserves. As such, dinner hosts should not apologize to their guests when dishes like adobo, sinigang, lumpia and pancit on the menu, which people have been given to do for many years.
Perhaps one of the best U.S. cities to frequent for fine Filipino cuisine is Chicago. Recently, USA Today did a feature on Filipino restaurants in the Windy City, which is increasingly becoming a major metropolitan area for residents native to the Philippines. Restaurants like Meral’s Kitchen, Isla Filipino Restaurant, Little Quiapo Restaurant and Ruby’s Fast Food are all located within the city’s borders and feature dishes that exemplify Filipino cooking, including empanadas, barbeque pork and various chicken dishes.
The paper further notes that the many of these dishes are extremely affordable. For instance, at one restaurant located near Chicago’s historic Lincoln Square, lunch plates are no more than $5.99 on weekdays during the traditional lunch-dining hours.
How quickly Filipino food becomes synonymous with Chinese food in terms of its pervasiveness is anyone’s guess, but if it bears any resemblance to the rate at which the Filipino population has increased in the U.S., it could be soon. According to the Census Bureau, Filipinos are the second-largest Asian group in the country, totaling 3.4 million people based on 2010 estimates.