Almost everyone in America knows about Filipino food and how great it tastes, but many Pinoys like myself wonder why it still hasn’t made it into mainstream culture like Indian or Chinese cuisines. In a recent article from the Los Angeles Times entitled Filipino food: Off the menu explores why Filipino dishes have not assimilating into mainstream culture and thriving only in home kitchens in LA. For instance, this past January’s Iron Chef Battle with White House Chef Pasia Comerford only had one dish that was Filipino influenced upon the request of her partner for the battle, Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Each of the Fil-Am chefs in the picture posted above share their experiences as American chefs in some of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles who grew up appreciating Filipino food but are unable to present it to the America public. Andre Guerrero had put the traditional Filipino parfait halo-halo and an upscale version of his classic chicken adobo on the menu at his earlier restaurant Max, and milkshakes made from the purple yam ube are a favorite at the Oinkster.
“The food is so regional, we don’t have one unifying dish,” says Marvin Gapultos, a Filipino American who runs the Los Angeles food blog Burnt Lumpia. “There’s adobo, but there’s about 7,000 ways to make it.”
This snippet from the article pretty much sums up my thoughts on why Filipino dishes struggle to assimilate into mainstream American culture. Filipino food is very diverse and has a distinct taste from regions. For instance, a dish from Manila will taste very different from dishes from the Visayas. The topic of assimilating Filipino food is one thing that bothered me about this article. It would be great if Filipino food would become the next popular ethnic cuisine in the US and the world but at what cost?