Whenever I see an article like this titled “Filipino Cuisine Poised to Break through Gastro Ceiling,” I think “yet again?” Over twenty years, I ate at Cafe Glenda on Solano Avenue in Berkeley and thought, “Has Filipino food finally made it?” Efren wrote about Filipino Food becoming the In Thing four years ago. A few years later came a discussion on how and why Filipino food was unassimilated. So what’s new and different this time?
I think that a couple things are different now. Vendors like the Adobo Hobo and many other Filipino restaurants have shown that Filipino food can be a viable option. Filipino food is getting buzz at places the the Winter Fancy Food show, and a product line like Kusina ni Maria (Maria’s Kitchen) is now available in the Whole Food Markets grocery chain. Even more extreme Filipino foods like Balut are being served in restaurants.
Filipino Food is also adapting to deal with mainstream American trends. Chefs have been experimenting with adaptions to Filipino food to make it healthier. There is now Vegan Filipino food, a concept which I still have problems wrapping my mind around.
Will Filipino food make it? It would be great to see it happen and give Filipino Entrepreneurs and Filipinos Americans in general more exposure. Not far from where I live in Silicon Valley, there are Filipino restaurants that are making it and that I go to periodically. I think that’s a positive sign, but I for now, I am going to wait and see before declaring Filipino cuisine as having it made it into the American Mainstream.