If anyone has said they didn’t like Filipino food, they’re probably lying. Nothing is better than the seemingly never ending amount of stir-fried shrimp and pork pancit noodles that you eat on Christmas. And while everyone loves pouring garlicky chicken adobo soy sauce over their rice, no one can have it every night. If you’ve never tried Filipino food, or you’ve started to get tired of stuffing your face with rice, here are nine spots to get your Filipino fix in California.
If you ever want to up your barbecue game, Park’s Finest is the place to be. Featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, Park’s Finest prides itself on its fusion. Don’t go without ordering the cornbread bibingka, where the cornbread transforms the sweet, traditional coconut rice cake into Filipino-American food for the soul.
While pancakes and bacon are the perfect things to wake up to on a Sunday morning, Filipino silog breakfasts of sinangag (rice) and itlog (eggs) make up the hot, salty, grease that you crave. Head over to Via Mare of America’s in Daly City and order the chicken sisig after your next questionable night out. A plate of crispy, sizzling chicken, coupled with a fried egg and garlic rice will cure any hangover.
Known as “The House That Built Fried Chicken,” Max’s Restaurant is a Filipino family favorite that has been serving their famous fried chicken in the Philippines since 1945. Now with locations all over California such as Glendale, Milpitas, and Daly City, this chain isn’t one to be missed. Another favorite is the oxtail stew with savory peanut sauce called Kare-Kare.
Ensaymadas are buttery pastries topped traditionally with sugar and queso de bola. The Ensaymada Project has taken these sweets to a whole new level with flavors such as ube (purple yam), green tea, red bean and mocha Nutella. The Ensaymada Project has outlets in Rancho Cucamonga, Los Angeles and Valencia, but you can also order them online.
5. Señor Sisig
Señor Sisig is a Filipino fusion food truck specializing in sisig, a dish traditionally made with the face of a pig. Highly recommended is the “señor” sisig burrito with adobo garlic rice, pico de gallo and cilantro cream sauce. The truck can be found wheeling around the Bay Area, amongst many others. Check their website for the day’s time and location.
Roline’s Uniquely Filipino serves the most authentic and traditional dishes that are perfect for every salu-salo. Don’t miss out on their halo-halo, a sweet creamy dessert with several mix-ins such as coconut jelly, condensed milk, and tapioca pearls that would be perfect after a long day of shopping at Vacaville. After all, who doesn’t love anything topped with ice cream?
This fast food restaurant calls itself “a Filipino approach to classic American fare.” The LA joint was founded by chef Warren Almeda who trained at the Culinary Institute of America. They manage to transform your typical LA dog into an oxtail chili-filled bomb. Also popular are their grilled cheeses with adobo and sisig.
When you think street food, you think tacos or doughnuts, or even tempura. Well, this this is about as close to Filipino street food as you’re going to get. This truck serves everything at $1 – even cheaper than what you could get it for in Manila. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, order the isaw, the grilled small pork intestines, or the balut, a fertilized duck egg with a broth-like soup that will leave you feeling warm and full.
Translated as “to add flavor,” this San Francisco spot was recently honored as a 2016 Michelin Guide Recommended Restaurant. Pampalasa offers the Philippine style of eating called kamayan where you eat with your hands and use banana leaves instead of plates. Take note, the Kamayan dinners are only by reservation.
Filipino food should no longer have to be a hidden gem. Hopefully, any one of these places will leave you feeling very, very busog (full).