Celebrating Filipino-American History month, Lumpia Palooza returned to San Francisco for its third annual event on October 27, 2018.

Rachel Li

Having gone to an elementary school with a predominantly Filipino population, I have tried a fair share of lumpia and have fallen in love with this delicious fried food. Lumpia is the Filipino equivalent of spring rolls, consisting of a savory filling which tends to be a form of meat and some vegetables. As the name would suggest, lumpia was the focal point of Lumpia Palooza.

Twenty two restaurants and food trucks participated in Lumpia Palooza. As much as I would have liked to try every single item that each restaurant had to offer, both my stomach and wallet did not allow such a task. Here are the vendors and dishes from the festival that I did get to try, in addition to a peek into the events that took place at the festival, such as the Lumpia Rolling Demo and Lumpia Eating Contest.

The Sarap Shop

Rachel Li

The Sarap Shop is a food truck and catering company that offers comfort food with Filipino influences. It will be one of the vendors at the Golden State Warriors Chase Center when it opens in the 2019-20 season. There is no doubt as to why this is the case, as The Sarap Shop offers interesting fusions of Filipino dishes, from Dynamite Lumpia & Chicharon Nachos to Lady Luck Lumpia Chef Curry Style.

Both of these featured items looked delicious—however, I was intrigued by the Dynamite Lumpia & Chicharon Nachos and decided to order that. Initially, I thought that the cheese sauce and the tomato salsa would quickly turn the lumpia and the chicharon (fried pork rinds) soggy and detract from the taste. Boy, was I wrong.

The spice from the salsa and the creaminess of the cheese complimented the lumpia and brought the dish to the next level. It would have been even better if the bed of chips that the nachos were served on, were instead a bed of more of the delicious lumpia. Regardless, the Dynamite Lumpia & Chicharon Nachos was delicious.


Rachel Li

Orientex is a lumpia company which has been selling its products at grocery stores since the 1970s. Offering more traditional forms of lumpia such as pork and chicken, Orientex sticks with the timeless classic.

Here, I ordered the pork and chicken lumpia combo with its gourmet sawsawan (Filipino for “dipping sauce”). The lumpia was fairly traditional, however Orientex put a spin on the traditional sweet dipping sauce served alongside lumpia. Instead of a sweet sauce, the sawsawan was made with a garlic and vinegar base. Although I was first surprised by this sawsawan, I quickly grew to enjoy it as the vinegar enhanced the flavor from the meat filling.

Frozen Kuhsterd

Rachel Li

Frozen Kuhsterd is a frozen custard ice cream company that offers a variety of different flavors in a variety of forms, from scoops to ice cream bars. At Lumpia Palooza, Frozen Kuhsterd offered ice cream bars with Filipino spin, such as the Turon bar (turon is a dessert equivalent to lumpia with a banana filling topped with a caramel sauce) and the Ube Cake bar.

I got the Turon bar with a choice of ice cream flavor (I got cereal milk) dipped in a cinnamon white chocolate shell, and topped with a piece of turon and a white chocolate drizzle. Not only was the turon—made by The Lumpia Company—delicious, the cinnamon white chocolate shell was out of this world. Together, the Turon bar was the perfect sweet treat.

The Lumpia Company

Rachel Li

And last, but definitely not least, The Lumpia Company. By far the most innovative when it came to lumpia varieties. Owner Alex Retodo wanted to experiment with different fillings and dishes inside of the lumpia and definitely succeeded with his Bacon Cheeseburger, Chicken Tinola, Pork Sisig, and Elote lumpia varieties featured at Lumpia Palooza.

The Lumpia Company was so popular that it sold out of the Pork Sisig lumpia within two hours, and the Chicken Tinola shortly afterwards. Due to this, I ordered the Elote lumpia which is The Lumpia Company’s Mexican street corn lumpia.

Parting from the traditional idea of lumpia having a meat and veggie filling, the Elote was just veggies and corn in particular. At first I was hesitant to try it, but the Elote lumpia was one of the best things I have ever eaten. It had the perfect combination of textures, in addition to complimentary flavors from the savory filling and the sweet sauce drizzled on the outside. I am drooling just thinking about them again.

Lumpia Rolling Demo

Shalina Bulchandani

In addition to the wide variety of vendors at Lumpia Palooza, there was also a Lumpia Rolling Demo. Sponsored by The Lumpia Company, lumpia lovers were shown how to make Peanut Butter and Jelly Lumpia. Yes, you read that correctly. Peanut Butter and Jelly Lumpia.

Just like any other lumpia that The Lumpia Company offers, the owner couldn’t just stick to peanut butter and jelly as the filling. He also added bananas, strawberries, and peanuts. After a quick how to, audience members were invited to give rolling lumpia a try. To end the demo, The Lumpia Company owner Alex Retodo and another employee showcased their ability to roll 18 lumpia in a minute flat.

Lumpia Eating Competition

Rachel Li

Similar to the Lumpia Rolling Demo, the Lumpia Eating Competition was also sponsored by The Lumpia Company and featured an exclusive lumpia that was not sold at the event: Ruben Mac n’ Cheese. There were 13 lumpia enthusiasts ranging in age and gender who showed off their eating abilities. I was unable to get their names—however, there were two winners who each won t-shirts with “Eat Lumpia” on them and received tickets to next year’s Lumpia Palooza.

Rachel Li

If you were unable to attend this year’s Lumpia Palooza, you can still check out all the vendors individually—which I highly recommend. Lumpia Palooza is a great way to bond over wholesome food and try something outside of your comfort zone, especially if you have not tried Filipino food before or if you have never tried lumpia nachos or cheeseburger lumpia before. Lumpia Palooza was an amazing experience and I cannot wait to go back next year!