Excited chatter drifted throughout the humid, midday air. Familiar karaoke tunes provided a lively ambiance to the day's festivities. All the while, Filipino flags fluttered gracefully in store windows and vendor booths. Like the rest of the bustling crowd, I couldn't wait to indulge in the experience. More specifically, I couldn't wait to get my hands on some Filipino food.

A few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to attend Undiscovered SF's Pilipinx American History Month function across the Bay. This year’s Culture Crawl took place in SOMA Pilipinas, SF’s very own Filipino cultural district. Local Pilipinx businesses, performers, and community members came together for an eventful celebration of art, food, and heritage. Speaking of Filipino food, I was lucky enough to sample from a couple of vendors whose dishes were too delectable not to highlight.

Lloyd Eats World

Roaming through the streets of SOMA, though exhilarating, was hungry work. So it's a good thing that lunch from Lloyd Eats World did not disappoint. As an adobo enthusiast, I naturally gravitated towards the Adobo Jam Burger. It had all the makings of an ideal burger—cloudlike brioche buns, a fresh slice of tomato, crisp lettuce, and a juicy patty. The salty pork adobo jam, though, further satisfied my savory cravings. The slight sweetness and creaminess from the caramelized onions, as well as the soy sauce infused jam, had me wolfing the morsel down in minutes.

After devouring that burger, I reached out to the founder to learn more about the business itself. Lloyd Bautista is his name, and Filipino fusion is his game. With menu items like loaded lumpia and tamarind-seasoned chicken sandwiches, he aims to incorporate his experiences as a Filipino-American into his food. Lloyd Eats World’s creations are also a reflection of the diverse cuisines Bautista grew up with. By tinkering with the menu for several years, he found he could best represent his cultural culinary influences through burgers and sandwiches, leading him to where he is today. From what I’ve tasted, I believe this pop-up kitchen is going to be something big.

#SpoonTip: Keep up with @lloydeatsworld on Instagram to get a sneak peek of where the next pop-up will be held.

Hella Halo

I'm not exaggerating when I say the weather was blazing that day. Thankfully, Hella Halo's twist on a Filipino treat was there to help beat the heat. The "What It Dew" halo-halo was the first item that caught my eye. Inspired by honeydew boba drinks, this icy dessert was light, refreshing, and—despite the business's motto "not your Lola's halo-halo"—oh-so nostalgic. Memories of summer days with my family flooded my mind with each spoonful. The sweet fruity notes melded seamlessly with the flavors of coconut jelly, flan, and palm fruit. Truly, paradise in a cup.

Pipo Carrasca, Hella Halo’s founder, started this Sacramento-based food truck from the ground up in 2015. From a simple idea to a full-scale operation, innovating on this classic dessert over time has led to the addition of flavors like hapa (strawberry) and matcha. Hella Halo has since used social media to grow a supportive customer base within and beyond the Pilipinx community today. The hype is definitely well-deserved, and, needless to say, I’m a fan! I can't wait to try the rest of the menu at this business's next Bay Area pop-up.

#SpoonTip: Even if you're not a big dessert person, Hella Halo's Cold Br-ube is sure to satisfy any iced coffee fanatic.

Catch both Hella Halo and Lloyd Eats World in and around NorCal to taste their Filipino-inspired treats for yourself. Also, shoutout to the other local Pilipinx vendors that participated in the Culture Crawl. Although I’m bummed I didn’t get to hit every stall, I’m (impatiently) waiting for PAHM to roll around again next year.