Learn sisig from silog at the 23rd Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture taking place this weekend, Saturday, Oct. 4 and Sunday, Oct. 5, at DTLA's Grand Park. That's Kapampangan for a sour snack or a cooking method of marinating meat in a sour liquid, and Tagalog shorthand for fried rice and egg accompaniments, respectively.
Because you're acquainted now with tsukemen well enough to prefer it over ramen. You've checked out khao mok gai and you caught up on the Vietnamese street food out in the San Gabriel Valley. If you're interested in Asian food here in L.A., your culinary command of the continent is hardly thorough without some awareness of Filipino food.
Organized by FilAm ARTS, the two-day event will feature a pretty comprehensive program of demos, contests and presentations at its Culinary Arts Pavilion. You can hear about dishes like bibingka (sweet rice cake) on Saturday or stuff your face with as much biscocho (a caramelized toast like biscotti) as you can muster at the eating contest going down on Sunday.
Although there are restaurants like Park's Finest at the edges of DTLA, Kusina Filipina in Glassell Park and La Rosa Cafe in Hollywood, Filipino food in L.A. is a lot harder to come by than, say, Korean or Chinese food.
"[Filipino cuisine] is very rooted in the household. It’s also very diverse because of that. Besides every region having a version of a dish, every cook and every family will have their own version of adobo," explains Marvin Galputos, author of The Adobo Road Cookbook. He suggests that older generations of Filipinos may have felt less compelled to promote the food outside of the community.
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You might consider then the culinary lineup at the festival as a really good crash course, from halo-halo (shaved iced with various toppings like jello) to balut (fertilized duck egg).
"This year, we've got [the food truck ] White Rabbit again, Curbside Cravings with its tocino burger and, for the first time, Vizzi Truck," says FilAm ARTS founding board director Winston Emano, who points to vendors like Creme Caramel as an example. "There is a firm nod to the traditional, but there's more than a passing nod given to the new schoolers."