This Thursday, May 23 is the official launch party for food truck owner, blogger and cookbook author Marvin Gapultos' The Adobo Road, a celebration open to the public through ticket purchase. The cookbook is a collection of recipes he compiled from family and research. It's part of his long-term goal to help bring Filipino food (awareness) to a wider audience.
"Writing the cookbook was something I've always wanted to do, even before the blog and the truck. It was one of those crazy things I wanted to do, but I never really thought I would," says Gapultos.
It can be argued that adobo, a popular stew found in countless iterations, is Filipino food at its essence.
"My grandmother lives with her two sisters. They all live under the same roof, but each one makes adobo differently. It's very fair to say that everybody has their own version of adobo," Gapultos says.
"We use a lot of vinegars or citrus juices in our adobos. We have sour soups and things like that. There's a nuance to sour ingredients. If you cook vinegar long enough like in an adobo, it becomes sweet and less acrid. It's a whole spectrum of sourness."
Sour flavors may be found in regions across the country, but they don't begin to represent their differences.
"The Bicol region in the Philippines uses a lot of spice and with that a lot of coconut milk to cool the spice. In the southern part, there are a lot of Muslim influence, so there's a lot of Muslim foods," Gapultos expalins. "In the north, where my family's from, bitterness is the flavor profile that we like. Bitter melon is in a lot of northern dishes."
Cooking Filipino food is a habit Gapultos picked up later in life after he realized that he would have to learn how to make his mother's adobo himself if he ever wanted to have it again. He soon saw another benefit of learning his family's recipes.
"I wanted to keep my grandmother's recipes going, because nobody would do it. My brothers weren't very interested in them. That became important for me, especially having a child of my own. It's just something I hope to pass down."
Admission ticket with cookbook is $30 per person; a dinner-only ticket is $20. The event begins at 6 p.m. A large part of the proceeds will benefit FilAm ARTS, a community arts organization that promotes Filipino culture. Tickets can be purchsed through Eventbrite.
Max's of Manila: 1600 South Azusa Ave., City of Industry; (626) 363-1766.
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