Most people don’t appreciate Filipino food enough. Of all the Asian cuisine, Filipino food is the most underrated, and for me, is one of my favorites and my least favorites. I know that makes little sense, but bear with it. As Korean, Thai, Chinese, and Japanese food all have their signature items, so does Filipino food. Often grease laden, soy sauce and fish sauce and pastes of some kind are nearly in every dish. Sometimes though, Filipino food is comfort food for me. Visiting my soon to be in-laws during celebrations and holidays, Filipino food is always there. A once foreign genre of food is now something I look forward to all the time. Salo Salo in Walnut is my place to go for some tasty Filipino food.
My favorite thing of all time is lechon. Something about fried pork with skin is amazing. The meat becomes super tender and crispy, and the skin turns into candy. Salo Salo’s lechon sa kawali was just what I was looking for. The wok fried pork with crackling rind was a perfect thing. Definitely not the healthiest thing in the world, but it is a treat. Eating with adobo rice, a stir fried rice with pork and chicken adobo bits, I was completely satisfied. Served with Mang Tomas, a peppery lechon sauce, I was satisfied.
Pinakbet, on paper sounds like an off mix — A mix of vegetables in shrimp paste with pork and shrimp. Honestly though, this stuff with some rice is like comfort food. With bitter melon, string beans, squash, and eggplant, it is more of a vegetable stew than anything else. What makes this dish for me is the fishy shrimp paste mixed in with the eggplant. The squash is nice, but the eggplant to me is the main part of this dish. One word of advice is to not eat the bitter melon. It is called bitter melon for a reason, and I can tell you first hand that it is not meant to be eaten. My curiosity got the best of me — that thing stung my taste buds. I can see though how that hint of bitter melon in the broth helps round out the flavors well. Homemade is always best, but theirs was quite close to it.
Salo Salo is your every day Filipino food restaurant. It reminded me a lot of what Thai Original BBQ is for Thai food. It isn’t your hole in the wall kind of joint, but good food with nice portions is what you get. Whenever I feel like dining out Asian, Filipino food rarely comes to mind. It’s always sushi, Korean BBQ, or Thai food. When I do crave Filipino food though, I always have to have it — I can’t go on without it. Sometimes, it’s the most comforting food of all.