Filipino

When it comes to Filipino food, there isn’t much selection in Los Angeles. Though more than most cities, my go to Filipino restaurants are slim to none. You have Max’s, though very much a chain, still produce pretty good fried chicken and traditional dishes. One little gem I found in Hollywood is LA Rose Cafe. It is a not so small, not so big Filipino restaurant that doesn’t look like one on the inside or outside. The name hints a small breakfast joint, and the inside looks somewhat like a hotel lobby. The food though, was classic and hit the spot.

To me, tocino and garlic fried rice is comfort food. Though I didn’t grow up in a Filipino home, I still had meat and rice almost daily. The sweet caramelized port goes so well with the garlic rice. The tomato and onion vinegar slaw helped cut down the richness of the pork so perfectly. I just wish it had eggplant in it as well. The egg, mixed in with the rice was a perfect “breakfast” component. This was classically prepared and oh so delicious.

For our “lunch” portion, I had the classic pork adobo. I remember as child, my grandpa would make this whole vat of chopped up pork bits, simmering in a bath of soy sauce and sugar. The end result was a seemingly endless amount of pork and rice. This dish was just like that. The pork wasn’t dry at all form the long cooking process. It kinda just pulled away from each other. It seemed like it was missing something. This dish did need a Korean element — kimchi.

As a treat, we finished off with their bread pudding. This was an impressive and delicious bread pudding to say the least. It was perfect! Soft custard inside, nice crisp crust outside, caramel all over, and strawberries on top – scrumptious. Did I also mention, no raisins FTW! With each bite, I made sure to have some caramel on it. Instead of having whipped cream as the “lube”, it sat on top of a pool of pudding/custard. It was all so sweet and wonderful.

LA Rose Cafe was affordable, and the experience was just pleasant. The servers were so nice and friendly and I just felt comfortable. The decor and design of it all needed a little updating, but I think it gave it a nice charm. I am a sucker for meat and rice, and LA Rose Cafe gave me what I wanted.

LA Rose Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Salo Salo – Lechon is All I Need

by Franklin on June 4, 2013

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.

Salo Salo Grill on Urbanspoon

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The White Rabbit Truck was a pleasant surprise.  I heard about them a lot online and in the media, so I was excited to try their food.  This truck, a Filipino fusion truck, serves their take on tacos and burritos as well as rice bowls. A fan or Asian fusion with Mexican, I was inclined to try their most famous item on the menu, the pork sisig burrito.

The pork sisig burrito had garlic rice, pork sisigs, egg, and cheese.  This was a perfect balance of flavors and textures.  The pork was nice and tender.  Their pork sisig is deep fried pork belly, fried in onions and jalapenos.  The almost runny egg and cheese was a perfect creamy and velvety texture. Their garlic rice was perfect as well.  My gripe about some burritos is that the tortilla is not soft. I liked the tortilla from the sisig burrito — it was soft and chewy, almost silky.  This burrito was perfect because each individual item inside the burrito was perfect — together, it was exponentially more delicious.

The White Rabbit Truck offers a food eating challenge, which they are known for.  The burrito is almost 2ft long, and contains, 6 eggs, 3lbs of any choice of meat, 6 scoops of rice, 12 cheese slices, wrapped in 6 tortillas. That equates to 6 pounds! — Definitely bigger than my single tortilla burrito.  Here is the video of Adam Richman from Man v. Food on the White Rabbit Truck. Watch to see them make this monster, and see someone eating it. Does he actually finish it?

Honestly, I was happy to eat the burrito (the regular one of course).  Each bite gave me a smile.  Though I only had the normal one, one day, I shall attempt and possibly finish the challenge. Am I crazy? Maybe a little. Until then, the regular one will do for me.  Just like the chef on the logo, White Rabbit Truck is a thumbs up!

White Rabbit Fusion Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Truck Norris – Not Even Chuck Norris Can Help You

by Franklin on November 23, 2011

Truck Norris, an obvious play on words from Chuck Norris — It is an awesome name for a food truck.  I don’t know what Chuck Norris has to do with food trucks, Filipino Asian fusion even, but I guess it is catchy and epic. Makes you think that Truck Norris can count to infinity twice, or that the food can cure cancer.  At any rate, the name gives great anticipation for what the food will be like.  In all honesty,  the food doesn’t even come close the the epic-ness of Chuck Norris.

I ordered the bbq short rib bowl.  It had bbq short rib, rice, shredded cabbage, and kimchi.  For 9 bucks, I was expecting an actual meal, or at least some kind of sustenance.  The bowl had a thin layer of rice, bbq beef bits, cabbage, and kimchi.  Right when I got it, I knew it wasn’t worth it. Though the short rib was tasty, there just wasn’t enough rice to enjoy it with.  If it were a mound of hot rice to enjoy it with, I’d be happy.  Something about the dish wasn’t fulfilling.

I still don’t get the name.  Does Chuck Norris like Filipino Asian fusion?  I don’t see the relation.  I guess it’s just a cool name for a food truck.  But really, what good is a name when the food disappoints? I enjoyed Tapa Boy because the prices were reasonable and the food was good.  Yeah, I only tried one of the items on the menu, but according to them, it is one of their popular ones.  If they can’t get that right, not even Chuck Norris can help them.

Truck Norris on Urbanspoon

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Tapa Boy – Filipino Food Truck Hits Home

by Franklin on May 8, 2011

Filipino food is very special to me, and I love it.  Anything with meat and rice, I love. When I had the chance to try Tapa Boy, Filipino cuisine food truck, I jumped on it.  In all honesty, anything with meat and rice, I can eat it for days. That would be a big weakness of mine.  To me, meat and rice is lunch or dinner, but for the guys at Tapa Boy, it’s breakfast.

I tried the Tapa Bowl, Sinangag Itlog Beef.  It comes with a bed of garlic rice, beef tender loin in a teriyaki type sauce, pickled veggies and an egg on top. This thing really felt like home cooking to me.  As a kid, I would come home, and all there would be is rice in the cooker, and a pot full of beef or pork.  I’d just mix the two with some soy sauce and I was set.  This dish really reminded me of that.  And the runny egg on top, well, you guys should already know how I feel about that.  I love it!  It was delicious.  The pickled veggies really rounded out the flavors well.

Upon picking up my order, I was handed one of their fried dessert plates.  50% of me knew it was a mistake, 50% of me said, “oh free dessert?”  After correcting the clerk’s mistake, I had regretted not ordering one. The desserts are fried egg roll wrappers, wrapped in some kind of banana custard or flan.  It looked delicious, and I would probably try that next time I see these guys.

Tapa Boy found their niche in the food truck game.  They do home cooking of meat and rice and it truly hits home.

Tapa Boy (Food Truck) on Urbanspoon

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