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Jo’s Favorites:

I am often asked, “What Filipino other cookbooks should I buy, Jo?” Here you go.

The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey-From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond – Marvin Gapultos

This is Marvin Gapultos’ first book, and I appreciate it immensely. Why? This is a book written by a Filipino-American. The Filipino-American experience of someone bred Stateside is different from someone who was born and raised in the Philippines. Because of this, flavor profiles, techniques, ingredients are similar, but not identical. Marvin takes his know-how and experiences as a blogger and food truck owner from So Cal and puts them in easy-to-follow recipes, such as chicken adobo pot pies and salmon and miso sinigang. If you are looking for a fun book to cook from, “The Adobo Road” is one to check out.

7000 Islands: A Food Portrait of the Philippines – Yasmin Newman

I interviewed Yasmin Newman a few years ago as she was touring her first book “7000 Islands: A Food Portrait of the Philippines.” The Australian-Filipina author and photographer gave me a new view of Filipino food as she lived with marrying two cultures in her life. She told me that the presence of Filipino food was nearly invisible in Australia, so she took it upon herself to change that. Inspired by our correspondence, I was elated when I saw her book sold at the National Bookstore in Manila in 2014. I grabbed it off the shelf immediately and brought it home with me. Her book features over 100 recipes that reflect the unique point of view of a Filipina living in Australia. She shared her lamb adobo recipe with me during our communication. I saw how her recipes were influenced by the ingredients she grew up with, lamb being a protein used regularly in Australia. Watch out for Yasmin’s sweet tooth as Filipino desserts like leche flan, our beloved caramel custard, and turon, the addictive banana lumpia make appearances. Stellar photography and lovely commentary to match.

Spoiler alert: though her 2013 hardcover is no longer being printed, she now has a new run of her book titled, “7000 Islands: Cherished Recipes and Stories from the Philippines” in paperback form.

Memories of Philippine Kitchens – Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan

There have been days where I just left this next to my bed. This was my first Filipino cookbook purchase. I remember opening it up and getting this feeling in my chest because it spoke to me. When I first started writing about Filipino food, many posts I wrote about were rooted in my Inang’s kitchen. Reading this book was monumental for me. When I sat down with Amy and Romy for dinner at their Brooklyn restaurant Purple Yam, Amy sparked something in me. I remember her sending a bowl of steamed rice on our table back to the kitchen so that Chef Romy could make bagoong fried rice with it. She then expressed her wants for the community, the tasks that needed to be done in order to grow a greater appreciation for Filipino food, and the people who I should connect with. She was a driving force in the work I have done. I went back home and explored their book more. I read about their beginnings together in Philadelphia, Cendrillon in SoHo, then delved into the recipes – the chapter featuring our foods using souring agents and hearty ulam being my favorite. As a kid who loved eating tangy fruit gummy candies, unripe manga with salty bagoong, and pipinos (cucumber) dressed in suka and black pepper, to me, this flavor profile is stunningly illuminated by Amy and Romy, featuring sinigang, adobo, and kinilaw. These are native flavors many of us hold dear to our hearts. If you see this book, get it. Read through the glossary of Filipino food terms and appreciate the “Further Reading” section for a collection of heritage publications.

Writing this blog brought back so many fond memories and again made me so proud of all these authors, their accomplishments, and work they have done for the Filipino community.

Let’s keep pushing!

Thank you, Lily and Golda, for having me!

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