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Food & Drink

Dallas’ Filipino Food Scene Came Out of Nowhere

The funky cuisine of chicken adobo and bowls of pancit had been buzzing across the country. And then, all of a sudden, it was here.
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Chef Randall Braud’s tattoos show Polynesian symbols, but it wasn’t until later in life that he claimed his Filipino heritage. Elizabeth Lavin

It’s not every day you watch a food scene go from fledgling to riveting in what feels like a single hot minute. This has been the case for the pop-up crusaders who are bringing Filipino cuisine to Dallas. All over the country, there’s been a buzz for several years around Filipino food being the next “new thing,” the Southeast Asian cuisine that would galvanize our taste buds and send us on a journey to a tantalizing, underrepresented archipelago.

Chefs in Los Angeles woke to the new dawn, and when I visited my mom out there, I would stand in line at Eggslut for oozing breakfast sandwiches or ogle the luscious buko pie (a coconut custard decadence) that made the city stop in its tracks when the power couple behind upscale République opened Sari Sari Store. Immigration patterns made for hub cities where glory emerged. A second-generation wave of Asian American entrepreneurs had asked the all-important question: “Why don’t we make the food that speaks so much to us?”

And then my Filipino friend brought to my attention a pop-up at a brewery. And all of a sudden, I turned around, and it was happening here.

In our own backyard, I found that they, the new wave of Filipino warriors, were throwing down at pop-ups, turning our lives richer with their chicken adobo and bowls of pancit and arroz caldo. Oh, you don’t know calamansi brunch pancakes and crispy pata yet? Don’t worry. You will.

They’re fierce and committed, bonded and communal. They’re masters of a new deliciousness, and on March 8, they’re holding the first entirely Filipino food festival in Dallas.

Meet them here.

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