Of all the Southeast Asian cuisines, I’ve not been able to fully wrap my head around Filipino food. A number of my Filipino friends have described their ancestral food as being generally over cooked, brown, and/or lacking fresh vegetables. On the other hand, there are people who’ve elevated it to such heights as to make it seem overly precious and inaccessible. I’ve had the pleasure of eating sumptuous buffets prepared by men who were former cooks in the U.S. Navy but alas, they were rather shy about sharing their foodways.
My curiosity has been piqued by lumpia and adobo as well as crazy good meatballs in barbecue sauce and tender dinner rolls. I’ve been yearning for a straight up Filipino cookbook. Enter The Adobo Road by Marvin Gapultos to answer my burning questions. Based in Los Angeles, he’s been a blogger and owned a noteworthy food truck called the Manila Machine, the first one in Southern California dedicated to Filipino food.
Marvin’s of a new generation of plucky Filipino food people who are not hiding behind the scenes. In The Adobo Road, he celebrates his legacy, not so much about life in the Philippines but rather life as a Filipino American. Marvin explains the roots and the potential of Filipino food, weaving in cultural information without getting wonky. Simple dishes like chicken adobo as well as grilled chicken feet are part of the book’s recipe collection. His section on vintage cocktails, Filipino mixologists, and Tiki lounge drinks is fascinating. There’s something for everybody in this book.
All that said, you may not know much about Filipino food. I asked Marvin to give us all a little primer and whet our appetites. There are three (3) copies of The Adobo Road up for grabs so throw your hat into the ring!
The first Filipinos arrived in America in the 1580s yet it’s taken until now for Filipino food to get a bit of the spotlight. Why?
Filipino food is very much rooted in the home kitchen, and we Filipinos have always been content with home cooking, so our cuisine hasn't really translated to restaurant kitchens until recently. Now, I think a younger generation of Filipinos are starting to embrace our food, and that appreciation is starting to spill over into today's "foodie culture". It also helps that shows like Top Chef have featured Filipino chefs and Filipino food, so I think that people are becoming more curious about Filipino flavors.
What’s are 3 requisite ingredients for cooking from The Adobo Road?
I'll actually give you 5 simple ingredients that everyone already has in their kitchen: apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, garlic, and black pepper. With those 5 ingredients, anyone can make a fantastic adobo. Easy right?
What recipes should a beginner, intermediate, or advanced cook tackle in your book?
For beginners, my Classic Chicken Adobo is a great place to start—it's a great introduction to Filipino cooking methods, as well as a great adobo recipe. And I think all of the recipes in my book a beginning cook can definitely tackle, but there are a few that are a bit more time-consuming than others. My Pancit Miki recipe for example, involves making your own noodles by hand, as well as making a shrimp stock—so it's a great noodle dish for intermediate and advanced cooks.
Southeast Asians love to grill and there’s no better time than summer! What’s a typical menu for a warm weather Filipino fiesta?
A hot weather menu would feature plenty of grilled pork and fish, as well as lots of beer and cocktails--pretty typical of any culture right? There's a whole section in my book dedicated to Filipino bar food and cocktails, and those recipes are great for hot outdoor summer grilling. Definitely give my grilled pork skewers a try--they feature pork marinated in 7-up and then grilled with a sweet and sticky glaze. I also have a handful of vintage Filipino cocktails that are great for washing down these skewers and for keeping you cool in hot weather.
Prizes: 3 copies of The Adobo Road for 3 individual winners
Who is eligible to enter: Anyone with a mailing address in North America. (My apologies to folks who live outside North America.)
How to enter: Simply leave a comment on this post, perhaps on what interests you about Filipino food or why you’d like to have this book. Include your email address so that I can contact you directly if you win.
Can you enter more than once? Yes, if you’re a fan of the VWK Facebook page, follow me on Twitter or have joined me on Pinterest, you can enter an extra time for each of those social media networks. If we’re buddies on all three, then shoot, you can enter 4 times. If you’re doing multiple entries, let me know who you are by including something like [FB], [Twitter], or [Pinterest] in your comment.
Deadline to enter: Monday, July 1, noon (PST)
Selection, notification, and claiming the tickets: The winners will be randomly selected via Random.org and notified by email. The winner will be announced next Tuesday, July 2. Tuttle Publishing will each winner a copy of the book. If you’d like more details, read the official giveaway rules.