We're going back to the Philippines again.
Well, not physically. But via the next best way to transport oneself to another place and time: through food and drink. This month's Food & Sh*t pop-up dinner is an excursion outside the familiar dishes of the Filipino Cuisine metropolis and into the countryside, where the provincial and rustic reign supreme.
There are 10.5 million Filipinos working and residing overseas. But even within the Philippines itself, within families themselves, there is a diaspora. Ours is a story that mirrors thousands of Filipino families: recent generations have found themselves relocating and working in urban landscapes, removed from the countryside villages and towns they lived in for generations. Many have left, some have stayed--and with them, a handful of traditions that have survived the journey and others that dissipate along the way and over time.
Our families hail originally from Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, Benguet & Tarlac, with many more cousins, aunties, uncles spread out through other cities and regions. We spent a majority of our month-long trip to the Philippines last winter outside of the cities and catching a glimpse of livelihoods where "farm-to-table" and "artisan" aren't just recent culinary buzzwords but a way of life that's existed for many generations.
We visited Chera's auntie's and uncle's bakery in Gapan, where Manong Joe, an 80-year old baker who began baking when he was 15, makes fresh baked goods every day with little more than his hands and a wood-fire oven. In Davao, we encountered the best "ceviche" we've ever had in the form of local kinilaw. In Baguio, I finally understood why pops loves goat so much after hitting the kambingans there.
These dishes don't exist on any menus in any restaurant in Seattle. And we can't recreate them even if we tried--many of these provincial dishes rely on locally sourced food items that aren't available here. But, like so many of us diaspora folk have done in our kitchens, we've turned the things that have gone from local to global back to local again: taking what's available to us now and reconstructing them in our image.
It is remarkable that the Filipino identity can claim so many kinds of traditions and tastes. While there's a tendency to identify things as Filipino that are familiar, we often forget that there are more stories that don't fit the main narrative that deserve shine too. On our last trip in the PI from region to region, we witnessed a nation across Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao--Luzviminda--that embraces its multiplicity. In a small way, 8,000 miles away, one dinner at a time, we aim to do the same. -- Geo
Fried Pancit Palabok
Inasal Pork BBQ Ribs
Luzviminda is a prix-fixe menu dinner. There will be two dinner services, from 530-730pm and 800-1000pm. Reservations and advance payment required. All ages welcome, with bar & alcoholic drinks available for 21+. Seating limited to 40 per dinner. Please make reservations at the link below: