San Diego cooks current Filipino delicacies on the screening of the documentary “Ulam: Predominant Dish”
As Filipino food continues to bask in the glow of a growing appreciation for the kitchen, a documentary is now coming out that chronicles the movement’s conquest of a nation.
Filmmakers Alexandra and Rey Cuerdo’s “Ulam: Main Dish” celebrated its world premiere earlier this month at the San Francisco International Film Festival. And on Monday, April 23rd and Tuesday, April 24th, it comes to San Diego for the eighth annual Spring Showcase of the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) presented by Pacific Arts Movement (Pac-Arts) .
After the screening and Q&A with filmmakers on April 23, 15 local Filipino-American culinary talents – including chefs and bartenders – come together to cook a Kamayan-style feast for 300 guests at the San Diego Natural History Museum ( the event is sold out)). Traditionally, a Kamayan-style meal means being able to eat anything from pork to seafood by hand at a communal table covered with banana leaves. The screening on April 24th will take place without a meal at the UltraStar in Mission Valley.
We asked some of the local attendees to tell us why they believe Filipino cuisine is finally having its moment.
Owner, The LAB Dining Sessions and Mostra Coffee
“Filipino food is finally having its moment, in part due to the rise of chefs looking to take what is normally humble cuisine to new levels of sophistication and creativity compared to previous generations. It could also be due to “influencers” in mainstream television, magazines, and the entertainment industry who say Filipino food is the “next best” or “food trend”. But for us chefs and cooks who grew up in and around Filipino culture, it has been anchored in our souls since we were born. We know it has always been and will always be here. “
Chef Arterra Del Mar.
“Filipino food has slowly but surely spread around the world from Filipino expats in China, Dubai, and the United States. Second and third generation Filipino Americans grew up much more integrated into local communities than our parents. Even so, we long for the tastes we all grew up with. While it is scary to think about how Filipino cuisine will adapt and change in the generations to come after us, hopefully the cuisine will change and improve for the better as it reaches more communities and diverse communities than before and to a particular cuisine becomes. “
Research and Development Chef, Consortium Holdings
“Filipino cuisine finds a home in the American mainstream for a number of reasons. Notoriety in the digital and social media worlds shares our cuisine with society, but more importantly, formally trained first generation Filipino Americans are now seasoned, seasoned chefs and cooks. We are taking these lessons and techniques and applying them to Filipino food to make it more accessible to the American palate. Now there is a bigger platform to showcase the cuisine of our culture. “
Co-owner, Nom Nom Bento and Supernatural Sandwiches
“I believe that the world’s growing appreciation for pork and our ability to utilize every part of the animal helped shed light on Filipino cuisine. Filipino Food has a pork-centered cuisine, one dish in particular is the legendary lechon – a whole roast young pig with perfectly crispy skin and roasted meat over an open fire. It was only a matter of time before people got acquainted with our other masterful creations of local seafood, exotic fruits and a balance between the savory, sour, sweet and spicy. “
Sous Chef, Tender Greens
“I think the new generation of Filipinos are not afraid to go against the grain. These days we’re fortunate enough to be able to share things on social media, whether it’s exploring exciting kitchens or catching up on food. It’s okay not to be a nurse, engineer, or doctor – we can be artists and cooks too! And in this generation there is a wave of young Filipino chefs who want to take the cuisine we love and grew up on to the next level and share our culture through food. I think it was only a matter of time before we got our shine. “
“I think it probably took some time because Filipinos are proud. Other kitchens became mainstream due to assimilation. Many of the staples in these kitchens are not entirely authentic to these cultures. However, what you see with the Filipino food movement is a reflection of how versatile and adaptable Filipinos were. We are influenced by many cultures and already so diverse that we hold onto our many roots and do not allow our cuisine to be westernized in order to be accepted. Filipino food does it by itself, and I think our persistence and pride are only beginning to pay off. “
Head Chef, Open House Asian Kitchen
“Thanks to Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmerman and chef-entrepreneurs like Nicole Ponseca who has been doing this for so long, as well as social media, Filipino cuisine has finally got its moment. Talented chefs from the Philippines and around the world are spotted for their job improving the cuisine and keeping the flavors authentic. Filipino culture and cuisine is unique and the flavor combinations are still fresh. It’s a very exciting time I like to be a Filipino Chef! “
Chef, Bivouac Ciderworks
“Filipino cuisine has its moment because timing is everything. The children who grew up here now feel inspired to connect with the food of their homeland. Growing up in another country, one of the connections you have with your parents and grandparents is with food. The memories of our parents ‘and grandparents’ meals are then passed on through us to share with our children and friends. Although the ingredients and recipes used may not be “authentic” or “traditional”, the people who try it can feel that the cooking comes from the heart. “
Head Chef, PARQ SD
“Until recently, Filipino food was traditionally considered home cooking. However, with new cuisines constantly being researched and evolving, as well as the large number of Filipinos in America, our food is exposed more than ever today. Current Filipino chefs are employing modern techniques to make our food more accessible. Given that we hold our food in our hearts – because it’s mostly part of our culture and traditions – it’s exciting to see Filipino food finally making its mark on the culinary world. “
“Dish: main course”
When: 8.40 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 (meal on Monday, April 23, is sold out)
Where: UltraStar Mission Valley, 7510 Hazard Center Drive, San Diego.
Tickets: $ 12