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Filipino caterer for wedding in Carlsbad

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Hi Chowhounds -- this is my first time here, so please be kind. :)

I have a girlfriend who is getting married on a budget in Carlsbad next summer. She is half Filipina, and is looking to do a fun buffet style Filipino dinner for her wedding for somewhere around 100-150 people.

Thanks so far for all the leads on restaurants; Tita's Kitchenette, Manila/Tokyo, Villa Marina, Red Ribbon Bakery. I'd love to hear more about any of these places if you have the inclination.

Also, does anyone have any experience with a Filipino caterer in that general area? Or alternately, good or bad experiences with a Filipino catering menu at an event you've attended? We're starting from scratch and don't have much experience with the cuisine or event planning, so any info would be appreciated.

Thanks for being such an amazing resource. I haven't been able to find this kind of detailed, quality information anywhere else.

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  1. Filipino Buffet dinner is hard to do, but it is not impossible. It's a matter of keeping everything hot and fresh. I suggest you travel south to find good filipino food. National City/Chula Vista area is best. Manila Tokyo-YUCK! Tita's Kitchennete-Yum Villa Marina-No Comment Red Ribbon Bakery-Good Mango Cakes. My family is in the same position except it is going to be a debut. Good filipino food is usually cooked by the family and not catered in. It's tough though because you have to worry about a lot of other things the day of the event and no one has time to cook. Try Tita's that would be my suggestion. There is also a bakery in that strip mall that makes good filipino breads that you could have at the event. Try Valerio's I think they cater too. For Lechon, good luck, not that many people advertise for that. But they are out there and are well guarded secrets :) Hope it helps.

    1. Thank you so much!

      Also, I'll update this as we go along for others.

      1. Oh I forgot, how about Conching's? I'm not sure if they cater, but it's good filipino food when you don't want to cook for yourself.

        1. Try Mission Asian Market in the Valley in Oceanside (on Mission Avenue in the strip mall that has Yum Yum Donuts, Mission Animal & Bird Hospital and Budget Truck Rental -- closest to Budget Truck Rental). I don't know if they cater, but their Filipino food is the best in North County (as evidenced by the fact that you have to get there early if you want to get there before they run out of food, as opposed to some of the other Filipino places I've been to in North County that never run out of food because the food doesn't taste very good). Anyway, I know the owners have a location in Oceanside and one down south near the other SD Filipino places (I don't remember the name of the other location though).

          I highly recommend Mission Asian Market as I've eaten their food often, and it's always been very good and reasonably priced (I moved to Sacramento and not only have I found the Filipino food not as good, but it's also, strangely enough, significantly more expensive). Good luck!

          1. hmmm.. i dont know these spots, except for red ribbon bakery, which btw DOES have great mango cakes... i got one for my bf upon his grad from grad school and it was gone because it was so popular =).... be careful searching online for red ribbon bakeshop... i did it once at work, and suddenly i was directed to an adult oriented site.... and web-jacked when i tried to close the windows...

            i digress, ANYWAY, do you have your menu planned? or else things that you would want to have? most filipino buffets i go to (my family's included) is a mix of different things, including chinese food, roast beef, etc. we're not really into the catering filipino restaurantsm (mainly because we can either cook it ourselves or see my "network" diatribe below... hahah), but if it will be for your gf's wedding, then make sure you try the food only because many filipino restaurants tend to use too much oil... we do enjoy valerio's though...

            what we usually do is ask around if someone knows someone who makes a particular dish. for instance, "auntie so and so knows someone who makes great lumpias" then you contact that person and you can order from them... THEN that person will know someone who makes great fill in the blank: "auntie lumpia knows someone who makes good menudo" so what actually happens is that your entire meal is catered by different folks according to their specialities... and everyone knows who's in the network once you are in... hahaha

            not all lechons are the same.... so before buying, i would ask around for recommendations... i know some folks who actually roast in their backyard.. but they are nowhere near carlsbad...

            try talking to the bride's filipino side first, if possible.. and then ask your filipino friends, if your filipino friends are younger, then you may want to try and ask their parents.... =)

            congrats to your friend and everything will be so yummy!!! =)

            1. Try Rafael's Catering in Vallejo. Their website is www.rafaelscateringvallejo.com
              They specialize in buffet-style catering, offer a variety of menu items to choose from, very flexible in delivery and scheduling and is probably one of the most best filipino caterers in the bay area. They're family owned and operated and been around for 25 years. They also work very hard to accomodate any kind of budget. I would highly recommend Rafael's Catering in Vallejo.