Title Philipino 101
I've lived in LA for most of my life, but have never really sought out the best in Philipino food. Mostly, I'm at a loss for where to go and what to order. I do remember getting fried chicken at the old Max's of Manila on Wilshire back in the olden days. Would anyone like to run through a list of (a) the best Philipino spots in greater LA for a newbie and (b) what to order? Thank you hounds.
Great menu with all the favorites and a classy interior....
643 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
For empanadas and an ube cake....
United Bread & Pastry Inc
1515 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
And while I haven't been here for a while, I had a great breakfast of adobo and rice a few years ago. Also, I distinctly remember the warm and happy service, which is why I will someday see if they are still there.....
La Rose Cafe
4749 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
OKAY, you said the greater LA area, so I'm going to suggest this hole-in-the-wall, family-owned place called "MAGIC WOK" in Artesia. Just about the BEST Filipino I've ever had. While I thought Max of Manila, Goldilocks, and Salo Salo Grill were okay, nothing, I mean nothing has ever come close to the food at MAGIC WOK. The prices are ridiculously low too.
Here's pcitures of my most recent meal there:
Many people will tell you that the best way to get great Filipino food in LA is to make friends with Filipinos and get invited to their houses. After years of looking (although I've never made it to Magic Wok and maybe that's the ticket) I've come around more and more to that view. However, there are lots of places to try; here's a few older threads with lots of suggestions, which you can ponder while others supply more recent recommendations.
Well, I live in the south bay so I have a bias to this lackluster area. I went to ISLA Filipina seafood & Grill Restaurant in Lomita and it was decent, but i wouldnt drive far for it. The area is pretty much the ghetto, but hey, you are in LA right!
Dj Bibingkahan is a mini chain and has an outpost here in Carson, ca (again, ugly area)
I dont have anything specific, but main st. in Carson, ca (between carson st and E. 223 st has a bunch of filipino places)
Alejandro's on Verdugo Rd in Eagle Rock area (I havent been but Ive heard great things)
I second Asian Noodles in China town.
My guess is that westminster, Artesia, or Anaheim st. in Long Beach should have some Filipino here and there since they are ethnically diverse streets.
I am not an authority on the food though. I have had home cooked Filipino food from 4 differnt families. Everyone else LOVES the food, while I find it to be okay. Wen I go to these places, I think they are on par because frankly, I am not a Filipino food lover. My closest friend, my aunt, are Filipino and my fiance likes Filipino, that is why I guess I eat it and cook it from time to time.
Jollibee does not serve Filipino food. It serves a filipino interpretation of "american" food: fried chicken, spaghetti, burgers and fries... Filipinos get all nostalgic about it cause they ate it growing up in P.I. Jollibee is NOT filipino food.
Most places that serve what I would call authentic filipino food that my Nanay would make are turo-turo (point-point)... not many sit down restaurants that I would call great. Max's saving grace is that they are consistent. Salo-salo grill I was completely unimpressed. I have yet to go to Asian Noodles, and have been wanting to make it to Magic wok.
I actually like DJ bibingkahan, the one in Norwalk/Cerritos.
In the end I truly prefer what my mom and Nanay make. Plus you can eat with your hands at home :)
Another good way to sample Filipino cuisine is to attend FPAC (Festival for Philippine Art and Culture). I was working in the culinary arts booth and we couldn't keep up with the demand for lumpia, turon and even balut
Plenty of food stalls (a la Wat Thai) but don't forget to swing by culinary arts to watch some cooking demonstrations, including some by Filipino chefs in the LA area. Chef Guerrero actually brought a whole slab of his pastrami there as sort of a Oinkster plug/preview, and it was well received, especially given that deli meats are not part of a typical Filipino diet.
so i'm going to refer back to some of these posts and say that
Goldilocks is good basic Filipino chow. Obviously there's better, but I grew up in Daly City
(Filipino central in the Bay Area), and that's where we used to default to. Yeah, like a McDonalds buffet, but it worked (and that bakery rocked).
Jollibee i do not recommend, per Veggietales feedback. It just aint that good (although it makes me want to put hot dogs in my spaghetti).
Lastly, the best food is always at someone's parent's home. No doubt. I miss my grandma's lumpia....