Marvin Gapultos, ‘Adobo Road’ Cookbook Author, On Filipino Soul Food: My LA

By : | 0 Comments | On : April 4, 2013 | Category : Uncategorized

Nose-to-tail cooking, funky fermented ingredients and pickled-everything. Filipino food has all the trappings of the next big “it-cuisine” in the United States restaurant scene. Yet unlike Korean, Thai or Vietnamese food, most Americans would probably be hard-pressed to name or describe even one Filipino dish.

Marvin Gapultos is on a mission to change all that with his new cookbook The Adobo Road. The new author, a 35-year-old Filipino-American born in Los Angeles, Calif. and based in Riverside, started becoming more serious about his culinary roots in 2004 when he married his wife, who didn’t know a thing about Filipino cooking. Instead of making the 90-mile trek to his parents’ house for a taste of adobo (meat braised in vinegar) or laing (greens stewed in coconut milk), Gapultos hunkered down and started experimenting with family recipes on his own.

His kitchen trials led to the launch of his blog Burnt Lumpia, named for a Filipino spring roll, in 2007. After gaining a following, Gapultos decided to launch The Manila Machine, Southern California’s first-ever gourmet Filipino food truck (and first-ever truck owned and operated by a food blogger). Manila Machine’s most popular dishes included pork belly and pineapple adobo, lumpia and ube (purple yam) cupcakes. His food truck experiment lasted less than a year but made a major impact on the local restaurant scene. Its closure devastated loyal fans (as evidence, may we present this sniping back and forth between Gapultos and food writer/adobo fiend Zach Brooks), which is why Gapultos’ new cookbook will seem like a lifeline to Angelenos still grieving the loss two years later.

The Huffington Post got to chat with Gapultos over the phone about The Adobo Road, Manila Machine and what he learned about his culinary roots.

HuffPost: Why do you think Filipino food hasn’t caught on in an ethnic melting pot like Los Angeles?

Marvin Gapultos: Filipino food is really family food, and for whatever reason it just hasn’t translated to restaurants. There’s just this mystery behind it — I don’t think people know exactly what Filipino food is. And the things they do know about it aren’t necessarily true. Everything’s brown, everything’s not healthy. But the same could be said for, you know, Mexican food. It’s just this perception or maybe lack of a perception of what really Filipino food is.

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