It’s finally time to get behind the camera and rally up bay area viewers to try some Filipino food! I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to talk about my country’s food and to recommend a Filipino restaurant that my family has been going to for over 10 years. If you haven’t noticed, things have been a little quiet here as my last week week has been jammed packed with food writing for the show!
We revisited the Barrio Fiesta last week and had a wonderful experience. I’m hoping that the two other restaurant reviewers are open-minded and embracing!
Posted below is the review that I sent in to be featured on the website. I’ll let you all know more details as they come in. We receive the script this weekend!
The Filipino restaurant industry is vastly an anomaly. However, it’s not from the lack of Filipino people. Filipinos are the first highest Asian population in California, yet make up less than 1% of the restaurant industry.
It’s a shame, for Filipino food is an intriguing entity — you can “see” the history of the country in its food. Often called the “ultimate culinary conglomerate,” trade relations and colonizations have produced a cuisine rich in Asian Spanish, Indian and Mexican flavors commingling.
What you get at Barrio Fiesta is pure, unadulterated, non-hybridized Filipino food. If you’re a novice and want to go where the “locals go” this is the place to start your love with Filipino food. The menu is very user-friendly. There is a huge variety and it develops a strong curiosity to want to try so many things.
We usually begin with Sinigang – a clear, uncomplicated broth flavored by tamarind, a sour fruit indigenous to the Philippines. When it’s piping hot the heat and the sourness give off a warm and healing sting.
Our favorites range from popular fare — bronzed lumpia shanghais – to “insider” dishes like Adobo pusit, which are broiled squid cooked in soy, vinegar, garlic plus their own ink. We also enjoy other specialties like Barrio’s rendition of Beefsteak Tagalog; a soy sauce and vinegar steak served with peppered, carmelized onions, as well as the Garlic Chicken served with banana ketchup. The vegetables stewed in cocout milk (Ginataan Gulay at Hipon) can always hook someone who has never tried Filipino food before. And to finish off, the radiant purple Ube ice cream is full-bodied and calming with a slight coconut note.
Thankfully, Barrio Fiesta has been able to defy the odds and hold its own as an advocate for good Filipino food in the bay area. From my experience, it’s the only one that distinctly and accurately reveals the flavors of the Filipino family.