Filipino Flavor Trends

February 2017

Bloomberg predicts Filipino dishes will move into foodservice’s culinary forefront in 2017.

Influenced by Chinese, Spanish and an array of Southeast Asian flavors, Filipino foods are already trending in cities such as Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; New York; and Chicago.

In 2014, the Filipino Food Movement organization hosted the country’s first Filipino food festival in San Francisco. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, members had expected nearly 14,000 attendees and reported that they were pleasantly taken aback when more than 28,000 people showed. Organization member Joanne Boston told the Chronicle that this moment helped to shine a spotlight on Filipino foods throughout the entire U.S.

Here’s a closer look at popular Filipino foods and how they’re making an impact on the foodservice industry:

  • Ube: This purple yam is a staple ingredient in Filipino dishes. Traditionally, it’s boiled and served or used in sweetened jams. Chefs are expanding its uses by testing dishes such as ube cheesecake, cinnamon rolls stuffed with ube and ube donuts.
  • Rice bowls: Chef Charles Olalia of RiceBar in Los Angeles has introduced Filipino flavors to the familiar format of buildable rice bowls. Options include heirloom grains imported from the islands, and they’re priced at $7–$10 to attract a wider range of diners.
  • Adobo adaptations: “Adobo” can be used to describe both a cooking technique and a vinegar-based sauce used in many Filipino preparations. According to Saveur magazine, Chef Alvin Cailan uses adobo sauce in dishes tailored to the specific audience he’s serving. In Southern California, for instance, he roasts Pacific vegetables and glazes them with adobo sauce for a regional take on Filipino fusion.

As Filipino cuisine is typically high in salt and fat, using turkey in recipes is a great way to offer a healthy alternative to your diners. Turkey can serve as a better-for-you substitute for beef and pork in rice bowls, adobo-seasoned dishes and more. For starters, you can cut fat, calories and sodium by replacing ground pork with ground turkey in lumpia, a traditional Filipino egg roll. Browse our versatile products to find the best fit for your operation.


Krader, Kate. Eleven Fancy Food Trends You’ll Face in 2017, Bloomberg, December 2016.

Fulton, April. Trend Watch: Filipino Food Heats Up, National Geographic, May 2016.

Kauffman, Jonathan. The Bay Area’s Filipino Food Movement sparks a national conversation, San Francisco Chronicle, January 2016.

Bustos, Kristina. Is Ube Filipino America’s Breakout Food?, Paste, April 2016.

Cavallo, Craig. How a New Generation of Chefs Is Making LA Fall in Love with Filipino Food, Saveur, July 2016.

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