Pasadena’s hidden 31-year-old Filipino tradition

PASADENA — In Southern California, Pasadena may not be one of the most Filipino-heavy place — but for the past 31 years. it’s kept one of the best Pinoy secrets.

While Southern California has the largest concentration of Filipinos in the country, there’s not many Filipino owned businesses that have lasted 30 years — and in Pasadena, there’s only one traditional Filipino market.

Chaaste Family Market first opened in 1987, and has stayed within the same family since.

“Everything here at Chaaste Market is mom and pop style, my mom is still in the kitchen she taught us, my brother went to culinary school in the Philippines, I went to University of Baguio,” said Christian Esteban.

The family was among the first Filipino families in the area, and the shop opened when there weren’t many Filipinos living in Pasadena.

“I was the token Asian kid in class, I use to bring corned beef to school, my friends use to tease me. And it’s not cool growing up being Filipino back in the day, but all my cousins in Eagle Rock, that’s where it’s at. So we’re asking everyone from the neighboring cities to come this way. We’re trying to bring the culture down this way, so  #ChaasteKeepingCultureAlive.

To celebrate their 31st year, and to commemorate the passing of the business torch from mother to son, city officials and celebrities celebrated with their signature dishes.

“Pasadena is the kind of city it is because of its diversity, and we celebrate all kinds of different communities in Pasadena,” said Mayor Terry Tornek.

Philippine actress Cristine Reyes has been a family friend, knowing Esteban during his brief Philippine showbiz stint.

“It’s like I’m super surprised when I got here. Everything is Ang ganda. Ang galing Ng gawa Nila before na punta ako dito una una parin ang store and now it’s so perfect very Pinoy,” said Reyes.

And after years of service, Chaaste is trying to give back with proceeds from their party going to charity groups and plans to make this shop, just off the Foothill Freeway, into a space for Filipino talents as more people jump onto the Filipino food craze.

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