PHILADELPHIA — Chef Lou Boquila’s modern approach to Filipino cuisine and the bold Filipino flavors of Perla are making a big mark at the heart of Philadelphia’s hottest dining district called east Passyunk.
Named after Boquila’s mother – Perla is where he serves up his unique interpretation of his mom’s Filipino cooking.
“You’re never gonna beat your mom’s, your Lola’s, your tita’s cooking so I just took what I learned as a chef and sort of just ran with you know, whatever the flavors are, the memories that I remember eating, so we’re still scratching the surface of Filipino food,” said Boquilla.
Boquila uses a variety of techniques he learned at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, to refine and elevate his menu.
“It’s just thinking outside the box you know, Filipino food is great you develop flavors by cooking it for hours. French technique is already in Filipino braising, stewing, it’s sort of like taking few more steps, instead of throwing everything in one pot, you know, we break down each component, present it the best way, cook it the best way too.”
In his Filipino restaurant week menu, many dishes stood out.
“Filipino food is the soul of the Philippines, it’s the voice of the Philippines,” said Susan del Mundo. “Building the image of the country through Filipino culinary is really a very good platform to promote the country in the east coast.”
Boquila rose from a dishwasher to executive chef, and now a restaurant owner. He says the next logical step for the Filipino food movement is to hone more Filipino chefs.”
“Everyone has their version of Filipino food, their story to tell, so I think it’s now time to open up those doors for other Filipino chefs.”
With the popularity of Filipino food hitting an all-time high this year, Philippine officials believe, the Filipino restaurant week is ready for a US-wide and month-long run, next year.