SF Pinoy chefs’ create dishes inspired by Philippine national heroes

SAN FRANCISCO – Bay Area food lovers were treated to an exclusive Filipino American chef-curated prix fixe dinner.

Pampalasa restaurant located in the South of Market neighborhood which is historically home to the Filipino American community brought together some of the most talented Pinoy chefs for a pop-up dinner series entitled “Kamayan”.

“There [are] so many Filipino chefs out there and they’re so good but a lot of them don’t have the opportunity to express and share their Filipino culture through food in a commercial setting,” said Pampalasa Owner Jennifer Vilamin.

This pop-up dinner series is unique because each menu is modeled after a different Philippine national hero.

“The menu they’re creating is a purely Filipino menu but it’s honoring their chosen Filipino hero,” said Vilamin. “So it’s either where their hero made his significance in history or maybe the hero’s favorite dish or it’s the ingredients from the hero’s hometown. So in their own way they’re honoring their national hero through their food and through their menu.”

Pampalsa’s chef Bayani Inclano Jr.’s menu was inspired by Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.

“The reason why I chose Jose Rizal: I was interested in what he’s done,” said Inclano. “The guy spoke 22 different languages. He’s a poet. He’s a Filipino nationalist. He wrote a lot of novels that inspired the Filipino people.”

Chef Inclano began with a green mango panna cotta with crispy anchovies followed by a Filipino green salad.

The entree consisted of a crispy munggo and braised pork belly.

And dinner concluded with a buko custard with lemon streusel.

“I chose these dished based off a lot of letters he wrote to his family during exile. A lot of meals he missed,” said Inclano. “This whole thing is to inspire younger Filipino chefs to take on their own food. There’s a lot of complexity in our cuisine. We’ve been influenced by many cultures: Japanese, Chinese, Spanish. There’s so much we can do with it.”

The dinner series is one of the many events that highlight Filipino culture in the city of San Francisco during this month of celebrating Philippine independence.

“[It] just coincides exactly with our purpose of remembering and connecting with our heritage and it all ties up with what is very typical within Filipinos: the love for food and the respect for our heroes,” said Vice Consul Reggie Bernade of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco.

Even though Pampalasa has only been around for a month, Villamin says she’s already been receiving positive responses from the public and she also plans on having more pop-up dinner series in the future.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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