Cooking

Thrilla From Manila

'The Adobo Road Cookbook' illuminates the world of Filipino cooking
Adobo Road Cookbook
Shrimp and Pork with Homemade Pancit Noodles (Photo by Marvin Gapultos)

Ask any Filipino where to find the best Filipino food, and you're likely to get the same answer.

At her or his mother’s house.

If there’s one reason why the cuisine of the Philippines--with all its crispy, sour, garlicky goodness--has remained out of the mainstream culinary spotlight when compared to other Asian countries, it may be the cultural emphasis on home cooking.

That’s where The Adobo Road Cookbook ($20) comes in. The collection of more than 100 recipes from Los Angeles-based blogger Marvin Gapultos hopes to translate the soulful traditional cooking of the Philippines into the modern kitchen.

Street-food staples such as garlic fried rice, cassava cake, crab lumpia rolls, glazed Spam and even Filipino spaghetti--made with diced hot dogs and homemade banana ketchup--are lovingly explained. (Gapultos founded the popular but short-lived Manila Machine truck in 2010.)

But the most interesting creations happen when Gapultos explores the dense multiethnic heritage of the Philippines, as well as that of his own family.

Using adobo, an essential vinegar sauce influenced by both Spain and China, Gapultos features both a classic pork belly-and-pineapple adobo, and a new-wave chicken adobo potpie.

It’s a delectable way of paying homage and looking forward at the same time.

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