Filipino food is as rich and colorful as the country it comes from. Los Angeles has one of the largest populations of Filipinos outside of the Philippines itself, so you’d be right to expect a fantastic selection of restaurants throughout the city. But in the massive urban sprawl of Los Angeles, you’d be hard-pressed to choose just one location that provides the most authentic experience – so here is a shortlist of the top contenders.
In the center of Panorama City, this incredible restaurant provides a truly authentic Filipino breakfast and lunch buffet. However, the thing that sets this spot apart is the kamayan dinner – a table, covered in banana leaves, is set with the traditional dishes of lechon kawali (pork belly), garlic rice, salted egg and tomato salad, BBQ. They also set out generous piles of napkins as this meal is meant to be eaten by hand.
This Filipino spot is located in Koreatown – but surprisingly enough, it offers a Filipino/American fusion cuisine. This fusion includes classic standbys like hot dogs and tater-tots. But the sisig hot dog, a fusion of both culture’s favorite foods, might inspire your tastebuds. Other fusions include grilled cheese with longanisa sausage or pork adobo.
Leche flan, or crème caramel, is among the most popular and traditional Filipino desserts that are served at this delightful little bakery. The modern aesthetic of the shop might convince you this is just another trendy little spot to satisfy a sweet-tooth, but the traditional flavors inside mark the Filipino heritage. The crème caramel cups come in buko pandan and halo-halo flavors, and many of the treats are marked by the distinctive bright purple of ube, the sweet potato that is used in many Filipino desserts.
BBQ is an important part of the Filipino palette, and The Park’s Finest BBQ takes its flavors seriously. This is one of the most renowned locations on the list, having been featured in Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. This is the result of a small catering company settling down and establishing a location for themselves, and they’ve never looked back. They boast ‘American cuts of BBQ with a Filipino flavor’ and they’ve nailed the best of both. With cornbread bibingka, sweet and salty coconut beef, and incredibly tender pulled pork, you’d be missing out to not have eaten here if you’re in the area.