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Exploring the Filipino Food Movement at Lola's Cluck + Oink

Filipino food from Lola's Cluck + Oink on EKOBO Gusto plates

A culinary movement has been gaining recognition and captivating taste buds around the world. We're talking about the Filipino food movement—a vibrant, diverse, and exciting culinary adventure that invites food enthusiasts to explore the rich tapestry of flavours from the Philippines.

Exploring the Filipino food movement at a picnic with Lola's Cluck + Oink and EKOBO Gusto picnicware

At the heart of the Filipino food movement lies a fascinating fusion of influences. Drawing from Malay, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and Western flavours, Filipino dishes showcase a unique blend of flavours and ingredients. From the savoury delights of adobo, marinated in a tantalizing mixture of soy sauce and vinegar, to the indulgent lechon, a whole spit-roasted pig with a crispy exterior and a dip of tangy lechon sauce, each bite takes you on a flavourful journey through history and cultural exchange.

Someone setting down a serving plate of Bicol Express next to a plate of Tokwa't Baboy, alongside Inihaw na Manok (BBQ Chicken) and rice

Make no mistake–one adobo recipe can look entirely different from another household's method. An archipelago of over 7,600 islands with regional styles and local ingredients guarantee it.

But there is one common aspect when it comes to Filipino food and it's the cultural value of sharing. Meals are traditionally enjoyed in a communal setting, creating an atmosphere of warmth, togetherness, and connection.
Bjorn and Rachel share food from Lola's Cluck + Oink at a picnic with EKOBO Gusto plates, bowls, and other tableware

Our team got to experience this first-hand when we went on a picnic with Lola's Cluck + Oink. The Filipino food stall opened in August 2022 at Fresh & Local Market + Kitchens in Avenida Village. Owner-chef Arvin Dauz prepared a whole chicken inasal (grilled chicken), their C-Train Bikol Express, Tokwa't Baboy (deep-fried tofu and pork), Sisig, and their take on chicken and pork adobo, the Cluck + Oink Adobo. We chatted with Arvin about Filipino cooking and how he stays connected to his roots.

Can you tell us about the lola who inspired the name of Lola's Cluck + Oink, or is the name more symbolic of all lolas?
I developed my love for food watching lolas, my two lolas specifically, but really the many older ladies who helmed the kitchens that served hundreds of family dinners, fiestas, and celebrations, hanging around them as they cooked astounding amounts of food in huge pans called tulyases, or fed families in kitchens ranging from wood-fire DIY stoves to modern kitchens. Lola’s name is an homage to the love Filipinos have for their food and for lots of good food = lola’s food.

What was the first Filipino dish you learned to make?
It was the adobo, of course. My two lolas had very different takes on it with my Novo Ecijano lola doing a dry version of the dish and my Bicolana lola serving a more soupy one. It took me years of trial and error to get to my adobo with my first tries overly soupy too, of course, burning many batches of the dish.

Bjorn holding an EKOBO Gusto Pasta Plate Bowl in Blue Abyss with chicken and pork adobo

What Filipino dish can you eat everyday for the rest of your life?
Kandingga, the Bicolano bopis (spicy sautéed lung and offal). I regularly ate just that for two weeks straight when my cousins bought it for me from Manila.

As we celebrate Filipino Heritage Month, we'd love to know what Filipino traditions keep you connected to your roots!
The Filipino traditions I choose to keep are food-centric. My eight-year-old daughter was eating sautéed bitter melons and egg at age one, and she had her first dinuguan at three. She loves grilled chicken necks and has assisted me in making buro (fermented rice and fish). She may not speak Filipino but will definitely not be surprised in any Filipino fiesta.

With its fusion of influences, harmonious flavours, and tradition of communal dining, Filipino cuisine offers a truly immersive and unforgettable dining experience. So, let your taste buds embark on this culinary adventure, and discover the wonders of the Filipino food movement —one delicious bite at a time.

P.S. Stay tuned as we launch our EKOBO x Lola's Cluck + Oink giveaway on Monday, June 26!

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