LA is the best city to eat Filipino food

Is LA the Best City to Eat Filipino Food?

Written on 04/04/2019
Dennis Clemente

Filipino food is making big waves in these US cities:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. New York
  3. San Francisco

If you want to do your own search, an app called Sarap should help you find Filipino food in these 3 cities (some in Manila are mentioned). More cities and food spots are constantly being added to the app.

If you have to choose one, though, Los Angeles has the following:

  • number (variety) of Filipino restaurants (Here’s a list of all the Filipino restaurants in LA.
  • abundance of California produce (Asian veggies are more expensive elsewhere)
  • More Fil-Am chefs taking their mainstream experience to Filipino food (although some Filipino chefs in SF cannot be counted out—Sariwa’s Aileen Suzara champions healthy Filipino food; Michelin-pedigreed chefs cook Filipino food at Likha in Emeryville)
  • imagination of young Filipino American chefs, which ranges from authentic to great reimagined (i.e., fusion) Filipino food . Who’s to say who has more imagination? This one cannot be measured but if media coverage is any gauge, LA is getting most of it.

Even the article/video below by Eater claims LA has the most exciting Filipino food in the US:

Watch: Why Los Angeles Has the Most Exciting Filipino Food in America

In LA, try Lasa as featured in Bon Appetit We Want Everything on the Menu at This New Cali-Filipino Restaurant.

Scallops kinilaw (cerviche) at Lasa

If you prefer quick Filipino comfort food, Big Boi is getting lots of people lining up. Big Boi brings modern Filipino combo plates to Sawtelle Japantown. Oinkster (at least one in the menu), Park’s Finest and Ma’am Sir are also popular.

Food items at Ma’am Sir, clockwise from top left: Lumpia (spring roll), crispy pork belly, garlic shrimp and chicken adobo

However, New York is a very close second which I think could eclipse LA once celebrated Filipino chef Alvin Cailan (of the famed Eggslut in many cities) opens his Amboy restaurant this summer. New York has Jeepney and Pig & Khao (which has perhaps the best sisig in NY).

San Francisco may be last here, but it’s also because it’s an expensive city and many of its Filipino food spots have moved or put up shop out of the city or in food trucks (eg. Senor Sisig ).

Washington, DC (not yet on Sarap’s site) has Bad Saint, among others. Bad Saint alone may upstage all of these LA and NY restaurants the way it has become hugely popular in the mainstream, the way top media outlets have covered it and the favorable reviews it is getting from the DC locals.

Is LA really the best US city to enjoy Filipino food? Yes, for now (April 2019), but the ranking will continue to change over time. Of course, some will say nothing beats Filipino food cooked at home by Filipino moms and dads.