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Next Hot Ethnic Food: Filipino

Hot & Cool Food Trends

Foodies are always clamoring to know, what’s the next hot ethnic food? Last year we predicted Peruvian food would emerge as the trendy new ethnic, and we have seen evidence of it.

Now it looks like the hot newcomer for the upcoming year may be Filipino food.

On the Today Show’s food blog, Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods,” talked about the next big thing in ethnic cuisine and zeroed in on Filipino food.

“It’s just starting,” Zimmern told Today. “I think it’s going to take another year and a half to get up to critical mass, but everybody loves Chinese food, Thai food, Japanese food, and it’s all been exploited. The Filipinos combined the best of all of that with Spanish technique."

“I predict, two years from now, Filipino food will be what we will have been talking about for six months … I think that’s going to be the next big thing,” Zimmern says.

Filipino cuisine has a wide range of influences, including Chinese, as indicated by its use of noodles (pancit), fried rice (sinangang) and spring rolls (lumpia). Fish sauce and soy sauce are also common in Filipino dishes. Indonesian and Malaysian influences are in evidence with Filipinos use of coconut milk and rice—especially in desserts. The use of chili can also be seen, but most Filipino food goes light on spices.

While Filipino food hasn’t reached mainstream America yet, Zimmern believes it will start to take off on the West coast first. “San Diego is now a big enough ethnic population of Filipinos that chefs are going there and seeing stuff. I think it’ll creep up into Los Angeles and from there go around the rest of the country,” he predicts.

You can find one example of Filipino food in New Orleans right now, at the pop-up restaurant Milkfish, inside Marie’s Bar. Head chef Cristina Quackenbush, quoted at Today.com says “I have grown up cooking Filipino food from my mother and learning homemade-from-scratch fare from my grandmother. She had 20 acres of land in which she had planted every fruit and vegetable you can think of!”

Quackenbush describes her cuisine as the soul food of Southeast Asia. “I definitely think (Filipino food) is gaining popularity,” she says. “I have never encountered anyone that I have fed that did not like it!”

One popular ingredient in many Filipino dishes you might be surprised to discover: Spam. The gelatinous meat was commonly used during World War II and is still a popular ingredient in Filipino cooking.

Spam or no Spam, it will be fun to watch and see if Filipino cuisine will indeed become the “next big thing.”

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