Filipino Food Festival 2022
The Filipino Food Festival is the result of a partnership between the Philippine-Louisiana Historical Society (PLHS), the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of the Philippines in New Orleans, and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB). On April 23 from 12-4 at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Filipino chefs will offer up a selection of Filipino cuisine.
- Halo Halo: (Mix Mix) a popular dessert in the Philippines made up of crushed ice covered with evaporated milk or coconut milk, and topped by an assortment of colorful ingredients, a scoop of ice cream (ube or mango), and rice crispies. Topping options may include ube haleya (sweet purple yam), sweet kidney or garbanzo beans, coconut strips, sago, jackfruit, cubed taro root or yams, flan, and preserves.
- Siopao: a steamed bun filled with either chicken or pork. The Filipino version of a popular Asian bun.
- Kinilaw: fresh seafood and vegetables marinated in vinegar, calamansi, onion, ginger, salt, and black pepper. The Filipino version of ceviche.
- Ginataang Baboy: braised pork in coconut milk and coconut cream. A dish with origins in the Bicol region.
- Adobong Manok Sa Gatâ: chicken adobo in coconut milk.
- Atchara: Gata-style pickled green papaya salad.
- Ube Turon: a rice-paper roll filled with ube haleya (sweet purple yam), deep fried, and topped with an ube coconut glaze and toasted coconut.
Cebu Litson & Grill
- Lechon: a whole roasted pig. The Filipino version of the cochon de lait.
- Pork BBQ Skewers: grilled pork on a skewer. A popular street food in the Philippines.
- Humba: tender (hum) pork (ba), a Visayan braised pork dish like the classic adobo.
- BAM-I (Pancit Bisaya): chopped pork belly and mushrooms with two types of noodles, pancit canton (flour noodle) and sotanghon (bean thread). A dish with origins in Central Visayas, specifically Cebu.
- Pork Adobo: pork braised in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black pepper.
- Bagoong Brussels: Brussel sprouts and other veggies roasted with bagoong, a Philippine condiment of salty fermented shrimp.
- Ube Cheesecake: cheesecake made with a base of crushed graham crackers and an upper layer of cream cheese and ube halaya (sweet purple yam).
About the Chefs
Crisitina Quackenbush was born in Malabon, Philippines, and raised on a farm in southern Indiana where her love of cooking developed. She headed to the South to expand her culinary skills, and after 25 years of learning every aspect of the restaurant industry, she opened the first Filipino restaurant in New Orleans in 2014. After four years of introducing Filipino food to the community, Milkfish closed its doors in 2017.
Quackenbush won “Best Southeast Asian Restaurant of the Year” in 2014. Her recipes have been published in many cookbooks, including The New Filipino Kitchen and Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans. She’s also been featured in many food shows. An HBOMax episode of Take Out with Lisa Ling highlighted her mentorship to younger chefs in the South. Quackenbush encourages them to be true to themselves as chefs and to stay passionate about Filipino food, culture, and community.
Quackenbush continues to offer the public Filipino food and community through pop-ups and kamayan dinners. These events bring all her “food fans” together and create relationships that go beyond the meal. “People come to eat my food, and leave making connections with people,” she said. “It’s so great to witness.”
Quackenbush is the doting mother to five children and six grandchildren. Her family bonds around Filipino food. “All my kids know how to cook Filipino food. They’ve all been my biggest support throughout my culinary journey,” she said. “I’m the happiest when I get to share my Filipino food with them and my community.”
Roni Dacula and his partner Erin Schott established Gatâ to emphasize Filipino regional cuisine. They selected the name Gatâ to honor the Bicol roots of Dacula’s mother and grandmother. The Tagalog word for coconut milk, gatâ is a staple ingredient in recipes from provinces in the southern Philippines.
Although Dacula grew up in Manila and hasn’t visited the Bicol region, he recognizes the cultural influences of his mother and grandmother. “My mother and Lola are Bicolana at heart and it translated through their cooking.” Dacula said. “I thank the women who helped raise me because they shaped me into who I am as an individual and a chef.”
In the coconut, Dacula sees a symbol for diversity and adaptability. Dacula immigrated to the US in 2009 from Manila. He initially pursued a career in healthcare, but found an undeniable passion for the culinary arts and an opportunity to introduce New Orleans to Filipino regional cuisines
Dacula brings the cultural influences of his Filipino upbringing to his new home in Louisiana, demonstrating how he is both Filipino and Louisiana.
“Gatâ has always been about cooking what I grew up eating as a way to share with my new community what I was homesick for,” Dacula said. “My goal is to not only push the Filipino food movement further in Louisiana but also to share how deeply rooted my own history is in both Manila and New Orleans.”
Cebu Litson & Grill
Loy Madrigal was born and raised in Cebu, Philippines. His passion for cooking started at a young age when he helped with the family restaurant and learned to appreciate the cooking style of his Aunt Lita.
In 2020, Madrigal opened Cebu Litson & Grill on the Westbank. Cebu Litson features a regular menu of Filipino foods and on special occasions offers the popular litson or lechon, shorthand for baboy lechon (roasted pig).
At Cebu Litson, you will most likely find Madrigal managing the grill or working in the kitchen with his wife and mother. “I am just a cook who loves to eat, and share my food,” he said.
Madrigal is an active member of the Philippine-Louisiana Historical Society who sees Cebu Litson as a space “where food meets history.” The walls of Cebu Litson display his interest in the history of Filipinos in Louisiana with mages of St. Malo and Manila Village connecting the restaurant to a long history of Filipinos settling in Louisiana.
Like the Filipino fishermen who settled in South Louisiana in the 19th and 20th centuries, Madrigal has an affinity for the sea and its natural resources. He founded Guardians of the Seas, a volunteer organization to protect the fisheries around Cebu. The organization preserves the natural resources of the region and protects the livelihoods of local fishermen by combatting illegal fishing. “I look out for the smaller fisherman,” Madrigal said, “because no one else will.”
Read more about Madrigal and Cebu Litson in the Gambit.
Michael Bruno credits his love for food to his Filipino and Italian heritage. Bruno was born in the Bronx and grew up in New York and Florida. In 2019, he moved to New Orleans to work as a line cook at Shaya, but lost his job when the pandemic hit.
Bruno and his partner Ruby Ruhala started Kusina, a pop-up, that regularly appears at venues like Gasa-Gasa and Miel Brewery.
“After always dreaming of cooking Filipino food for people, and seeing the need for it in the city, I decided to start Kusina,” Bruno said. “Bringing Filipino food to the mainstream is a collective effort, and we’re very proud to be a part of it.”
Bruno serves a blend of the traditional and the contemporary. His menu includes traditional pork adobo alongside recipes that add Filipino flavors to popular western foods. Bruno cooks Brussel sprouts with bagoong, a fermented shrimp paste. He makes a cheesecake that features a common Filipino desert item, ube helaya (sweet purple yam).
Read more about Bruno in the Gambit.