‘The Filipino Kitchen’ Highlights the Personal Stories Behind Filipino Food

Jacqueline Lauri has worked internationally as a restaurateur and food writer for more than a decade, but she said she often struggles with explaining the cuisine of her home country, the Philippines.

“What exactly is Filipino food? As a Filipino, I myself struggle to answer that question,” said Lauri, who is currently based in Norway.

She said that challenge of accurately describing a cuisine that draws from a multitude of countries — including China, Spain, and the U.S. — coupled with what she called “rising anti-immigrant sentiment” around the world, inspired her upcoming cookbook anthology, “The Migrant Filipino Kitchen.”

The collection, scheduled to be released in fall 2018, will feature recipes from chefs — including White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford — food writers, and food enthusiasts of Filipino heritage from various countries, including the U.S., New Zealand, and Norway.

Each recipe will also include a personal story from the contributor, making it a part-cookbook, part-memoir from the Filipino diaspora.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Filipinos constitute the third largest Asian group living in the country, with an estimated population of around 3.8 million. The Philippine Statistics Authority estimated that up to 2.2 million workers of Filipino descent worked outside of the Philippines in 2016.

or me, food is so much more than something we put in our mouths. It has a lot to do with culture, with identity and, most of all, empathy,” Lauri said. “The book is as much about Filipino people as it is about Filipino food.”

Filipino cuisine is having a moment: This past June, TV host Anthony Bourdain spoke about the cuisine gaining global recognition and said he plans to include sisig, a pork dish, in his upcoming street food center. In 2012, food personality Andrew Zimmern told TODAY that Filipino food was “the next best thing.”

By Audrey Cleo Yap for NBC News
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