HOUSTON - If there is anything to be said about Houston, it's that it is the most diverse place in the United States.
Behind the 140 plus languages spoken in Houston, are ways of life that color Houston as a vibrant melting pot of cultures living side by side, unlike many places in America, where culture exists in segregated pockets. You can see it just by looking down the street at food.
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However, Business Insider, Bloomberg, Vogue and the renown food critic Anthony Bourdain are among dozens of outlets claiming that Filipino food will be the "next big thing."
On Thursday KPRC2's Rose-Ann Aragon is visiting a local Filipino Food Truck Flip 'n Patties, which earned racked up accolades locally and nationally about the robust culture and inspiration behind its food and why Filipino food, is more than just a "trend."
"Our minds, souls and tummies have been enlightened and we plan on sharing this experience through our food truck," is a quote pulled from Flip 'n Patties website.
Enlightening and bringing, "family" together to experience good food is what this team of five takes pride in.
Flip 'n Patties is a local food truck that has been grabbing national attention. It was the center of an episode on the Food Network's Eat Street, Vox Media's popular online food site, Eater, featured by major Filipino TV network GMA, and several popular food blog sites.
Co-creater Donramon Jante said it all started as a hobby inside his family home with his cousin, co-creator, Michael Jante.
"My Tita (aunt) Merna helped me out with a lot of the ingredients, so we cooked that at my house, made a lot of things, served it, and we came up with this idea," said Don Jante
In 2012, Don Jante and Michael Jante, who both grew up in the Houston area, created this food truck.
"Our vision was basically to bridge the gap between FIlipino Food and American food," said Don Jante. "Hopefully we're doing that. The bridge is kind of broken, but we're trying to get there. We make Filipino-infused American food."
Dishes that these creators said while they are glad Filipino food is being talked about, what makes it more than just a trend is where the inspiration comes from. A culture of family that drives their lives' work.
Almost all their dishes are inspired by recipes used and shared by generations of their Filipino families. These dishes are very much the heart and soul of what they love about Filipino culture family.
"Our upbringing, family, we've combined everything we've been taught by moms, grandmas, uncles, aunties. All that good stuff," said Don Jante.
The truck, plastered with art, phrases and pictures of food, is where the menu lies. The trucks has more than a dozen dishes, many featuring unique names related to concepts or words that are Filipino.
"Our love for burgers is what made us want to infuse Filipino food with American food," said Don Jante.
Siopao is a Filipino-Chinese, white, steamed bun, usually filled with a meat. Not here. At this food truck, not only can you get Siopao, but it is also the bread of many of the burgers.
"We used to make steamed siopao, so we made that our bun," Don Jante said while cutting open the real thing. "This right here is where it all started the siopao. It's a very very long process to cook this recipe. It's double cooked, super juicy and tender, and it has asado from Batangas."
Barbecued meat from a country that Don Jante and his team loves. The Philippines is a country with unique history where the food has influence from many countries.
"Everyone owned the Philippines, so there are influences from Spain, China, Vietnam, everywhere," said Don Jante.
There are some dishes that are closer to dishes you would see served on the tables of families in the Philippines.
A popular dish is the Longsilog, a food that is usually eaten at breakfast in the Philippines with an egg, longganisa (Filipino sausage) and garlic rice.
"The longganisa we made our own," said Don Jante.
In Flip 'n Patties, they hand-grind their longganisa meat and serve it in a bun form, using responsibly sourced meat and ingredients.
The menu is also full of character and unique to the team who crafted the menu.
One of the most popular dishes is "The Puet," which means, "The Butt," in Tagalog, the Philippine's most spoken language.
"Hand-cut chicken thighs, "Don Jante said laughing, looking at his teammates for approval. "Right near the butt. Breaded, fried and topped with our super magical Unicorn Sauce."
The "Unicorn" sauce is sweet, brown, red, highlighting unnamed Filipino flavors and sauces. It is used on almost every burger. The team, consisting by Cameron Terry, a burger flipper, Emman Maritegue, a sous chef, and John Norris, a head burger topper, won't name its ingredients.
"It's a secret," said Norris, while he watched the sauce steam on a burger in the truck.
There is the Flip 'n Patties burger, which includes a Siopao bun with deep fried mushroom, bacon, and an all beef patty, and of course, Unicorn sauce.
Perhaps we will never know, but what is known is that the feeling of "family" is something that resonates as what bring the "experience" to dining at Flip 'n Patties.
There is a karaoke machine inside the truck. Yes, they sing and have events where they cook food and sing karaoke.
"Filipinos love to sing. We're pretty corny. We love to sing and dance," said Don Jante.
Top chefs like Bourdain reportedly predict that more palettes in America will be ready for Filipino food, which he predicts win more and more hearts. However, Flip 'n Patties said what has always won hearts, since they started in 2012, is the experience of the food.
"We thrive on knowing out people, and giving a crap about our people, and we love family. We love to build a family atmosphere," said Don Jante. "We hope that everyone enjoys the atmosphere the vibe that we create, the food that we make, the passion that we put into the food," said Don Jante.
Don Jante said one day he wants to open up a restaurant.
"Build a brick and mortar so people can sit down and bring their families, enjoy the people, the dancing, the singing," said Don Jante.
It is food seasoned with the feeling of family.
"We hope they go away experiencing something more than just food," said Don Jante.
For more information, you can visit http://www.flipnpatties.com.
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