Go Deep into Filipino Cuisine, at Kulinary Confidential

The two-week festival of Filipino cuisine (April 1-14) comes with pop-ups, food crawls — and secret items.

Photo by Albert Law

Since San Francisco is such a food town, it’s only logical that its new crop of cultural districts would promote themselves in a culinary manner. Next month, in conjunction with the nonprofit Undiscovered SF — who’ve thrown monthly night markets and a number of outstanding festivals in the past — SOMA Pilipinas is doing so in an ambitious way.

Over two weeks, from April 1-14, Kulinary Confidential will bring together seven restaurants and 16 chefs to highlight the Filipino heritage of the neighborhood that spans Market to Brannan streets and Second to 11th streets. From JT’s and Mestiza to Little Skillet and Señor Sisig, everyone’s got something to share. But beyond just the standard dishes at a given eatery, holders of festival passports ($48 each for Week 1 or Week 2) can experience secret, off-menu items like dinuguan at Manila Bowl or a “mystery bag of goodies” at Sarap Shop. Further, six pop-up dinners ($65-$90) will showcase the talents of various chefs, including No Forks Given author Yana Gilbuena as she takes diners on a six-course, island-hopping odyssey with lots of burnt coconut curry with chicken and crab fat fried rice (April 8, at Mestiza).

It’s all part of SOMA Pilipinas’ larger project of securing the neighborhood’s place in both San Francisco history and American culture writ large; the Bay Area, after all, is home to the largest concentration of Filipino-Americans in the U.S. And a portion of the week-long passports and one-off tickets to various events goes toward Balboa High School’s Tagalog immersion trip, for which 20 or more students will get to go to the Philippines. It’s technically your mission, should you choose to accept the task of eating eight Filipino meals in seven days. But who wouldn’t?

Kulinary Konfidential,  April 1-14, at various venues in and around SOMA Pilipinas, week-long passports $48, undiscoveredsf.com/kulinary-confidential

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