Need to preface this by saying, I’m partially Filipino and take no offense to the affectionate label, “Flip.” In fact, I don’t know any Filipinos who do. So if you’re offended, maybe you’re just not Flip enough. But, I digress.
One of the best reasons to live in the Glendale-Eagle Rock area is for it’s Filipino community and all the food they brought with them. A few years ago, I visited distant family in the Philippines. My takeaways: 1) it’s hot and 2) there are lots of malls 3) Filipinos love to eat socially 4) it’s almost always fatty, deep fried and delicious.
Luckily for you, you can save yourself a 14 hour flight because the Glen-Rock area boasts one of the highest concentration of Filipino establishments outside of Manila. For starters, there’s the Eagle Rock Plaza aka, the Manila Mall.
Among it’s 65 mostly mom n’ pop shops are Goldilocks Bakery and their pan de leche (like Hawaiian sweet bread, but better) and addictive crispy lumpia (mini pork and veggie egg roles) and Jollibee, the Philippines answer to McDonald’s, but better. Seriously, imagine all the fast food you love, just more flavorful and with an awesome dash of Spam.
Then there’s Eagle Rock Plaza’s anchor, Seafood City. This is an Asian/Flip foodie’s paradise because everything you’d ever need can be found here from several dozen varieties of fish sauce to fresh seafood and rice steamers. Do not attempt to come here on a weekend because you’ll be separated from your group. It’s a madhouse.
Further up on Colorado is Arko Foods. This is a great option if you’re squeezed out of Seafood City. Much smaller in scale, they offer a good selection of fresh produce, meat, seafood and everything you need for a last-minute get together. While you can buy all the ingredients needed to make halo-halo (fruit-based slushy), the main reason I go is to pick up shockingly tasty favorites from their hot food area.
From perfectly vinegary pork adobo, BBQ pork, crispy pata (best crispy pork you’ll ever have)–it’s all here. The long lines attest to the quality, tastiness and freshness. On special days, they even have ginataang (hot sweet, coconut-based dessert). Forget Blanda Express, this is the real deal for the same price.
Down on Eagle Rock Blvd., the other Flip artery, you’ll find another hot food/market option in Lutong Bahay. Tucked in a strip mall, seriously, I couldn’t find it the first few times driving by, it’s a very small grocery store with an awesome hot food area that will make special requests if they’re not too busy. Standouts included the oxtail soup and made from scratch avocado shake. You can eat here (1 table), but this is primarily for take-out.
For a full-fledged dining experience there’s Fiesta Sa Barrio (Eagle Rock), not to be confused with Barrio Fiesta (Glendale). Fiesta Sa Barrio is way better and owned by a lovely married couple (she cooks, he serves) and to date, still has the best crispy pata I’ve had in Los Angeles. There’s also Max’s of Manila in Glendale if you want a deluxe dinner venue with tasty fried chicken. Now that my arteries are thoroughly, virtually clogged, go out there an explore!
Eagle Rock Plaza/Seafood City, 2700 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 543-2660
Arko Foods, 1425 E. Colorado St., Glendale (818) 242-5921
Lutong Bahay, Eagle Rock Blvd. and Verdugo, Los Angeles, (323) 255-7827
Fiesta Sa Barrio, 4326 Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 256-4380
Max’s of Manila, 313 W. Broadway, Glendale, (818) 637-7751