I once wrote a grad school paper that tried to account for the number of Filipino immigrants in the greater New York area while pointing out that there were hardly any Filipino restaurants. My theory? The history of Filipino immigration to the Unites States was unique in a number of ways, namely that there have been four distinct waves of immigration to the U.S. — each one dominated by skilled, English-speaking women (nurses!). If you already have a steady, well-paying job, you don’t need to open up restaurants, which historically has been the path of many other immigrant populations.

Is my theory correct? Who knows? In the end, the problem remains the same: Filipino food is so delicious, but not so easy to find. To remedy the dearth of Filipino takeout options, we will all just have to make our own Filipino food at home. What follows is hands-down one of the most delicious things you will ever eat. I like to think of it as Filipino meat candy.

If you want to be super-extra authentic, you can track down some Filipino-style fish sauce, known as patis, for this recipe. It’s on Amazon! Otherwise, use what you can get your hands on (nam pla, colatura, etc). Some types of fish sauce are saltier and more concentrated; some are sweeter and some are stinkier. Use what you can find. The idea is just to add an extra layer of umami-laden flavor.

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Photos: Gabi Porter.