“Amboy” is Tagalog slang for an American-born Filipino. It’s how Cailan defines himself, as well as the name of his latest venture, a burger counter and butcher shop in LA’s Chinatown.
Nearly a decade earlier, he birthed a food truck called Eggslut, which earned a following for its namesake dish, a coddled egg atop a chive-flecked potato puree. Food writer Ruth Reichl deemed it “heaven in a spoon.” Long lines followed, then a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
You’ll find that recipe for his post-culinary school, breakout creation in “Amboy.” But the heart of the book comes in recipes such as his great-grandmother’s Patis Fried Chicken brined in Filipino fish sauce; Pan de sal (sweet rolls) inspired by “my latchkey Costco kid life;” and Lechon (roast pork) that includes instructions for building a fire pit.
Lacking the backyard and the will to pull that off, I gave Hot Silog a try instead: crispy skillet-seared hot dogs served with fluffy, soy-seasoned Garlic Fried Rice (sinangag) and a sunny side up egg. It was an unexpected and delicious combination that offered a glimpse into the Filipino-American food experience, and made me hungry to learn more.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
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