The Filipino food scene in San Diego is arguably the best in Southern California, so head to National City to find these classic Filipino dishes.
A favorite from Tita’s Kitchenette is their lumpia: deep-fried Filipino spring rolls filled with mixed vegetables and minced meat. Enjoy them as a snack to share with friends or simply pair with white rice for a meal. Either way, hot and crunchy lumpia is best when dipped in its accompanying signature dip—a sweet-and-sour red sauce that balances the lumpia’s savory filling.
Get them at Tita’s Kitchenette, 2720 East Plaza Boulevard, National City
One of the best sellers of Manila Sunset is their pancit Malabon, a stir-fried, yellow-orange rice noodle dish topped with shrimp, vegetables, chicharon, and slices of boiled eggs. Everything is coated in patis (fish sauce), and a generous squeeze of lemon over top goes a long way. It’s quite difficult to find pancit Malabon—especially one that’s just as good as Manila Sunset’s—at other restaurants in San Diego.
Find them at Manila Sunset, 925 East Plaza Blvd, National City
Chicken adobo is a popular dish inside and outside of the Filipino community and one of the restaurants that does this dish justice is Villa Manila (they also are the only place in town to go for a traditional Kamayan meal). The chicken is moist and tender, and the adobo sauce is packed with flavor from vinegar, soy, garlic, black pepper, and bay leaves. Its tangy and slightly sour taste pairs well with white rice—or kick it up a notch and order it with garlic rice.
Find it at Villa Manila, 500 East 8th Street, National City