Diners looking for a unique twist on the flavors of the Philippines can satisfy their craving for something both familiar and fun at Tacolipino, a Filipino-Mexican fusion restaurant in Carson, California. This cozy eatery with a come-as-you are atmosphere serves re-imagined favorites, as well as finely executed classic dishes in healthy portions, all prepared according to each patron’s tastes and specific requests.
Richly textured sisig tacos and burritos are Tacolipino’s most popular dishes.Tender shredded pork with crispy skin is sauteed in onion, garlic, and bell peppers, as well as jalapeno for a customizable splash of heat. It comes served with a vinegary sauce that adds a bright layer of acidity to the savory and moist white meat.
Other choices for burrito meats include adobo, carne asada, and bistek. Tacos can be topped with the same options, as well as fish, pork al pastor or shrimp. Customers can order a combination of any three varieties for $6 a la carte, or $8.99 served with pico de gallo, pinto or black beans, red or green salsa, and their choice of mexican rice or garlic fried rice.
Crispy bagnet with house coconut & red chile sauce is another standout white meat dish that fans of fusion cuisine shouldn’t miss. For $11.99, cooks deep fry pork bellies before cutting them into cubes, which gives the meat a satisfyingly crunchy exterior, while leaving it soft and juicy in the middle. A sweet, creamy, and mildly spicy coconut and red chile sauce is poured over deep fried decadence. A liberal dose of pico de gallo and mango on top of it all completes the colorful and intricately flavorful dish.
Tacolipino is one of only a handful of sit-down restaurants in southern California offering a hybrid of Filipino and Mexican cuisine, according to Restaurant Manager Arnel Clemente. He says the blend works because their recipes are inspired by an indirect history of exchange between the two cultures via colonial Spain.
Tacolipino also serves a rendition of kare kare that would give any lola’s recipe a run for its money. For $14.99 Oxtail and Tripe are cooked to fall-off-the-bone tenderness along with bok-choy and green beans in a filling peanut, onion and garlic stew. The dish is topped
by eggplants that are pan seared separately to keep them from taking on a rubbery texture.
Vegetarians can find a variety of enticing options like chop suey, ginataan gulay (veggies cooked with coconut milk), or lumpia sariwa (fresh spring rolls).
Clemente says staff at Tacolipino will re-invent menu items to accommodate dietary constraints. He recalls serving an adapted version of lumpia sariwa that was a big hit with the restaurant’s very first vegan customers.
He also recommends their offerings from the North West Coast of the Philippines like the Ilocos empanadas or dinakdakan.
“Be open minded,” says Clemente, who hopes people will explore what his restaurant has to offer.
Tacolipino shines a new light on some of your favorite flavors at 22005 S Main St., Carson, CA 90745. They serve breakfast all day, and their dining room is open from 11am to 9 pm, Monday through Friday, and 7 am till 9pm on the weekends. For pick-up orders and catering dial (310)-803-9989.
Online ordering for pickup coming soon. (AJPress)