They say home is where the heart is. Nobody knows this better than the Filipino-Americans.
In the United States, the Filipino immigrant story is a vibrant one. But it is a story that is not without its challenges. For those who grew up in the Philippines, the biggest obstacle has always been homesickness. For the Filipino born and raised in the US, it is reconciling geography with cultural heritage.
In the 1960s, the first wave of Filipinos came to America. With their arrival began the struggle to find products that were sariling atin, meaning “truly ours”.
Back then, Filipino-Americans would wander into Asian grocery stores looking for anything familiar – bagoong, chicharon, pansit bihon, or tuyo. They’d leave having settled for similar versions. Indonesian acar in place of atchara, Malaysian singgang instead of sinigang, Chinese rice cakes standing in for bibingka.
While these delicacies from our Asian neighbors provided some semblance of Filipino flavors, close to home just wasn’t close enough. This soon changed.