Monday, March 5, 2012

Finding Filipino Food in the Twin Cities

by Phyllis Louise Harris
March 2012

The food of the Philippine Islands is not always easy to find in the Twin Cities, but now there are three opportunities to sample this wonderful cuisine.

Mena-li Canlas, known as the “cake lady” in the Filipino community, is now offering a Pinoy Brunch and Merienda featuring some of her favorite dishes at Tita Li’s Kitchen in the Pines Market in Circle Pines, Minnesota.  Every Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm diners can eat in the convenience store or take out a variety of Filipino dishes including pansit, lonsilog, dinuguan, mechado, lumpia, ube cake, puto, empanada, and more.  The menu varies from week to week and is available on  The market is at 2 South Pine Drive, Circle Pines.  Or call 763-432-0768.

Phil. Oriental Foods is a great resource for the ingredients from the Philippine Islands as well items from India, Africa, Thailand and more.  They also made room in a corner of the market for Jun Maniago who offers a variety of freshly made Filipino dishes to take out every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Call or stop by for the day’s specials. Phil.-Oriental Imports, 789 University Avenue West, St. Paul.  Call 651-292-1325.

The twenty-fifth annual Philippines Day celebration will be held in St. Paul’s Landmark Center on Sunday, March 25 from 12 noon to 4 pm.  Each year hundreds of people attend this festive celebration filled with food, music, dancers, singers and items from the Philippines.  The event is free and filled with an afternoon of fun.  The program begins at 1:00 pm so you can sit and enjoy the show or still see it while you wander around the center buying a variety of treats and trinkets.  While the food differs from year to year there is sure to be adobo and halu-halo as well as a variety of freshly made sweets.  Sponsored by the Cultural Society of Filipino Americans (CSFA) this year the program will showcase the CSFA Dance Troupe and the many talents of the Filipino Community.  The Landmark Center is at 75 5th Street West in downtown St. Paul.