Filipino food

Tradisyon, Purple Patch put their spin on Filipino cuisine

Jannelle So Productions

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Tradisyon, Purple Patch put their spin on Filipino cuisine
The Filipino owners of US-based restaurants Tradisyon and Purple Patch say they want to serve authentic, but elevated, Filipino food in their communities

This story is published in partnership with SoJannelleTV, a magazine show about Filipinos in North America

There are few things that connect Filipinos to their culture more than food. The month of April was declared Filipino Food Month in 2018 through Presidential Proclamation 469, giving a platform for Filipinos to celebrate their rich culinary history.

Filipino food takes on even greater significance abroad, with restaurants serving as unofficial Filipino cultural hubs. So Jannelle TV took a look at two standout Filipino restaurants in the United States – Tradisyon in New York City and Purple Patch in Washington D.C. – and how they have put their own spin on staples of Filipino cuisine.

Tradisyon, which is based in Midtown Manhattan, started out of necessity for a pair of New York-based chefs, Anton Dayrit and Bianca Vicente. The two couldn’t find any Filipino restaurants that delivered to Midtown, so they decided to start their own. They partnered with former Philippine Department of Tourism marketing coordinator Joey Chanco and settled on the idea of developing a fast casual restaurant which was accessible to other audiences while remaining faithful to the traditional flavors.

They opened in March of 2020 – just a week before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the world – but have survived thanks to the public’s love for their dishes.

“We want to do traditional Filipino food on an upscale level. We wouldn’t want super Filipino food that only Filipinos and Asians could eat, and we didn’t want to do Americanized Filipino food the Filipinos are not going to love. We wanted to be right smack in the middle where everyone can appreciate it,” Chanco told Filipino-American media pioneer Jannelle So-Perkins in an interview with So Jannelle TV, a Filipino-American lifestyle magazine show which airs US-wide on cable channels The Filipino Channel (TFC) and ANC; as well as on local Southern CA digital channel KNET 25.1; and is also available on social media platforms.

Tradisyon, Purple Patch put their spin on Filipino cuisine

Among their most popular dishes are kare-kare, which has a thicker than usual sauce that is made from a base that includes their preferred brand of bagoong. Another crowd favorite is squid adobo, which uses squid ink sparingly so as to avoid being overwhelming.

What’s the secret to their flavorful dishes? It begins with the ingredients, of course. The chefs select the best soy sauce, fish sauce, rice, and other ingredients, even if the brand isn’t a Filipino company, to get the right taste that they’re after. Another priority is making the presentation appear more lively, using herbs and other vegetables to break out of the monotony of brown-colored dishes, while making them more healthy and nutritious as well.

“Our goal is to really brighten up that brown, unhealthy food and actually make it really appetizing to other people,” said Chanco.

Tradisyon, Purple Patch put their spin on Filipino cuisine

When people hear the name Purple Patch, they usually assume that it has to do with the color of the ube yams or halo-halo. But Patrice Cleary, who opened up this Filipino restaurant in 2015, says the inspiration for the name comes from a British term her Australian ex-husband once told her which means a period of success and good fortune.

Cleary, who was born in Bicol to a Filipino mother and an Irish-American father, says the inspiration for her menu has always been the dishes her mother had cooked for her as a child. She adds her own spin to the dishes, making them stand out from the traditional fare.

“My direction for Purple Patch really was to just represent Filipino food in my own way. Highlight the food that I grew up on and then elevate it right but stay true to who I am at the same time. I will change directions and maneuver back and forth when I feel comfortable and not when somebody else thinks I should do it,” said Cleary, who is also the restaurant’s head chef.

Tradisyon, Purple Patch put their spin on Filipino cuisine

Some of the most popular dishes in the restaurant include mushroom adobo, a completely vegan dish that blends oyster, trumpet, and shiitake mushrooms in coconut milk. Purple Patch also offers a miso caesar salad, which combines romaine lettuce and kale with poached shrimp, hard boiled egg yolk and parmesan with white miso dressing, and a red snapper relleno, which is comprise of red snapper fillet with panko, lump crab, tomatoes, onions, and scallions in beurre blanc sauce.

After nearly a decade running her own restaurant, Cleary has learned that there are plenty of ups and downs to overcome in order to stay the course. She advises people who are opening their own business to find mentors who will give them honest advice, and to always stay in their own lane and remain true to their mission.

“You really have to have the intestinal fortitude to know that things happen and you’ve got to find your way back,” said Cleary. “When opening up a business you can’t pretend to know everything. There isn’t a restaurant 101 book that you can grab off the shelf and it tells you if this happens and to do this. Because I think everything is happening as it goes.” – Jannelle So Productions |

Rappler is partnering with Jannelle So Productions Inc (JSP), founded by Filipino-American pioneer and Los Angeles-based journalist Jannelle So, to publish video and written stories from SoJannelleTV about the journeys, successes, and challenges of Filipinos living in America.

Check out So Jannelle TV daily for stories that make you pause, reflect, and appreciate who we are and what we are as a people. 

Sundays, 4:30pm PT / 7:30pm ET on The Filipino Channel (TFC)
Mondays, 6:00pm on KNET Channel 25.1 Southern California
Replay on Saturdays, 7:30pm PT / 10:30pm ET on ANC North America
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