Chef Dave Mallari, owner of The Sinful Kitchen on Brighton Avenue, calls Filipino cuisine “the underdog of the culinary world.”

He’s hoping to introduce more Mainers to Filipino flavors on Aug. 31, when he collaborates with chef Yana Gilbuena on her SALO pop-up dinner project at the O’Maine Studio & Media Kitchen on Danforth Street in Portland. For the past couple of years, Gilbuena has been traveling across the United States and Canada, cooking Filipino food in any venue that will have her, in an effort to introduce more people to her native cuisine.

At the dinners, food is presented on banana leaves in the center of the table, and guests eat with their hands “kamayan style.” The Portland dinner will also feature a traditional Filipino folk dance demonstration, including a performance of the Filipino Tinikling Dance, the traditional bamboo dance of the Philippines. Dancers imitate the movements of the tikling bird as they maneuver between bamboo poles.

Gilbuena travels with just her knives, sourcing all of her ingredients locally. Think Lobster Kinilaw (a Filipino ceviche) with pineapples and mangoes for the Maine dinner.

Filipino food is expected to grow in popularity this year, partly because of a national Filipino food movement and also because of the increased availability of ingredients on grocery store shelves. Sterling-Rice Group, a food-and-beverage industry consultant, said in a recent report that “advanced Asian” fare, including Filipino food, will be the top culinary trend this year.

Mallari doesn’t want local interest in Filipino food to fade away after the pop-up dinner at O’Maine Studios, so after the event he plans to host monthly Filipino dinners at his restaurant.


The Aug. 31 dinner costs $65 per person and includes the meal plus a selection of specialty drinks, wines and Rising Tide beers. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

VIP tickets cost $100 each and include a private reception and demonstration with Gilbuena from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are available online or by calling (207) 899-1730.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

Twitter: MeredithGoad

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.