You can not help but fall in love with owners JP Reyes and Kristen Brillantes of The Sarap Shop. With his cooking chops and her passion for business they have created some of the most innovative and tasty “meals on wheels” in the bay area. If you have ever thought about opening your own food truck or you’re a sucker for love stories, I recommend checking out their article – How We Opened A Food Truck In 6 Days. It’s pretty amazing.
From the moment I read the menu with dishes like “I love my adobro” and “Why you laing” I was sold. The Sarap Shop uses their sense of humor and playfulness to make Filipino food approachable for everyone. Their menu has 50% vegan and 50% meat offerings and are all unapologetically Filipino-American. The portions are huge and all of their dishes have that classic American comfort food feel with a Filipino twist. Sarap, meaning something that is delicious and makes you feel good, defines their food. Filipino food to JP means bringing people together. He describes his culture as “welcoming” and I agree with that 100%. His truck is family run and everyone pulls shifts as needed.
The vegan sisig sandwich, which JP claims started it all, consists of diced tofu cooked with vinegar and serrano chilies, stuffed in pita bread with French fries, cornices (Filipino corn nuts) and cabbage slaw, drizzled with tamarind-garlic aioli. I found it much easier to eat with a fork than to pick it up and eat it like a sandwich. It’s a hot mess (and I mean that in the best of ways) and it is ridiculously delicious.
The I love my Adobro over rice is a plate made up of crispy pork belly cooked in soy, vinegar and garlic, rice colored neon yellow with annatto seed, sweet corn and truck-made pickled bitter melon.
They have fun with their version of lumpia creating sort of a take on the jalapeño popper. Whole serrano chilies are scooped out, stuffed with ground pork and vegetables, wrapped in a lumpia wrapper and deep fried. They are served authentically with sweet chile sauce, which actually calms the heat of the spicy serranos down a bit. Warning, these are a bit addictive.
JP plans to eventually sell hot sauces and beverages called “coolers” with flavors like Jasime and pineapple in addition to their truck grub. I had to laugh one day when I was speaking with a good friend of mine who is married to a Filipino. She said she wishes she could eat Filipino food but she cant because she is a vegetarian. I smiled and said, “I know just the place for you”.
Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and experience host whose writing focuses on cooking, holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made foods.