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Amboy: Recipes from the Filipino-American Dream Hardcover – Illustrated, August 25, 2020

4.7 out of 5 stars 560 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Ever since I first tasted the Eggslut truck, I knew the food was special, and when I met Alvin, I understood why. He’s a wonderful person whose love of food shines through in every bite.”  —Seth Rogen  “I think Alvin has an uncanny ability to manifest what is just so perfectly of-the-moment, but always just a bit before all of us know that yes, that’s EXACTLY what we all want and need right now. His delicious food is the stuff that you crave and think about for days and weeks after. This book is an amazing window into his life and process.”  —Chef Daniel Humm  “Any book that starts out with a method for cooking rice is right on as far as I am concerned! Alvin begins there and sets out on a journey that tells the story of his personal and culinary life, stopping along the way to share the recipes of his family, his influences from the restaurant world and the side trips he has taken on his way to becoming the well-rounded chef and pied piper for the Filipino food movement that he is today. From beef & cabbage soup to Filipino/Japanese curry, this book will draw you along from story to story, recipe to recipe, and give you a glimpse into the mind of a fiercely creative and driven man told in a voice that is true and real.”  —Andy Ricker   “Be it in the sheen of a custardy egg on brioche or across millions of YouTube players each week, Alvin has been a passionate and inspirational fixture in the modern culinary pantheon. Now, in his debut cookbook, he shares his knowledge, his creativity, and his Filipino-American experience through every insightful story and mouthwatering recipe."  —Andrew Rea, creator of Binging with Babish    "This wild ride of a collection has bluster, but also heart and personality to spare." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Alvin Cailan's career began with a classical French culinary education at Oregon Culinary Institute, followed b stints at some of the West Coast's finest restaurants. Chef Alvin first grabbed the public's attention as a trailblazer in the culinary world when he launched the Eggslut food truck in Los Angeles. The truck rapidly became a foodie cult favorite and it remains one of the most popular food destinations in L.A, with long lines every day at the Grand Central Market location. Alvin then turned his attention to supporting other aspiring restaurateurs and to the promotion of Los Angeles's Filipino food movement. Soon, Unit 120, Chef Alvin's pop-up kitchen space, became the incubator for Amboy, his critically acclaimed Filipino food venture, along with the award-winning Filipino restaurant LASA. Chef Alvin is now focusing on his true passion: bolstering the modern Filipino food movement across the country, and today, he is arguably America's most high-profile champion of it. He is planning to open his next restaurant, Amboy, in Los Angeles soon. He has been featured in prestigious publications like Bon AppetitFood and Wine, and Bloomberg. Alvin is also the host of the hugely popular The Burger Show on the Complex/First We Feast YouTube channel. 

Alexandra Cuerdo is a writer and director, recently named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women In the World by the Filipina Women's Network. Her feature directorial debut,
Ulam: Main Dish, is the first Filipino food documentary to achieve worldwide distribution, which Jonathan Gold called a "love letter" to Filipino food. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, Vogue, TimeOut, Eater and more. She is based in Los Angeles and New York.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harvest; Illustrated edition (August 25, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1328931730
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1328931733
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.8 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7.94 x 1.22 x 10 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 560 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
560 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 25, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars OMG this is the most amazing cookbook of all time!!!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 25, 2020
Update to add a note about the Kindle version: Amazon currently has a warning that “broken navigation” has been reported for this title. If this is true, it is not widespread. Every link I have clicked took me to the correct page, and this title has been very easy to navigate in my experience. Sections and recipes are easy to jump to with links, index has links that work. If there are issues I haven’t experienced them. I highly recommend the kindle version of this book. It’s easy to navigate, image quality is excellent, easy to annotate, highlight, and copy, and you always have the book just one click away. To my mind this is what a kindle cookbook should be, but since I haven’t clicked every single link I can’t say there isn’t one or few links that might be broken? Just don’t be fooled into thinking there is a major formatting problem because there isn’t.

I never thought I’d binge read a cookbook, like a thriller novel turning page after page anxiously to see what is next...but that is exactly what happened. Like every page was a new OH WOW moment for me. I should have prefaced this to say I’ve spend the last couple of years trying to learn to cook Filipino foods, but even beyond that he has included so much more...sauces...stocks everything. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this book. Everything about this from his story to the recipe comes across as honest and sincere. A guy who has a remarkable story and a genuine love of food and wants to share those truths with you in a way you can actually use. As a for instance he starts with his personal technique for cooking the perfect Jasmine rice without a rice cooker. A lot of people might say “I already know how to cook rice” but it is the foundation on which every recipe is built, so he makes sure you know how to do it right. It’s just one example of how he really explains to the home cooks of the world exactly what they need to do for success. He gives brand names he recommends for the ingredients some readers might not be familiar with which is a true rarity in cookbooks, and a real life saver...you might be able to relate if you’ve ever been overwhelmed by all the choices in an Asian grocery store. The photography is so warm and soothing, taken with a real shallow depth of focus and well lit, they are every bit as beautiful as you might expect from a restauranteur who holds the distinction of possibly having created the most instagrammed foods of all time. It feels like a warm soothing dream of comfort foods, which is in a way what this book is all about. And something else that’s remarkable, is there is no ego here. In a day and age when so many celebrity chefs are raging balls of ego, it is so refreshing to find a chef that is just sincerely sharing his love of food and sharing the love for the people who inspired his food love. If you have any interest at all in cooking Filipino food I can categorically tell you this is the best cookbook to get, I have purchased and tried just about every one Amazon sells, and although I have not cooked the recipes from this book yet I can tell from reading them this one is really special. And as a side note, do you know how many Filipino cook books don’t even include a recipe for pan de sal? This may be the only one I’ve found that actually includes it. If there is any justice this cookbook will be an award winning best seller. I will update this review as I cook the recipes, but I have never been so enthusiastic about getting started trying all the recipes in a new cookbook. And Alvin if you happen to read this I want to thank you personally for this. The most special person in my life is Filipina and the food love you shared from your family will be loved and cherished by ours. Much love to you.

Day 1: I made Pan de sal (pictured) and it was the best I’ve made so far. Alvin May disagree that it’s even pan de sal because I chose not to use bread crumbs. But whatever you call it, it was delicious. I also tried making the Jasmine rice by his method and failed miserably. I was waiting for the steam to die down and it too much longer than his guideline and the end result was a gelatinous mess instead of rice. I will have to go back and revisit it to see what went wrong but learn from my mistake: unless you know the method is going to work for you scale it down. I just wasted 4 cups of rice during a pandemic. Not cool. I plan to cut it down to 1/4 next time I try his method. Despite my failure with the rice, I’m still totally geeked out about this book. Tomorrow I will try the hot-si-log for breakfast

Day 2: Hot si-log. This was freaking amazing. My wife says the garlic fried rice is better than the one From her favorite restaurant. it’s legit because that’s pro level. A tip for anyone who wants to score the hotdog, put it between the handles of two wooden spoons so you cut to a uniform depth. Also heads up, you might get confused on the garlic fried rice recipe because he links you to his recipe that calls for 4 cups uncooked rice. This recipe calls for 4 cups, but at least in my interpretation it’s 4 cups of cooked rice (about 1/3 of the recipe he linked to). All I can say for sure is using 4 cups cooked rice is the way I’m doing it because it was pure amazing. I’m making more pan de sal today because we already have requests from the family for some. I’ll update after I make a new dish, probably in a day or two. Oh, one more thing...be sure to get the chives for your fried rice. Flavor magic. Trust me, you don’t want to skip them. Update: we love this and keep making it. Always delicious. But you may want to only add chives to the portion of rice you are serving. Try to leave them out of anything you know will be leftovers that will be reheated. Their flavor really intensifies in the fridge and it can be overpowering by the time you heat up the leftovers. It’s best to add them fresh if you can.

Day 3: The signature dish from Eggslut. Coddled eggs over buttery mashed potatoes garnished with chives and pink Himalayan sea salt. We served this with toasted slices of pan de sal because that’s the only bread we had. It was out of this world delicious but very filling. This would be the cure for what ails you if you are down and need some comfort food. Warm, rich and delicious. It’s also fun to spear the egg with the bread. It comes out bright yellow from the yolk but also bring some rich potatoey goodness with it. I recommend using an artisan bread with good crunch. Fresh pan de sal is still a bit chewy after toasting. A potato ricer is handy if you make this dish. Fantastic flavor pairing though. Tonight we are making mechado. Beef broth is going through the filter right now. Will update tomorrow.

Day 4: Mechado. This was really good, the homemade stock he uses really does transform this from very simple to complex flavor. I definitely wouldn’t skip the homemade stock. I think next time I make this I will add carrots and maybe olives like kaldeteta. I’ve had Mechado at restaurants that was very much like kalderata, possibly even down to the liver paste. This is a much cleaner stew, mostly meat and potato with sweetness from onion and brightness from the lemon. As flavorful as it is, I do miss the extra vegetables and mix ins that I’m used to. This cookbook continues to amaze. I’m so impressed by the beef stock base that I’m going to make the veggie and chicken stocks next.

Day 5: Nilago. It’s just a pure simple delicious stew. Alvin said it best, it’s a hug in a bowl. Fish sauce at the table is a must do everyone can season as they like. I added some spicy red pepper as a garnish to mine because I love spicy food. It was amazing! A tip I learned from foodnatics is to add two star anise and a little butter to Nilaga. Alvin’s way is better. For me the star anise took away from the dish but if you are adventurous you might want to give it a try. In my opinion the heart of this dish is in being simple and clean. But everyone’s taste is different. Not a dig on foodnatics, they have the best adobo recipe of all time.

Day6: Patis fried chicken with white adobo sauce. The chicken was quite tasty. I recommend only making half the amount of rice flour especially if you grind it by hand like I did. Ended up throwing out 3/4 of it. This is a major win if you are gluten free. I prefer the texture of flour based breading though. The chicken tasted really flavorful, but you don’t detect the Patis or lemon. It’s a really interesting take on fried chicken. I’d like to try the real thing if Alvin serves it in his restaurant.
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Top reviews from other countries

Kyra McDonald
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, too bad it is DAMAGED
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on November 27, 2022
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Kyra McDonald
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, too bad it is DAMAGED
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on November 27, 2022
I can understand when damage happens while being delivered, however this book came plastic wrapped and the binding was very damaged. This was a gift and was so disappointed when they opened their gift to find their book damaged... would like a refund.

Beautiful book otherwise. Quality control is needed however
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Christopher Juan Manuel Y. Lopez
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for Filipino food
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on November 23, 2020
One person found this helpful
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