Saturday, February 03, 2007

Kapamilya - Fountain Valley

Thanks to the work of a public relations pioneer named Edward Bernays, when you think about an all-American breakfast, two words will undoubtedly come to mind: bacon and eggs. His PR push convinced millions of Americans that there was no better way to start the day than by consuming a product sold by his clients. I, myself, recall scarfing down a daily breakfast of Sizzlean and scrambled eggs before I scurried out the door to gradeschool, never questioning until now: "Why eggs? Why bacon? And what the heck is Sizzlean made out of anyway?"

It is doubtful that Bernays' influence extended to the island nation of the Philippines. But one has to wonder why no other country in Asia offers a breakfast like the Filipino almusal. So similar is it to its American counterpart that it becomes hard to deny whether Bernays' work might have had something to do with it. Principal components of the meal consists of the staples he strived to popularize: salted cured meats and eggs.

The only difference, however, lies in the fact that in the Pinoy version, fried rice takes on a major role as carbohydrate, and there's usually a vegetable involved, often a slice of fresh tomato.

But the dish is such a constant in Filipino households that it is referred to by its shorthand, which always ends in a silog suffix. The moniker is a concatenation of its components. For example, take one dish called longsilog, which includes a Filipino sausage called "longanisa", fried rice ("sinangag"), and a fried egg ("itlog").

Consequently;

Longanisa + sinangag + itlog = longsilog.

Whatever you call it, it's a big breakfast designed to provide long-lasting fuel for a hard day of labor.

But for a person who now sits in front of a computer all day long, the cumulative effect of such a substantial morning meal, no matter the country of origin or history, is that it's too much fat, too much cholesterol, too early in the day -- which is why I save it for lunch.

One place in Orange County that specializes in the almusal is a family-run joint called Kapamilya. In this hidden Fountain Valley stripmall eatery, several varieties of silogs are cooked to order and offered all day (Monday to Friday 10:30am to 6:30pm, Saturday 8:30am to 2:30pm) for a flat fee of $4.75 (tax already included).

Included in all the almusals is a mound of sticky garlic fried rice, a slice of tomato, and two fried eggs prepared over-easy, unless requested otherwise. All that needs to be chosen is the protein that accompanies it, which can include one of the following:

Tapa
Marinated beef

Longanisa
Sweet sausage

Tocino
Marinated sweet pork

Corned Beef

Adobo
Pork or chicken cooked in vinegar and soy sauce

Fried Danggit
Salted dried fish

Fried Pusit
Fried squid

Boneless Bangus
Fried marinated milkfish
From three visits, I tried four of their offerings.

Tapa, one of the more traditional choices for Filipino breakfast, is beef marinated in garlic, sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar.

The texture of the meat is similar to Korean kalbi, but a bit dryer by design, straddling the line between jerky and steak. The flavor, however, is ten times sweeter than its distant Korean cousin, and without its characteristic sesame oil nuttiness.

Corned beef is prepared the way the Pinoy palate prefers it, cooked moist to an almost Sloppy Joe consistency and decorated with ribbons of wilted onion.

The ruddy scoop of salty, soppy meat goes especially well with the rice and eggs.

To save time, restaurants typically use factory-produced tocino, which although delicious, contains nitrites and artificial coloring.

Kapamilya chooses to make theirs from scratch, utilizing fatty cuts of pork. Coated with a candy-sweet glaze and tooth-tender, their tocino resembles Vietnamese grilled pork with an amped up sugar qoutient. To counter its cloying flavor, I balance it with tart shots of vinegar.

One of the lighter proteins is the boneless bangus, crisply fried marinated milkfish. Blessed with a prized yogurty tang and a flaky white flesh, this is one of my favorites for almusal, and something that Edward Bernays definitely had nothing to do with.

Kapamilya Restaurant
(714) 593-6212
10964 Warner Avenue
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

42 Comments:

At 9:50 PM, Blogger The Bill said...

Nice and simple review and it's literally a block away from. I'm going to have to stop by and try it...Never really heard or saw the place before.

 
At 10:39 PM, Blogger Christine D. said...

What an interesting find. I've never heard of Kapamilya either! mmm, garlic sticky rice...

I've also never heard of Sizzlean, so I Googled it. Unfortunately, I did the Google Image search first, and the second picture I saw was some lady's big ol' hiney! ;D

 
At 11:33 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

The Bill,

It's pretty new, well, a year old. They also have a turo-turo station in the front, which is basically a to-go counter with steam tables. They also do party trays. Be sure to go at your leisure if you order one of the almusals. Because they cook it to order, it can sometimes take about 10 minutes or more before your food arrives.

Christine,

HAHA! You're too young to have experienced Sizzlean. I think it fell out of fashion somewhere in the early nineties, maybe even the late eighties. It was basically a bacon substitute, which supposedly had less fat than regular bacon. The texture of it is best described as bacon papier mache, as it seemed to be made up of smaller pieces of bacon, reconstituted and packed together with a gelatin-like substance. It crisped up nicely on the pan, and had the taste of bacon (sort of), but it ate more like bacon jerky than anything else. Oh yeah, it was cheaper than bacon too, which is why I think we ate it a lot.

 
At 6:10 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

I'll have to try that sometime! There is a place near us that serves breakfast on Saturdays only, but we have never been able go drag ourselves out of the house that early!
But we do enjoy breakfast out, so maybe we can go sometime after a good night's sleep (early bedtime). I think I'll try it with the bangus. I love bangus!

 
At 8:21 AM, Anonymous Mimi said...

Hi elmomonster! I just stumbled over your blog yesterday and boy, what a great find! I've been to a few of the places you've written about and I completely agree with your tastebuds.

I may be mistaken but from reading some of your entries, I take it your Indonesian but you certainly threw me off and initially made me think you're Filipino based on your knowledge of the cuisine.

One of my favorite places for Filipino food is also Magic Wok in Artesia and recently, I discovered Kapamilya. Thank heavens! I used to go to Tindahan's turo-turo (by Costco in FV) but their stinginess has turned me off completely. Not to mention the varying and inconsistent prices with their catering menu. I've been going to Kapamilya since Nov '06 -- just about every week. The place is always clean and the ladies that run the place are super nice. I also appreciate the effort they put into their sauces/condiments. I only wish they didn't close so early during the week. I usually just call in our dinner order for take out -- their crispy pata is just as good as Magic Wok's and their pancit bihon is always freshly made to order. Almusal for dinner is always a good option, too.

Now for Indonesian food. I'm hoping you can help me out. Years ago, there was this Indonesian restaurant in San Gabriel called Borubudor and their house specialty is this unique deep fried chicken which seemed to have been pressure cooked first because you can literally chew the bones after it has been fried. Strange but delicious! They also made delicious empe empe (sp?). Any ideas where I can find this special chicken? Or, any recommendations for a good Indonesian restaurant in OC?

And oh, thanks for the post on Dynamite mussels -- I bought the ingredients yesterday and hope to make it this week. I so appreciate you including photos of the ingredients -- it made for a really easy shopping experience at Marukai!

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful food finds!

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger Wandering Chopsticks said...

That's what I love about you Elmo. You can take a simple post about breakfast and make it so informative.

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger The Home Cook said...

Brilliant! I have a feeling the runny yolk from the fried eggs goes really well with the rice.

Of the four you tried, the corned beef looks the best. I love those ribbons of onion mixed with that Sloppy Joe-style meat.

Once again, I wish I lived in an area with more cultural diversity.

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Ay, the things I learn from your blog! And I thought we Hawaiians were creative with the loco moco :) oh man, but could you imagine if we replaced with loco moco with garlic sticky rice, and maybe some milkfish along with a nice thick hamburger patty, still keeping the gravy...

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger natalie@theliquidmuse.com said...

Ok - my mouth is watering. As much as I hate to admit it... I love da beef! That breakfast beef looks yuuummy!

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger Passionate Eater said...

Okay Elmo, your use of this word was a dead giveaway that you are an engineer: "concatenation." But you did not use the word "instantiate," so you could be in marketing for a software company! You need to be more secretive about your identity! Both Mimi (the previous commenter) and I were able to guess facts about you!

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger Ollylain said...

Wow does it bring back memories! The smell of frying eggs and beef being plated up by my mom on the weekends.

Maybe another choice of meat by product they can add, which was always available in our household, is Spam?

Always enjoy reading your posts!

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Juliet,

Set your alarm clock and head on out there! Actually, I also can't get up early enough on weekends to make it out the door, but usually I'm up early enough to make this breakfast myself, using store bought longanisa or SPAM, leftover rice, and eggs.

Mimi,

You're right, their turo-turo choices look great too. They had pinakbet the other day, and it looked freshly cooked. But my mind is always set on almusal whenever I go there. Soon I'll come back and try their pre-prepared items.

I remember Borobudur, and I think I know of the fried chicken dish you tried. Did it have a flaky, crispy, coconut coating on it? If so, I believe it is called Ayam Goreng Suharti (named after the popular Indonesian restaurant that served it first). I had this a few years ago at a restaurant called 368 Noodle House in West Covina, but I'm not sure they serve it anymore. As far as Indonesian restaurants in OC, we are all out of luck. The closest one is Toko Rame in Bellflower, which is great by the way. I believe they have empek empek too.

Hope you have some luck with the mussels. They are ridiculously easy to make. And if you don't have all the ingredients, all you need is just the mayo and some sriracha! And of course, the mussells.

WC,

I try! And sometimes, if I'm lucky, I learn something too.

The Home Cook,

Out of all the almusals, I think the corned beef is one that is the easiest to make at home. Canned corned beef, some onions, rice, eggs, bam, you've got yourself a Filipino breakfast!

Kathy,

Ah yes, the loco moco. Another creation utilizing the egg, meat and rice. Of course, the gravy! Combining the milkfish with it would indeed be "loco", but an idea I can get behind. Since there are a lot of Filipinos in Hawaii, I hope someone's listening!

Natalie,

Don't be ashamed of liking beef! I think beef is under-represented on the breakfast table. This looks like a job for Edward Bernays.

PE,

You're a super sleuth! You figured out that I'm an engineer from the word "concatenate"? LOL! By the way, I had to look up what "instatiate" meant!

Ollylain,

You're right about that! SPAM is the one missing link on their menu. Of course, I'd be ordering it, and then realize, hey I can make this at home...but then I'd enjoy it just the same because I love SPAM!

 
At 6:10 PM, Blogger Deb said...

Yum! I was in HB last weekend and had Loco Moco @ a local Hi joint on Main st. Steamed with gravy, topped with a hamburger patty & fried egg. NOT the ligth breakfast but ooooooh soooo goooood!

 
At 10:47 PM, Blogger Chubbypanda said...

Excellent looking food and between work and home. I approve!

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger Melting Wok said...

hmm..looking at that tapa makes me wanna get my rendang fix soon :P

 
At 10:54 PM, Blogger Passionate Eater said...

I think my computer science professors liked to use big vocabulary words to show off to the girls in the class. (Oh wait. There was only one girl in the class, and it was me.) They often used "instantiate" in a sentence like this: "Instantiate the int variable right before the for loop."

 
At 12:26 AM, Blogger Rasa Malaysia said...

Wow a Filipino restaurant in FV...do they have pansit? I love it because Filipino's vermicelli is sooooo fine they taste great in pansit.

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Deb,

What is it with tropical islands and really heavy but delicious breakfasts? But it's good stuff isn't it?

CP,

I approve that you approve! ;-)

Melting Wok,

Reading your comment makes me want some rendang soon!

PE,

Aha! You've just revealed your profession!

Rasa Malaysia,

They do in fact have pancit. $4.50 each. Pancit Canton, and my personal favorite, Pancit Palabok. Yum.

 
At 10:09 AM, Anonymous mimidelarosa@yahoo.com said...

Elmo ~ I think the ayam goreng suharti is what I've been searching for! Unfortunately, 368 Noodle House's tel no is no longer in service (perhaps they've closed?). But I'm glad you told me about Toko Rame -- I will have to make my way there sometime soon.

Btw, the dynamite mussels were delicious! And you weren't kidding when you said they're ridiculously easy to make. I just hope I don't find myself making these everyday -- that can't be good for me. ;-)

You are a terrific food blogger!

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Mimi,

A reader sent me an e-mail to point out that the chicken you had might actually be Ayam Kalasan. She can vouch for this because she ordered it all the time from Borobudur. 368 is probably gone, but here's the good news, I was having lunch at the weekly Pondok Kaki Lima Indo food fair in Duarte today and I can confirm, without a doubt, that they have it there. They vendors set up shop every Saturday morning, but not next Saturday (Feb 17) since they are moving it just for that day to a larger food festival in observance of Chinese New Year. They will definitely be back every Saturday afterwards though.

I make those mussels all the time. And we suck them up like vacuums. Sooo simple...sooo good!

 
At 12:46 PM, Blogger Daily Gluttony said...

ok, i am probably going to make some enemies by saying this but i couldn't help but chuckle beavis and butthead style at these: "Fried Danggit, Fried Pusit, Boneless Bangus." i'm sorry, i'm not ignorant or racist, i'm just really immature!!

anyways, this place looks really good--i have always wanted to try filipino b-fast.

btw, i totally remember sizzlean. in that same era was something called "steak-um." my dad used to make us cheesesteaks out of steak-um and since we were kids that didn't know any better, we loved it!

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

DG,

I chuckled at the "Danggit" when I first saw it like "I want the Danggit, Dang It!", but I didn't realize the snicker potential of "pusit" and "boneless bangus" until now. ;-)

I still have fond memories of Sizzlean. And I don't think I really liked it that much either. But I'm sorry I missed out on Steak-um. That must have gone under our family's radar. Dangg-It!

 
At 7:26 PM, Anonymous lonegungirl said...

Very interesting! I've read before about how there's a lot of places in Cerritos for Philipino breakfast, but haven't experienced it yet. Looks wonderful!

 
At 12:26 PM, Blogger krizia said...

Now THIS is what the Bay Area is missing out on. Though there is one Filipino restaurant in San Francisco called Lucky Chances. They've lost a lot of customers, though (mainly because they raised the prices of their dishes up to $4 each! I'll stay at home and make my own thank you very much).

Still loving your posts!

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger Alvin said...

Hey Elmo,

Do you know any restaurants around Irvine or the surrounding area that serve the Korean dish Jhampong? I miss the bowl that I used to get from the Asian food court when I lived in Virginia!

-Alvin

 
At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Geo said...

went to Kapamilya...........what to say: pricey for food & taste that does not even satisfy your filipino craving.....

 
At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Karina said...

agree with Geo's comments about Kapamilya.....food sucks and very little portion of food for the price.

 
At 4:29 PM, Anonymous jared said...

I think the post here is over rated.I went to Kapamilya and they should re-name it to KAPAMILYUCK!!!

guess what there was a free add on to my food-an insect that appeared to be a roach.

Not so happy about this place

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

lonegungirl,

You MUST MUST MUST try Chowking in Cerritos for Filipino breakfast. Actually it's available all day!

Krizia,

Thanks for commenting! That's surprising that there aren't very many Filipino places in SF like this. Come to think of it we need more down here in OC.

Alvin,

Sorry for the late reply. I hadn't noticed this post got more comments till today. I have seen Jampong served at Freshia market in Tustin, in its food court. In fact, I think I may give it a try soon!

Geo and Karina,

So, I'm curious, what do you guys think of the food at nearby Tindahan? It looks like you were searching for it when you found my blog post.

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

jared,

It looks like you and the two comments above you are coming from the same place -- State Street IMS, where I assume you work. Presumably you wrote them yourself. Are you affliated with a competitor? Perhaps Tindahan? If so, that's very interesting indeed. *SMILE* *WINK*

 
At 5:04 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

OH BOY! LOOK WHAT I FOUND!

On the site that eventually led GEO, KARINA and JARED to find this blog post (yep, all coming from the same computer somewhere in State Street), a reviewer named MIKE wrote lots of praise for Tindahan. AND it was made exactly around the same time those three comments were made.

Put two and two together and whaddayaget?!

Here's the review "MIKE" wrote about Tindahan.

 
At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Miyuki said...

Not a wonderful find. Suggest you drive to Cerritos and go to magic Wok

 
At 7:49 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Miyuki,

I love Magic Wok, but I stand by my Kapamilya review. Here are three posts I did on Magic Wok, my all time favorite Filipino place:

Post one
Post two
Post three

 
At 5:07 PM, Anonymous sara r. said...

Kapamilya in Fountain Valley has slow service and mediocre food, their prieces aren't that great either...

Regarding Mimi's comment,
to be honest I love Magic Wok as well. It's delicious there. However, I STRONGLY disagree with her comment about the Tindahan in Fountain Valley. Their food is so super tasty and cheap pa! Everytime I'm there they give me so much food, and they people working there are amazingly friendly! So many of my coworkers agree as well!

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Hi Sara,

I'm glad you liked Tindahan. Apparently at least one other person agrees with you (see above) and took the time to comment.

Curiously, like that person from State Street, you were searching for "tindahan in fountain valley" when you found this post.

Interesting.

 
At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tried this place after reading your write up and truth of the matter is ..the food wasn't impressive at all. I thought that my trip wasn't worth my expectations.

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Anon,

Oh man, are you another Tindahan shill? I've been getting a lot of them (maybe the same person). And that's what it looks like this time too. My search history says that you were looking for Tindahan before you stumbled on to this review. You found this page at around 1:03 am this morning. Perhaps for the first time.

 
At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if the Tindahan in Fountain valley closed.

 
At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Borobudur Restaurant
700 Post Street (at Jones), San Francisco, CA 94109
415.775.1512 / 415.928.0601 Fax

 
At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Borobudur Restaurant
700 Post Street (at Jones), San Francisco, CA 94109
415.775.1512 / 415.928.0601 Fax

 
At 2:46 AM, Blogger ahmed said...

I have visited this site and got lots of information than other site visited before a month.


work from home

 
At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Diane said...

Food was okay not great. Small serving(s). Found this place while visiting OC. I originally wanted to go to a place I've been to before but found out it is now closed; Tindahan.

 

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