It's pretty safe to say that over the past couple of years, Filipino cuisine and culture have continued to sizzle slowly into the hearts of America’s dinner table. Highlighting this cultural shift is Ulam: Main Dish, a documentary that shows the true “underdog of Asian cuisines’” rise to center stage — and is the first Filipino food documentary to be distributed worldwide through Hulu.
Aside from the love that late greats Jonathan Gold and Anthony Bourdain have heralded in regards to Filipino food, the rest of the world was slow to take notice. Regardless, its voice grew louder, its proponents adjusted to the contemporary dining climate, and its ascent rose high enough to the point that it could no longer be denied.
Ulam: Main Dish is a documentary by filmmaker Alexandra Cuerdo staging how the cuisine moved beyond being known for lumpia and ube to become a phenomenon, all through the efforts of a handful of celebrated Filipino-American chefs and restaurateurs like Alvin Cailan (Eggslut, The Usual), Chase & Chad Valencia (LASA), Johneric & Christina Concordia (The Park’s Finest), and Nicole Ponseca (Maharlika, Jeepney) to name a few.
The film is a compelling confrontation of the issues that come inherent with representing an authentic Filipino culture and cuisine within an American community — but ultimately, is a celebration of the representation and validation that the Filipino people and advocates of the cuisine have longed for.