Lunch Plans? Travel to the Philippines and Leave Your Passport at Home
Got preconceived notions of the Columbus food scene? If they’re bland and boring, toss them out and get exploring: Our neighborhoods are crammed with global eats from East Africa, Korea, China, Japan, India, and beyond. Even our food trucks (Columbus is home to dozens of them) are world eats on wheels. One example: Asian Persuasion, a Filipino- and Thai-inspired food truck operated by Jason Kibler and his wife, Michele, who’s the registrar at CCAD.
Jason’s mom is Filipino, and he dreamed of opening a restaurant where he could dish up the food she cooked at home. “We did a lot of traveling, a lot of visiting the Philippines. Everything I cook came from my mom,” he said.
But a brick-and-mortar business — with rent, equipment, employees, licenses, and permits — was going to be a huge expense. So, along with a couple of business partners, they bought a food truck and made it into a mobile Filipino kitchen. They’ve been on the road since June 2015.
Never tried Filipino food? In addition to indigenous flavors, it’s influenced by Thai, Indian, Malaysian, Chinese, and American cuisines. Pork is a star of the show — rice and noodle bowls at Asian Persuasion feature roasted pork (lechon) or deep-fried pork belly — and flavors come from soy sauce, garlic, lemongrass, green onions, and lime. Think: rich and umami contrasting with salty and zesty. Jason also makes lumpia, the Filipino version of egg rolls, stuffed with meat, wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried until they’re flaky and crispy. If pork isn’t your thing, try the Thai-inspired chicken marinated in coconut milk or deep-fried seasoned tofu as alternative toppers for the truck’s signature rice and noodle bowls.
Owning a food truck comes with its ups and downs — most restaurants don’t have to worry about transmissions and tires — but Jason takes it in stride. “It’s stressful, but you’ve gotta love it. Every food truck person I’ve met — there’s a lot of quirky people out there — they got into it because they had some love for what they’re doing. You’ve gotta have something in you to deal with the headaches.”
Asian Persuasion is fresh off a few summer food truck competitions and gatherings, and chances are you’ll find the truck on campus one of these days. And when you do, you’ll want to bring a big appetite along for the ride.
Follow Asian Persuasion on Facebook.
The owners of Columbus Food Adventures operate this website of first-hand (read: totally reliable) reviews of food trucks.
This website uses Twitter to broadcast the daily locations of food trucks throughout Columbus.
How to speak Filipino food
Lechon (lay-CHOHN) = Roasted pork
Pancit (pahn-SIT) = A noodle dish typically served on special occasions (but you can get it any day at Asian Persuasion)
Lumpia (LOOM-pee-ah) = The Filipino version of egg rolls
Jeepney (JIHP-nee) = A Filipino Jeep, and the name of a signature dish Jason Kibler has made for some recent food truck competitions
Photo credit: Walker Evans for Columbus Underground.