Featured photo: Filipino sisig prepared by Linda Garagan Patton.
The 2016 season of Shreveport Farmers’ Market is right around the corner (check their excellent new website for dates and info), and organizers have published a complete list of vendors expected to take part in the Summer 2016 market. For food lovers, one of the most exciting aspects of the Shreveport Farmers’ Market has always been the well-curated selection of ready-to-eat food vendors who participate in the Market Café. Past installments of the Market Café have emphasized international cuisines, and 2016 looks poised to carry on that tradition.
One of many exciting food vendors on the list is Kabalen Authentic Filipino Food, a food booth operated by home cook and caterer Linda Garagan Patton. Patton will be selling Filipino favorites such as lumpia (Filipino-style spring rolls, which are longer and meatier than the kind of spring roll associated with Chinese restaurants), pancit (stir-fried noodles with meat and vegetables), sisig (sizzling-hot minced pork with spices and rice), chicken and beef empanadas, and chicken adobo. Kabalen will also be selling bubble tea (or boba tea) made with freshly brewed black tea. This is an exciting opportunity for marketgoers to sample Filipino cuisine, which can be hard to come by locally – there are no Filipino restaurants in Shreveport-Bossier and only a few in the Dallas area.
Patton hails from Pampanga, a province with a reputation for being home to the best chefs and food in the Philippines. The ninth of ten children, she remembers cooking with her mother while standing on a step-stool in order to reach the stove.
“We’re the culinary capital of the Philippines,” Patton said. “In Pampanga, street food vendors come out at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., selling dishes like what I’ll be selling at the farmers’ market. Sisig, adobo and pancit are some of the most popular foods.”
Filipino cuisine is known for big, bold flavors and a unique fusion of ingredients and techniques passed on by various cultures that have colonized the region throughout history, including Spanish and Chinese influences. If you love Natchitoches meat pies, try their Filipino cousin, the empanada. If you enjoy the pork-centric flavors of Cajun country, try the sisig, which combines pork, rice and lots of spices in a very Louisiana-friendly way. Patton’s sisig is one of the most uniquely delicious things that I’ve tasted so far in 2016.
The Summer 2016 installment of Shreveport Farmers’ Market will open on Saturday, June 4 and runs through Saturday, August 27. The market is held at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport, 7 a.m.-12 p.m., every Saturday except for June 18. Kabalen Authentic Filipino Food accepts cash or credit.
If you love local food, please check out the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s latest brochure, Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.