You could be forgiven if, upon arrival at Biscotti’s – the first-rate little restaurant attached to Lewis’ Gifts at 5807 Youree Drive in Shreveport – you didn’t look around and say to yourself “Here’s a place where I can get some killer Filipino food.” Mike Lewis, co-owner and chef at Biscotti’s, has earned the respect of the local culinary community based on his outstanding shrimp and grits, old-fashioned cakes and pies, and a killer pressed Cuban sandwich. But, for the last few months, a surprising dish has been the talk of the Biscotti’s dining room: Angie’s lumpia.
Lumpia are Filipino/Indonesian-style spring rolls. They’re longer, narrower, and more meat-based than either an egg roll or spring roll (there’s no cabbage, for example). Lumpia can be stuffed with many things, but the version served at Biscotti’s are a mixture of beef, pork, and lots of herbs and spices wrapped in a paper-thin pastry skin and deep-fried. They are delicious, and run $10 for an order of four. They’re served with a dipping sauce concocted by Lewis and approved by the woman who has hand-rolled hundreds of her lumpia for Biscotti’s, Angie Timerding.
I asked Timerding – who emigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. 30 years ago – if this was an old family recipe. While it’s old, she said, it’s not a recipe.
“I learned to make lumpia by watching and helping as my family prepared them,” Timerding said. “People back then didn’t write recipes down. It’s a very simple dish, but it’s very delicious.”
It’s also very popular. Carrie Lewis, who runs Biscotti’s with her husband, Mike, told me that they frequently sell out of lumpia.
“If these were just being ordered from a commercial vendor, I don’t think Mike would even be selling them here,” Carrie said. “But these are homemade, you know? They’re delicious. And they sell like crazy.”
While you can occasionally find sacks of Angie’s lumpia in the freezer case at Maxwell’s Market, Biscotti’s is the only restaurant in Shreveport-Bossier that serves the dish. The Timerding family has also launched a Filipino food truck recently, Roadrunners Foods, that specializes in lumpia. Like their Facebook page here.
This kind of cultural mash-up – a Louisiana restaurant chef and a Filipino home cook collaborating to share the joy of lumpia with the Youree Drive shopping crowd – is why I love living in Shreveport-Bossier, in a nutshell. Or, rather, in a pastry skin.
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