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What is the SALO Project?
The SALO Project is a series of Traveling Underground Pop-up Dinners featuring Regional Filipino Cuisine touring to the 50 States of America over the course of 50 weeks.
Why the SALO Project?
The main goal of this project is to create and raise awareness of Filipino cuisine and to highlight Filipino food by focusing on the flavors of its three regions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao; also by providing a unique social dining experience with my underground, pop-up dinners throughout America.
Filipino cuisine has been an underdog compared to our Asian neighbors. My quest to bring Filipino food to all 50 states is to broaden people's palate and bring to light a new cultural social dining experiment experience.
These dinners will encourage the adventurous to experience the other side of the (usual and conventional) dining experience. SALO dinners bring together a group of culinarily curious strangers around a common table and encouraged to abandon the standard way of eating, through the absence of tableware.
This project also heightens the value of passionate home cooks. Julia Child brought over her passion for French cuisine to America and encouraged people to cook more. I aim to do the same, but with Filipino cuisine.
A portion of my 50-state dinner proceeds will be donated to the contingency relief plan for the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines via Nafconusa.org.
How am I doing the SALO Project?
I gave up my lease in New York, sold all my belongings and whittled it down to one backpack, my knives and a bicycle. My good friend, Cassandra Sicre, a filmmaker and producer, will be coming with me for the entire year's worth of adventure to document every moment from start to completion.
This is her work: http://www.smilecassproductions.com/
My plan is to make this a very minimal-impact journey. We will be traveling by bus and/or train. We will be couch-surfing at people's houses who are willing to host us. We will be relying on the innate goodness and kindness of strangers.
I will be tailoring my menu according to what is local and seasonal in each state. I will be compiling state-specific recipes and making a mini-cookbook for each state. This will help the diners to recreate the dishes from the dinner with the ingredients that they have locally.
How can you help?
For investing in me and my epic journey, my gift to you is a documentary - a story on how Filipino food can build community and transform 50 states.
The money that we raise from this will be used for travel, event production and documentation and to help us finish this project in 50 weeks.
Also, I would appreciate spreading the word to find hosts, diners and spaces. You can help connect me with them through www.thesaloproject.com or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is SALO?
SALO, in my native language of Tagalog, is a derivative of the word "Salu-salo" meaning big party or gathering. SALO, with a different inflection, may mean "catch". Hence, my tagline: To catch and to gather.
I started SALO because I missed the flavors of home. I grew up in a city called Iloilo, in the island of Panay in the Philippines. Even after 9 years and 2 coasts, I still cravedwhat home tastes like. So I decided to recreate them by hosting underground dinners featuring the flavors of all three regions of the Philippines.
SALO is presented in a way that Filipinos traditionally (and I personally) eat Filipino food: Kamayan Style. Kamayan means to eat with your hands. Food is served on banana leaves with no utensils, heaped in a pile in the middle of the table and everyone sits around and digs in. I believe food tastes so much better when your taste buds are coupled with your tactile senses and you are sharing the experience with other people. There's a direct relationship with the food and its consumers.
Here are some links that would give you a glimpse of what SALO is about:
As Filipinos, we value the culture of sharing and gathering together. SALO is my way of bringing people together who otherwise wouldn't know one another if not for their curiosity and love for Filipino food.
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