Across the United States, Filipinx American History Month is celebrated in October to commemorate the arrival of the first Filipinos on the continent in the sixteenth century. Flilipinx people make up 35% of the population in San Francisco, California, which makes Fil-Am History Month is an exciting time to #SpendLikeItMatters in the Golden Gate City. There’s no shortage of amazing Filipinx owned businesses in San Francisco and the Bay Area to support, but we’ve put together an In-TEN-tionalist guide to awesome places to eat, treat, drink, and shop!
Manila Bowl #FilipinxOwned #WomanOwned
Manila Bowl, located inside the Twitter headquarters building, quickly gained traction as a unique, fast-casual conceptualization of traditional Filipino flavors. Owner Frances Tanchanco is the creative mind behind the quirky bowls that have become a local staple for Twitter workers and longtime neighborhood locals, alike. There’s plenty of vegetarian options and customizability — but favorites include the sisig bowl, adobo bowl, and lechon bowl! Fun fact: Frances’s mother is a restaurateur in the Philippines — so Manila Bowl was basically in her genes.
The Sarap Shop #FilipinxOwned #WomanOwned
The Sarap Shop owners, Kristen Brillantes and JP Reyes, opened their food truck with a firm belief — tastemakers are the facilitators of change. With hope that their food could fuel meaningful connection, the two first-gen Filipino-Americans started serving their tasty treats to their SOMA neighbors — and it’s truly taken off. There’s no question why, either. Take one look at their colorful halo halo milk tea (with adorable branding) or their mouthwatering Very Vegan Sisig Rice Bowl and you’ll immediately be struck with a powerful hunger. Trust us, you have to try it for yourself. The popular truck has earned itself a permanent, recurring spot at Parklab Gardens. Fun fact: They also sell a sauce kit that includes a bottle of each of their scrumptious sauces!
SF Chicken Box #FilipinxOwned
Fried chicken connoisseur Christian Ciscle has been in the ‘biz since he was the opening chef at another local fried chicken restaurant — and he’s been long ready to open his own restaurant. SF Chickenbox made its debut in 2019, serving delicious fried chicken sandwiches and pieces with sides that are comfort-food-meets-Filipino-flavors. Whether you order yours with a mochi muffin and mango juice or fries and coleslaw, you’ll be amazed by the delicious flavors. Pro tip: Try the moombah sauce, a spin on “mumbo sauce” which is popular in Washington D.C. and Baltimore (Ciscle’s hometown).
Kusina Ni Tess #FilipinxOwned #WomanOwned
In 2005, a true neighborhood staple was born. Kusina Ni Tess is a traditional Filipino restaurant that serves authentic dishes including adobo, dinuguan, halo-halo, ube halaya, and more! Owner Florinda Garcia San Antonio operates the restaurant with the fundamental principle of love and has cultivated a loyal following around her fantastic recipes. Fun fact: The San Antonio family works at the restaurant — and Florinda’s daughter Maria is the general manager!
Binka Bites #FilipinxOwned #FamilyOwned #WomanOwned
There’s a delicious, tropical holiday pastry from the Philippines that you may not have heard of before, but when you taste it, you surely won’t forget it. It’s called bibingka (pronounced bee-beeng-kah), which is exactly where this San Francisco bakery derives its name. Siblings Jo Ongsiako and Jas Ongsiako opened their bakery, Binka Bites, in 2012. Their version is smaller than the traditional, and together the two have invented new and exciting flavors for people to try! Bonus: Binka Bites also makes savory muffins, mochi donuts, cookies, and more!
Auntie Em’s Fine Foods & Pastries #FilipinxOwned #FamilyOwned #WomanOwned
Whether you’re craving traditional Filipino baked goods or in need of a made-to-order cake for your next event — Auntie Em’s Fine Foods & Pastries has got you covered! Co-owner and baker extraordinaire Emee (Auntie Em) Santos is the namesake of the spot and runs it with the help of Buddy Santos. Hungry? Stop in to shop a delightful array of traditional Filipino baked goods including ube cupcakes, halo halo cake, and chicken empanadas.
Victory Hall & Parlor #FilipinxOwned #WomanOwned
At Victory Hall & Parlor, owners Deanna Sison and Mia Weening believe that a great cocktail is a celebration of the ‘everyday victories.’ In 2013, the duo opened this popular neighborhood hangout that’s a welcoming environment for longtime locals and new-in-town-ers alike. Cozy and unpretentious, you can order any standard drink you could imagine and tasty beer on tap. Come on by after a Giants game or stop in for your regular after work happy hour — victory awaits you! Pro tip: While the bar is closed now, you can pick up your cocktails to go!
Fort McKinley Restaurant, Bar & Banquet #FilipinxOwned #WomanOwned
This local favorite Filipino restaurant truly brings the fun — karaoke, sports viewing, live music, and dance club nights await you at Fort McKinley Restaurant, Bar & Banquet. If you’re looking to plan something a little more intimate, the restaurant also has banquet rooms for your next event or occasion. Owner Tiffany Le opened Fort McKinley in 2012 and continues to serve up a diverse array of fun. Lunch buffets, evening happy hour, and late night dancing all under the same roof! Come taste their amazing pork sisig, enjoy a cocktail, and check out the fun for yourself.
Arkipelago Books #FilipinxOwned #WomanOwned
20 years ago, Arkipelago Books was born in the SOMA Pilipinas neighborhood of San Francisco. A noteworthy opening because the Filipino bookstore is just one of two distributors of specialty books outside of the Philippines. Nestled in the beloved Bayanihan Building, owner Marie Romero curates a broad selection of Filipino American literature covering expansive topics including Filipino literature, culture, social sciences, art, poetry, history, and more. Bonus: Shop their collection via their online store!
ASMBLY HALL #FilipinxOwned #WomanOwned
If you consider your style sophisticated and preppy — with a focus on craftsmanship and quality — you’ll love the curated selection at ASMBLY HALL in San Francisco’s NoPa corridor. Owner Tricia Benitez opened the hip apparel shop in 2011 and continues to stock the store with a unique selection of men’s, women’s, and kids’ clothing and accessories. Tricia also loves to keep it local and stocks a significant selection of locally made and designed products. Fun fact: You’ll also find ASMBLY HALL often participates in SoMa’s Filipino Night Market, Undiscovered SF!
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Intentionalist is your local guide to small businesses and the diverse people behind them. We believe that where you spend your money matters, and we’re sure glad you do too! Whether you identify as a localist, activist, or just a good neighbor, we make it easy for you to connect with, learn about, and support small businesses in your community through everyday decisions about where you eat, drink, and shop.