A friend of mine has been pointing out lately the lack of Filipino food on our site, so this one’s for you pandeSally. Fliptop Filipino Fusion food truck (Phew! Try saying that five times fast. Or just once for that matter!) came onto our radar a month or so ago, but since they tend to move around a fair bit we haven’t been in the right place at the right time until yesterday.
“Fliptop” is a bit of a play on words coming from the Filipino’s nickname for themselves as “flips”. This term once held some racist undertones but it seems to have been fully adopted into the culture, to the point where it doesn’t seem to have any negative connotations anymore (yay!). In fact it may just stand for Fine Looking Island Person 🙂
Anyway, we were on our way downtown around lunchtime when Wendy spotted this brightly coloured food truck on Terminal near Main Street Skytrain, obviously inspired by the flamboyantly painted jeepneys of the Philippines. Realizing it was Fliptop, I cranked a U-ey and parked at the college across the street. I’ve been including service-side views of food trucks in my Food Truck Friday posts recently, but this one’s art deserves to be shown in all its eye-popping glory.
Fliptop’s food truck was a welcome spot of colour on a grey and miserable day, and the operators’ sunny disposition also helped chase away those Raincity blues. We were greeted in a warm and friendly manner and enjoyed chatting with the guys while they prepared our food. They definitely get an A+ in the customer relations department! That’s the problem with reviewing food trucks, most of these guys and gals are so darn friendly that it’s tough to be critical of the food. But I’ll do my best to give an honest review:
After a couple of great experiences with pulled pork food truck offerings I went with Fliptop’s Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8). It’s served on a pandesal bun, a sweet white bread that many Filipinos go nuts over, but I personally don’t see what the fuss is about. This one was a bit burnt, but not to the point of being inedible. The toppings you see here are crispy deep-fried leeks, roasted garlic aioli, micro greens, and Achara made from pickled cabbage and green papaya.
At first I didn’t think I would get my hand, let alone my mouth, around it but it all compressed rather nicely. The suitably moist pulled pork was smothered in a vibrant red BBQ sauce that was sweet and delicious. Unfortunately though when combined with the sweet pandesal it was a bit too dessert-like. I really enjoyed the first few bites but by the end I was suffering from sugar fatigue. The garlic aioli was strong and delicious though and the crispy leeks were like adding onion rings to a burger if you’re into that sort of thing (I am!).
While the pulled pork itself was good, the sandwich as a whole could not stand up to many of the other variations of this classic around town such as Fat Duck’s Les Trois Cochons. If you like the sweetness of siopao then you may dig Fliptop’s pulled pork sandwich more than I did.
Wendy went for the Flippin Adobo “Fili” Cheesesteak ($12). This one looked a bit nicer when the micro greens were “fluffier”, but they wilted a bit before we got around to snapping the pic. The taste: plain white hoagie bun, so not much to taste there, shaved prime rib that didn’t have any discernable adobo flavour, and Provolone-cheesy overload. “But it’s cheesesteak, it’s supposed to be cheesy!” I don’t know how you make a cheesesteak too cheesy either, but Fliptop Flipino Fusion managed it.
On the positive side hers came with the crispy leeks that I enjoyed on my sandwich, plus an okay smoked chipotle aioli, and there was a good meat to bun ratio; stuffed full without overflowing and being messy. Overpriced at $12 in our opinion though. I’d suggest any of The American Cheesesteak Co.’s offerings instead.
We also ordered a side of Garlic Fried Rice ($3). It was served on a strip of banana leaf and topped with the (admittedly delicious) garlic aioli, crispy leeks, and micro greens, and with the addition of a sprinkling of nori strips. The blend of white and red rice was fairly hard and dry. However this was the best value here; the portion size was very generous for just a few bucks.
I’m going to be honest here and put a disclaimer that Filipino food is near the bottom of our list when it comes to dining. In my opinion after dining at various Pinoy friend’s places, trying various Filipino restaurants, and traveling the Philippines a bit myself, the four Filipino food groups seem to be Sugars, Fats, Refined, and Pork 😉 The only thing I’ve truly enjoyed about Filipino cuisine is the novelty value of trying such delicacies (and I use the term loosely) as balut and Soup No. 5.
I’m still waiting for a restaurant to come along to prove me wrong by serving up some Filipino fusion that isn’t going to give me diabetes or a heart attack, or a fine dining establishment that can incorporate Filipino elements and make it work. However, for me Fliptop food truck sadly isn’t it 🙁
Fliptop’s location may vary, but they post their schedules to Facebook and Twitter. You can also download the Street Food App for Vancouver for up to the minute locations and hours of Fliptop and many other food trucks.