Kanto by Tita Flips: On ADOBO, street food, and KULTURA

Get to know Kultura 2012’s Adobo Masters Cook-Off competitor, Kanto by Tita Flips

Last month, we featured Diona Joyce from Kanto by Tita Flips in our New-Gen Filipino Entrepreneurs series. In case you missed it, you can read the full interview here. We got to speak with Diona again, but this time around with the cook-off taking place this Sunday.

We’re excited to have you participate at KULTURA this year! Our festival will be highlighting ADOBO; what is it about ADOBO that makes it our treasured, national dish?

ADOBO is a dish that everybody can cook, no matter who they are—rich or poor. The ingredients are so basic, the process is simple, and it yields a very comforting food that everyone can enjoy.

Filipino food has been gaining popularity in Toronto recently. Why do you think there is a sudden interest in our cuisine?

The Filipino population has significantly grown over the past years, yet Filipino cuisine is not yet mainstream. People most likely tasted Filipino food from a friend’s party or a co-workers potluck but had some trouble finding a restaurant where they can get it themselves. I guess it’s about time that we serve Toronto some good Pinoy food!

Why is it important that Kanto re-creates the “street food”-style of serving Filipino food?

A lot of food in Filipino cuisine is street food. Street food is a lifestyle. People get together at kantos [street corners], sharing stories, food, and drinks. Students meet up at fish-ball carts after school to have snacks. Travelers often stop by the roadside peddlers for snacks on the way to the province. You can even get food while you are stuck in traffic because of the street vendors.

Toronto didn’t have any of that, but I came across the Scadding Court Community Centre’s shipping container program and was fortunate enough to have been selected to serve Filipino cuisine. Since it’s a shipping container and geared towards street food, I gave the business the name Kanto. I also didn’t want to confuse people with my catering business [Tita Flips Events and Catering], which creates events with dishes similar to Kanto’s street food fare, but on an elevated and limitless level.

Kapisanan is expecting a stiff competition at this year’s Kultura Festival. What will Kanto do to stay ahead of the competition?

I just stay to my own cooking style and cook my heart out with passion and love for Filipino cuisine. Also, we always strive to have the best tasting dish we can serve, often using innovation, while at the same time staying connected to our roots.

Even though Kapisanan is hosting a cook-off, this is also an opportunity for Torontonians to recognize some of the best Filipino restaurants in the city. What message does Kanto want to send?

We want to let Toronto know that Kanto serves really awesome Filipino food that every Filipino knows, remembers, craves, and wants to introduce to their friends!

Visit Kanto by Tita Flips in front of Scadding Court Community Centre (South East side on Dundas and Bathurst) 707 Dundas Street West Toronto, Ontario M5T 2W6 Tel: 1-888-393-9990 info@kanto.ca http://kanto.ca/ Kanto is on Facebook and on Twitter.

Enter for your chance to win a $25 Kanto gift certificate!

“Kanto” means “corner” in Tagalog. Use your Twitter account and tell us which corner in Toronto you’d like to see Kanto serve their yummy street food! Send your answers to @kapisanan using the hashtag #kanto. Or leave your answer in the comments section below. Or drop us a line on our Facebook page and add the hashtag #kanto.

Good luck!

Note: Deadline to enter is Sunday, August 26 at 6 p.m. Winner will be chosen at random.