SALO X ONIF // filipino feast prepared by the gypsy chef + friends


When you live in NYC, you meet people who share some of the same interests as you. One amazing person I’ve met is Yana Gilbuena. She shares my passion for food and travel; except when she travels she cooks, whereas I travel and eat… but that’s why we get along so well.

I met her a year (maybe over a year ago) at an industry event when she told me about her idea to cook her way across the nation— she told me she was nervous about funding the project but I just looked at her and was like you’re going to do this and you’re gonna rock.

49 – not a seat empty in the house – States later, I sat down for the first time at one of Yana’s NYC SALO SERIES.

THIS IS HOW YOU SALO // Since I’ve been following her around the nation via social media, I was prepared to eat family style with a bunch of strangers for the ultimate SALO (gathering) experience! Here are some tips for your first SALO:

  • When you’re eating at a salo, everyone must wash their hands. I washed mine twice.
  • Since you are not given utensils, the guest next to me suggested that we serve ourselves with our left hand (non-dominent) and eat with our right hand (dominant) to avoid contamination. I liked her logic but have you ever tried eating cous-cous with your non-dominent hand? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
  • There were five courses on the menu and all five courses were plated on the table at the same time (except for dessert). The chefs advised us to taste each appetizer in a certain order before the entrees to experience each flavor.
  • WHELP, I tasted everything. Literally mastered the one-hand serve by combining all of the elements together. Note to self: peanut butter is such a GREAT binder.

GYPSY CHEF // Yana is known for her Filipino Salo Experiences nationwide. She is a fierce networker and has the rare ability to find event spaces in every city she has visited. I mean isn’t hard enough traveling and finding a good hotel, nonetheless an event space to feed 20+ people? Yana’s cool like that. She’ll arrive in a city, shop the greenmarkets, and utilize local ingredients to pair with her Filipino flavor just days before the event. In other words, every salo is a different experience.

SALO X ONIF // For this salo, Yana teamed up with Our Name Is Farm (ONIF) and combined Filipino and Moroccan flavors for the first time ever! Check out the menu below to see how this trio combined flavors at the WALLPLAY pop-up kitchen! On a personal note, I absolutely LOVED EVERYTHING but my favorite dishes had to be the eggplant, carrot labane and cornish hens with the peanut sauce.

BANANA LEAVES REVELATION // Eating off of a banana leaf makes a lot of sense. It’s durable, it’s fragrant, it’s glide-able. Yes that’s my word. As a novice to the salo experience, I was apprehensive about picking up cous-cous with my hands. I tried and got three, possibly four grains infront of me… so I started dragging the food towards me with the help of the banana leaf. SO FREAKIN’ GENIUS. Not to mention, the clean up takes two seconds and it’s compostable!!!!! Check my INSTAGRAM for the video!

LAST SALO IN HAWAII // Yana is completing her 50 states in 50 weeks Tour in Honolulu, Hawaii on April 23, 2015! If you happen to be in Hawaii I highly recommend joining in on the fun and making a few new friends over dinner. Just remember to wash your hands (twice) and dig into those banana leaves! So far Yana has hosted 80 salos nationwide, and between you and me, Hawaii won’t be her final hoorah. Follow her on social media and show her some love!


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