Memories of youth, our mutual fascinations with fear, and doing Mom & Nanay proud. These are all of the things that make Belly & Snout’s owner, Chef Warren Alemda, tick. Read on to learn more!
What is the background/significance of the name?
The belly & snout of a pig are the two main ingredients we use in our most popular item – Sisig. In thinking of our previous name, ‘The Discussion Truck’, I opted to refresh the name and focus more on the product.
What is the inspiration behind the menu?
A childhood memory of mine was eating at the American fast food chains – Mcdonalds, Denny’s, Carl’s Jr, Norms, etc. Every Sunday, my family and I would enjoy a special treat of french fries, hot dogs, and hamburgers. When creating the menu, I wanted to recreate the childhood memories of eating fast food, and incorporate my Mom’s adobo recipes and my grandmother’s kare kare. To balance out the rich and hearty flavors, I also incorporated my culinary experience at the California Culinary Academy to finish off each dish with unique garnishes (i.e pickled red onion, garlic crema, chicharron).
What is your favorite dish to make and why?
This is a hard question to answer. I like making every dish on the menu. I find the most joy in giving the meal to the customers and hearing their reactions, which initially are moments of excitement and surprise. Most new customers to Belly and Snout do not expect the food to look the way it is.
Filipino Americans constitute the second-largest population of Asian Americans in the country, yet the cuisine has only gained popularity within the last 3 years. why do you feel it has taken so long?
The awareness is slowly rising through food channels like Bizarre Foods and No Reservations. Most of the ingredients in Filipino food can be a little scary to those unfamiliar (i.e. snout, liver, ears). I honestly feel that Filipino food is the next gem cuisine, as more people become willing and able to try something out of the ordinary.
Your menu is filled with hits, have there been any misses?
Yes, the Chicken Adobo Hot Dog didn’t sell. We took it off the menu, because most of our customers preferred pork over chicken.
What or who inspires you, in terms of cooking?
My Mom and Grandmother are the inspiration for my menu. They both taught me how to make adobo and kare kare – both recipes are straight from their kitchens.
You have a vast background in mutiple styles of cooking and food preparation. How have those helped you in formulating your unique blend of menu items?
A lot of the menu items I do were based on memories during my childhood and the experience i gained working at different restaurants. Working (at different restaurants and my moms cooking) has helped alot in creating the menu.
What can you tell the non-filipino about what they can expect from filipino cuisine?
For the non-filipino, expect the five senses to be on overload. It hits every sensory gland in your brain. There is sweet, savory, salty , sour, and sarap (tasty)! Expect your tastes buds to be blown away with so much flavor.
More about Chef Warren Almeda
After graduating from the prestigious California Culinary Academy, Chef Warren Almeda immediately became a culinary force, working in some of the finest restaurants in America including Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant and Roppongi. Known for his inventive dishes, Chef Almeda has cooked alongside many high-powered chefs, such as Katsuya Corporate Chef Danny Elmaleh and celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre of Ludobites and Top Chef Masters fame. Participating in events such as the San Diego Food and Wine Festivals as well as catering for stars such as Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus, Chef Almeda continues to build his reputation as a culinary maverick with his Los Angeles based Filipino/American fusion restaurant, Belly & Snout.