Around the World in Houston: Discover the Philippines

The Houston Filipino Street Festival | Photo courtesy of Filipino Young Professionals of Houston

With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.

From eateries serving lechón, adobo and halo-halo to street festivals, community programs and arts, there are plenty of ways to explore Filipino culture in Houston.

Annual Festivals & Cultural Events

  • AsiaFest Held in the spring, AsiaFest celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage through community performances, fusion cuisine, creative activities, art and vendors, and cultural exhibitions.
  • The Houston Filipino Street Festival  Held in the fall, the annual Houston Filipino Street Festival (Salamat 4) celebrates the rich culture and heritage of the Philippines with the Houston community. Just like the street festivals commonly celebrated all over the Philippines, locals meet to eat, drink, hit vendors, and enjoy activities for the entire family.
  • Munting Pinoy The annual Munting Pinoy pageant showcases traditional Filipino-inspired talents of kids ages 3 to 12. This year’s show will be held on Saturday, November 18.

Museums & Cultural Organizations

  • Asia Society Texas Center With 12 locations throughout the world, the Asia Society seeks to promote mutual understanding and strengthen partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the west. Locally, the Museum District center enriches and engages the vast diversity of Houston through innovative programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach. Look out for a rotating selection of programs and activities, from culture camps for kids to special artist exhibitions.
  • Arts of Asia at MFAH The Museum of Fine Arts Houston hosts an Arts of Asia collection spanning nearly five millennia and encompassing cultures across the continent, including Southeast Asian art.
  • Filipino Young Professionals of Houston – Comprised of individuals who are of Filipino heritage or who have an interest in the Philippines or Filipino culture, this non-profit fosters unity, culture, friendship, networking, and philanthropy in the Houston and global community. Get involved with outreach programs, career days, and special events.

Filipino Food & Drink

Restaurants & Food Trucks

  • Ayie’s Fill up on traditional Filipino-American eats—think fried lumpia egg rolls, longganisa sausage burgers, and ground pork spaghetti with fried chicken—at this Cypress joint.
  • Baguio HutOver in Sugar Land, this Filipino food hut offers cafeteria-style dishes, from stewed chicken adobo and lumpia spring rolls to all-day breakfast and halo halo dessert.
  • Best of FilipinianaHit this all-day buffet to fill up on over 30 authentic selections, with pork sisig and lechon kawali (crispy fried pork belly), pinoy beef steak and kare kare (stewed oxtail), palabok noodles and lumpiang sariwa (spring rolls), cassava pichi-pichi and leche flan and more.
  • Best of Filipiniana TooNorth of the Beltway, this spot rocks everything from beef kalderata and bone-in snapper to pansit bihon and Filipino sticky rice cakes; all of which is available for an all-you-can-eat price. At night, you may even find a karaoke DJ.
  • FBQ Filipino Barbecue This cool and casual Webster eatery offers deliciousness in the form of Filipino bbq sticks, legua (beef tongue) with creamy mushroom sauce, crispy skin lechon with atchara (pickled papaya), halo-halo, and freshly-baked pandesals (Filipino bread rolls).
  • Filipino Cuisine Craving all of your homestyle Pinoy favorites, like beef mechado, pansit noodles, and chicken afritada? This buffet has it all.
  • Flip ‘n Patties With Filipino street food fresh off a mobile kitchen, this hip food truck wins over locals with its crazy good Akaushi beef burgers, fully loaded and housed inside scratch-made steamed buns. Get the Jeepney burger, topped with fried egg, banana ketchup aioli, and housemade longanisa; or go for rice plates packed with things like pecan-smoked pork butt, battered chicken pupu, and Filipino-style spam.
  • Jayli Bakery & Cafe Feast on siopao, pichi-pichi, pansit palabok, and Pinoy beef steak at this authentic and no-frills café in Sugar Land.
  • Jollibee This Filipino chain started in Daly City, California in 1998; today, it hosts 34 locations across the country, one of which sits off Main. Get house favorites like the Chickenjoy, Jollibee’s take on crispy, juicy fried chicken; meaty Jolly Spaghetti and garlicky Fiesta Noddles; and Burger Steaks, beef patties smothered in mushroom gravy with a side of steamed rice.
  • Pinoy Fast Food As the name suggests, this fast food joint offers an authentic taste of the Philippines via lechon kawali, bicol express (pork and coconut milk stew), chicken lollipops, and spicy crab ginataang.
  • Pugon de Manila  Pinakbet (vegetables coated in shrimp sauce), dinuguan (pork offal stew), and adobo pusit (squid) are all on the menu at this NRG-area gem. As are empanadas, halo halo, bbq chicken, and all-day breakfast plates with fried egg, garlic rice, and Filipino pork sausage.

Grocery Stores & Bakeries

  • Filtex CompanyHead to this Filipino grocery to pick up products like sukang maasim (cane vinegar), monamon fish sauce and fresh kakanin, or native delicacies like bibingka and cassava cake.
  • Godo’s Bakery & Restaurant This Med Center bakery offers Filipino steam buns, ensaymada pastries, mamon sponge cake, and golden empanadas along with an array of authentic Pinoy eats, from beef goto and papaitan to chicken adobo. The eatery also specializes in catering.
  • Manila MinimartHit this small market to shop for Filipino products, from sweet Boy Bawang snacks and Patis fish sauce to pancit noodles and halo-halo.
  • Red Ribbon Bakeshop This Filipino bakery chain offers mamon in flavors from butter and mocha to cheese and ube, along with Filipino pan de sal, mango rolls and cakes, and halo-halo.
  • Sarap Pinoy Restaurant & Grocery Over in Humble, this half-market, half-restaurant offers Filipino snacks and imported goods in the front and homestyle cooking in the back. Fill up at the buffet, then pick up Pinoy homemade longanisa, sauces, and packaged noodles to-go.
  • To Go Cafe Located inside Bellaire H-E-B, this food stand and mini market offers fresh foods daily, from bihon and beef kaldareta to incredible lechon and spicy chicharon. The stand also sells Filipino grocery items.

Language Classes, Education Centers, Groups & Meet-Ups

  • Berlitz Language Center This learning center offers flexible programs for adults and children, with languages ranging from Tagalog to Farsi.
  • Filipino Student Association at University of Houston This student organization promotes cultural performances, demonstrations, social gatherings, and camaraderie events in relevance to Filipino culture, including the Goodphil Games, held every March.
  • Filipinos of Houston Texas Join this Facebook group to unite with fellow community members and follow along with Filipino happenings in Houston.
  • Philippine Sports Association of Houston Texas Started in 2004, this sports association promotes a mission to maintain awareness of the Filipino culture and heritage, with skills camps, leagues, and tournaments throughout the year.
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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .