Lumpia: A treat for the Lunar New Year

WACO, TX (FOX 44) – Lunar New Year starts on Sunday – and that means celebration, family, and food galore! There is one popular Filipino dish that is loved by so many, and it proves that the way to someone’s heart is always through the stomach.

Every Filipino gathering has a main dish that stands out from the rest – lumpia. Its crispy crust and savory center make it one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines.

Inside is a stuffing of pork, cabbage and other vegetables wrapped in fried filo. It is served as an appetizer, main course and even as an appetizer.

Emma Lenkar, Line Chef at East Market and Goods, showed me how to roll the perfect lumpia.

“First we need to collapse the {wrapper}, then [the sides} and then continue [rolling],” she says.

Tim Kulkarni is co-owner of East Market and Goods, the first Asian grocery store in Waco. He says there’s a reason this little piece of goodness has been such a hit.

“It’s usually a family business. Everyone gathers around. Everyone does a whole bunch at once. You tell the latest gossip and stuff,” says Tim. “This is how we show love to each other. That’s how we communicate.”

Just like every bite of lumpia has a little bit of everything, Joni Navarra Kulkarni – Tim’s wife – and co-owner of East Market and Goods says: “Some people will think, ‘Oh hey, where’s that Chinese ingredient?’ But little did you know that a bit of Chinese is actually also used in Vietnamese, Latin American or South African food.”

Their goals include celebrating diversity and family, not just immediate family. In fact, the foundation of East Market was caused by the need to help his big family – the community.

“We’ve heard the same thing from almost everyone in our communities: ‘Oh, I have to go as far as being able to cook and bring home my heritage or share our culture with others.’ And you know, my wife and I just looked at each other and thought… “This is one of the things we can fix for our community,” says Tim.

The power couple is also contributing to the Asian community by hosting the Wako Lunar New Year Festival 2023 with live performances and over 30 vendors.

“Not only are we promoting the Asian community, we are also really promoting and celebrating the diversity that is growing in Waco,” Joni says.

“And this is New Year’s celebration with good luck to you, your friends and family. Always food, says Tim.

The Lunar New Year, “Year of the Rabbit” celebration will begin on Sunday, January 22 at 6500 Woodway Drive, hosted by M. G. Montemayor from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. There will be a lumpian eating contest in which the contestants will be given ten minutes to eat as many lumpians as possible.

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