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Kusina Caviteña highlights Filipino fare 

click to enlarge A Beef Mechado plate includes four hunks of meat and a potato segment over jasmine rice with two long lumpia (fried spring rolls, with pork, parsley, carrot and onion). - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A Beef Mechado plate includes four hunks of meat and a potato segment over jasmine rice with two long lumpia (fried spring rolls, with pork, parsley, carrot and onion).

Kusina Caviteña
Mobile business, 304-9026, kusinacavitena.com

This Filipino food truck launched in January at the hands of Rosemarie Shelton, who hails from the Philippines’ Cavite province, hence the business’ name. Shelton’s mom owned three restaurants back home, she says, but it wasn’t her mother who taught her to cook, but the hired workers that ran the kitchens.

So, no nostalgia here, as Shelton’s recipes are actually common, not specialized by her. A former computer operations tech in the Army, she says she just loves to cook and feed people. I order her daily special, a Beef Mechado plate: four hunks of meat and a potato segment over jasmine rice with two long lumpia (fried spring rolls, with pork, parsley, carrot and onion). The hearty tomato-based stew sees Spanish and Asian influences, as well as a citrus edge (traditionally from calamondin, a kumquat-orange hybrid grown in the Philippines, but usually just lemon juice when made in the U.S.) Shelton sears soy-marinated beef tips with garlic and peppers, and the acidity from the tomatoes and lemons in the sauce makes for a tangy finish when spiked with the soy’s saltiness.

It offers a simple, comfort-food pleasure over the rice, while the crispy lumpia taste pungent dunked in a side fish sauce flecked with chiles (less sweet than Mae Ploy sauce, and fishier).

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