Tropical Food Express is a family owned fast food restaurant offering Filipino food.

Address: 9625 Foothill Boulevard, Rancho Cucamonga, CA  91730

There is not that many Filipino restaurants in the Inland Empire so I decided to try this place. Their set-up is similar to that of Panda Express where you pick out the items you want. They are family owned and run so the ambiance is very homy.

 

I ordered a pork dish called Sinigang. The dish is a soup with pork cutlets and simmered with tamarind fruit for tartness and acidity. It contains tomato wedges, string beans and radish. The dish is usually eaten with steaming long grain white rice. The dish is very satisfying. Other versions of this dish is using fish or beef.

 

Tropical Express has a wide variety of choices including Ginataang Langka (Jackfruit rind simmered in coconut milk), Laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk), Kare Kare, Pansit (Filipino version of chow mein), Lumpia )spring rolls) and of course Adobo (chicken or pork braised in garlic, vinegar and soy sauce).

Filipino food has Chinese and Spanish, Asian and Hispanic influences. The Philippines was colonized by Spain for over 300 years. Some of  the foods are quite similar to Mexican food. Tomato and tomato sauce is widely used in their dishes. Filipino food is characterized by it’s combination of sweet, sour and salty. Pairing of something sweet with something salty is a common feature of Philippine cooking.  Fish sauce and vinegar are widely used in Filipino cooking.

Due to Western influences, unlike other Asians  Filipinos do not use chopsticks; fork, spoon and knives are instead used in eating. But the usual pairing of utensil is spoon and fork not fork and knives.

For desert I ordered  rice cakes which is cooked with coconut milk and some sugar for sweetness. The rice cakes are quite tasty but not overly sweet. For drink, I ordered sago at gulaman (the Filipino version of Boba).

 

Some reviews I have read about Tropical Food Express are negative. But the staff are very nice, their rest room is clean, letter grade from the county health department is “A”. I will go back again to see if I will get the same good experience.