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The glossy, crispy skin and juicy meat of charcoal-roasted lechon; the charred gelatinous pork fat at the end of a barbecue skewer; the hearty marrow-enriched beef broth of bulalo: These are some of my fondest memories of Filipino cuisine. I’ve always thought of Filipino food as the ultimate comfort food. And for me that comfort always came with karne, or meat.
When I first heard of vegan Filipino food—about five years ago, when I moved to New York from the Philippines—it sounded like an oxymoron. Some of our cuisine’s most popular dishes are adobo, typically made by braising chicken
Still, in the midst of finalizing menus and ordering supplies, Niven Patel stops to talk about a carrot.
He describes how, after planting 300 seedlings at his homestead farm, Rancho Patel, one lone carrot matured before the rest. “I took the carrot out of the ground and it was all twisted,” Patel says, explaining that underneath the soil, there’s a layer of limestone, and each vegetable and