Flippin’ Filipino: An Alabama-based Pinoy carinderia on wheels
It’s 2023, and the world seems to be spinning faster.
We’ve officially reached a point where fast food, drive-through (or delivery) services, and convenience stores are the default dining options for the busy bee. But sometimes, your taste buds would rebel against the mundanity of mass-produced meals. You would find yourself craving something more than a greasy burger—something homegrown, and sometimes, something with a dash of nostalgia.
For Filipinos, this culinary longing usually comes in the form of Pinoy street food and carinderia fare. But what would you do when you live somewhere miles away from a local turo-turo joint? Say… Huntsville, Alabama?
All hail Flippin’ Filipino—literally hail it
In the not-so-distant past, Huntsville-based Pinoys had very limited choices to satisfy their local palate. You could either attempt a culinary experiment in your own kitchen (cue the frantic phone calls with grandma for some tips) or ignore the craving until your next return to the homeland.
But in 2021—amid the pandemic and all the chaos it wrought—a food truck named Flippin’ Filipino was born. It’s owned (and run) by Mary Chappell, a Filipina whose mission is to serve authentic Pinoy street food in the heart of Huntsville.
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From Filipino-style BBQ skewers to everyone’s favorite lumpia, you can say that Chappell has become the local heroine for those wanting a taste of the Philippines. Pancit, adobo, caldereta, pork inihaw, ube crinkle cookies, and turon are some of her specialties, but she can whip up more Pinoy dishes upon special request.
Yup, Flippin’ Filipino is practically a carinderia on wheels.
Retracing the truck’s journey
It hasn’t always been like that. Prior to the pandemic, Chappell had been a medical assistant, and cooking was merely her passion. However, when the global health crisis inevitably punched a hole in her working hours and paycheck, she knew it was time to cook up a new plan—and cook, she did.
Flippin’ Filipino started out as a side hustle, but Chappell ended up making more with it than her actual day job. So, with a genuine interest in culinary and a knack for prepping authentic Filipino dishes, she ventured where no one else had tread before in the city’s bustling food scene.
“I had made some things for a friend at work for her birthday, and everyone loved my food,” says Chappell in an interview with a Huntsville publication. “It’s been successful enough that I quit my medical assisting job in order to do this full time.”
Where to catch Flippin’ Filipino
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While the food truck doesn’t really have a permanent parking spot, it often stays at the NASA Food Truck Corral. You can also keep an eye on Flippin’ Filipino’s next stops via Instagram or Facebook.
Oh, and by the way, they offer catering services, too. (Just in case you want an all-Filipino menu for your upcoming parties.)