At Amboy, Cailan leaves the core of Filipino food intact. But he shifts the final product for the community at large he's cooking for. "Instead of using heavy pork fat as the base," Cailan says, "I'm using vegetarian shiitake mushroom dashi." For other traditional Filipino stews—kaldereta, kare-kare, and monggo—he swaps out meat for legumes to appeal to the area's vegetable-oriented diet. "Southern California food is vegetable heavy," he says. So he roasts vegetables, sears and glazes them with an adobo sauce, and then adds lashes of soy, vinegar, and garlic—classic flavors of the Filipino pantry. Traditional? Not really. But "if you eat it all together," Cailan tells me, "you're eating Filipino food."