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Lutong Lupa Rice Bar: Melbourne’s plant-based Filipino dining experience

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Filipinos and Australians alike are in for a treat with Lutong Lupa, a pop-up dining event that will give diners an opportunity to discover a special range of plant-based Filipino dishes served as a traditional Filipino boodle fight.

One of Melbourne’s leading Filipino restaurants, Chibog in West Footscray will host the event, organised by Filipino cuisine extraordinaire, chef Joel Francis “Joff” F. Hernandez. 

Chef Joel Francis “Joff” F. Hernandez
Chef Joel Francis “Joff” F. Hernandez | PHOTO: Zairene Yeoh

Lutong Lupa (Tagalog for: cooked food from the soil) Rice Bar is a private catering business based in Melbourne specialising in #PlantBasedFilipino cuisine. It was a pandemic-born business built to keep Joff grounded during the uncertainty of the Melbourne lockdowns. 

The effects of the pandemic have inspired Joff to work hard to develop this new project. “I offered meal-kits in the first few months of operation, delivering door-to-door, and transitioned into private dining services in clients’ homes serving intimate Filipino boodle fights. I now offer pop-up events in venues such as Chibog in West Footscray, bringing the traditional boodle fight and #PlantBasedFilipino dining experience to a wider range of clientele in Melbourne,” says Joff.

Joff has noticed a growing interest among second-generation Filipino-Australians who have been seeking to reconnect with their Filipino roots through cuisine and culture. “I’ve also served a number of Australians who are interested in learning about Filipino food through familiar offerings such as wings, hummus, and veganism in general,” he says.

With this event, Lupa Rice Bar seeks to strengthen Australia’s vegan Filipino food market. Joff believes that Filipino cuisine needs evolve by adapting to modern plant-based consumer diets and trends. “Not only would we make Filipino food healthier, but also make our cuisine more accessible to more cultures and address a wide variety of dietary concerns. Filipino food para sa lahat (for all),” he says.

Lutong Lupa Rice Bar 7 Chibog
Lutong Lupa Rice Bar – Chibog | PHOTO: Ma Alma
Lutong Lupa Rice Bar – Chibog
PHOTO: Ma Alma

Boodle Night II Menu

Guests attending the Boodle Night II on Monday, May 16, should expect to taste a progressive range of #PlantBasedFilipino dishes that respect the traditional Filipino flavours.

Appetisers include Cauliflower Wings, made from battered cauliflower florets, served with housemade spicy banana ketchup and pickled red onion. 

Monggo Hummus, made from pureed Mung Bean Stew (Ginisang Munggo), Bicol Express (soybean tempeh in spicy coconut gravy), topped with lemongrass and ginger oil (inasal oil), and served with puffed rice paper. 

For mains, three ulams/viands will be served in a boodle fight format, including Kare-Kare (tofu in peanut sauce), Salpicao (sauteed field mushrooms in garlic and soy), and Adobo Flakes (twice-cooked enoki mushrooms in adobo) with Sinangag (fragrant garlic fried rice). 

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According to Joff, the use of atchara (pickling with Filipino vinegar) throughout the menu balances the heavy flavours, cutting the fat with asim (sourness). 

A rendition of Root Beer Float featuring a coconut and vanilla sorbet from Kariton Sorbetes, fresh and dried fruits, and root beer syrup will be served for dessert. 

Beverage pairings are optional and recommended. 

Boodle fight II - Lutong Lupa Rice Bar - Chibog
PHOTO: Lutong Lupa
Boodle fight II - Lutong Lupa Rice Bar - Chibog
PHOTO: Lutong Lupa
Boodle fight II - Lutong Lupa Rice Bar - Chibog
PHOTO: Lutong Lupa
Boodle fight II - Lutong Lupa Rice Bar - Chibog
PHOTO: Lutong Lupa
Boodle fight II - Lutong Lupa Rice Bar - Chibog
PHOTO: Lutong Lupa
Boodle fight II - Lutong Lupa Rice Bar - Chibog
PHOTO: Lutong Lupa
Boodle fight II - Lutong Lupa Rice Bar - Chibog
GRAPHICS: James Lynch

Bookings are open

Each ticket starts at $95 with the option of beverage pairings. Guests can book by e-mailing cheers@chibog.com.au and providing names, time, contact number, and number of guests.

About the Chef

Joff Hernandez came to Australia to complete his postgraduate degree in hospitality from The Hotel School Melbourne and has been working professionally in food service for five years. He has finished a Diploma in French cooking at the Center for Culinary Arts, Manila, trained in fine dining in Manila, worked as a private chef, operated food stalls in bazaars and fairs, worked as a cafe-all-rounder chef, and currently works part-time as a Commis Chef at Smith & Deli, a vegan restaurant located in Collingwood.

Joff is passionate about Filipino cuisine and aims to strengthen Australia’s vegan Filipino food market.


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