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Filipino Food Steps Into the Spotlight at Oakland’s Mad Oak Bar

The Lumpia Company is now serving its creative take on the traditional dish

Bacon cheeseburger lumpia
The Lumpia Company

The Lumpia Company, a pop-up specializing in the fried Filipino delicacy, has found a temporary home at Oakland bar Mad Oak. Owner Alex Retodo has been riffing on the traditional snack for years, starting with his signature version with a bacon cheeseburger filling. Now, after popping up at breweries and events throughout the Bay Area, Retodo has some room to expand his business as he takes up residency in Mad Oak’s kitchen for the next five months.

After a month of cooking in the space, Retodo says he’s expanded the menu beyond lumpia, including Filipino-inspired dishes like a pickled papaya hot dog, wings, and tater tots topped with pork adobo. “It’s a little bit of a graduation from the breweries and pop-ups,” said Retodo. “Now I can fire up some real bar bites.”

Alex Retodo serving lumpia at Mad Oak

Retodo says it’s an exercise in both education of those unfamiliar with Filipino food, and giving traditionalists a different view of lumpia. Retodo’s non-traditional fillings are a mix of cultures, from spicy ramen to banh mi to Shanghai with pork and shrimp, plus a Chef Curry version in honor of the Warriors playoffs, featuring Thai curry with chicken. Dessert lumpia are an option, too, with apple pie and other sweet fillings on the horizon.

The Filipino community has come out in support, says Retodo, using the locale as an opportunity to invite friends outside their culture for a taste beyond typical mom-and-pop restaurants. “When I was a kid it was guaranteed that whoever I served this to would love it,” said Retodo. “We’re going beyond mama’s tradition with ground meat and frozen veggies, putting a lot of craft into the stuffing.”

After this, the search is on for a permanent location to serve his growing menu of lumpia, in addition to wholesale accounts like SF bar Redford and The Hatch in Oakland.

Stop by Mad Oak for a taste of Retodo’s lumpia seven days a week. Hours are Monday-Thursday from 4 p.m.- 10 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m.- 1 a.m., Saturday from 2 p.m.-1 a.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m.- 10 p.m.

Mad Oak Bar

135 12th Street, , CA 94607 (510) 843-7416 Visit Website