Filipino flavor is Rocklin’s gem

Empanadas N Buns is a wonderful little restaurant located in Rocklin that serves Filipino food, and I had the opportunity to try out a few of their delicious items.

As soon as you walk into Empanadas N Buns the chef and owner, Nora Carino, with a warm smile, greets you. Carino is behind the cash register ready to take an order. When she’s done taking your order, she goes into the kitchen to prepare the order.

After about five minutes Carino came out of the kitchen and offered us a free appetizer. I was skeptical to try it out at first, but was glad I did. It was a large, round cracker topped with herbs and cheese that had a salty taste, almost like a potato chip.

It took about 25 minutes to get the food because it is made to order. I ordered an empanada, which is a pastry filled with ground beef, raisins, and olives. The first bite was wonderful, and it got better with each bite. The beef wasn’t too salty or under-seasoned, and the raisins added a nice sweet flavor without it being overpowering.

Although I’m not a big fan of lumpia, which are like mini eggrolls, I tried it and found it tolerable. The steamed pork buns were very small, light, and fluffy, and the meat tasted fantastic. The pork adobo was covered in a delicious bittersweet sauce. The meat was cooked to perfection and was very tender.

Throughout the meal, Carino and her husband would come to our table to ask if we needed anything. They also took the time to get to know our names. We told them that everything was delicious. I honestly couldn’t find a better way to describe the food.

Once we finished our food I ordered halo-halo, the Filipino dessert, which is evaporated milk and shaved ice.  I had never tried this dish, and I was afraid of what it would taste like. Carino went back into the kitchen, and I heard a blender start up. A few minutes later she came back out with a large bowl filled high with halo-halo, milky ice, and topped with ice cream.

We began to eat slowly. The halo-halo at the bottom was sweet. Its consistency was soupy, and it contained raw coconut, small beans that tasted like nuts, and many sweet fruits.

The experience was great, and I will definitely be visiting Empanadas N Buns again in the near future.

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