When we start calling Anaheim home to OC's own Little Manila, the epicenter of it all will be the plaza at the corner of Euclid and Crescent. When Jollibee and its sister Red Ribbon joined Kapit Bahay and LBC (the balikbayan box courier used by Filipino expats to send care packages to the Philippines), the 99 Ranch-anchored shopping center instantly had the greatest density of Filipino businesses and eateries outside Artesia/Cerritos.
Now more are coming to join them.
Valerio's Bakery, which seems to have branches in just about every Pinoy neighborhood in LA County, from West Covina to across from the Cerritos Jollibee, doesn't directly compete against Red Ribbon. They don't do cakes as does Red Ribbon. Valerio's is a bread maker, specialists in the Filipino dinner rolls called pan de sal. A dozen will cost a measly $2.25.
The best way to have them is to wait for a batch to come out of the oven. Tear into while they're still steaming, and you'll be treated to a milky, cotton-light fluff of a crumb with a faintly sugary flavor. When they're this fresh, they can and should be eaten plain. Consume a few in the car, and the sweet fumes of the freshly baked, bite-sized loaves will intoxicate you all the way home.
They've been open for scarcely four weeks. For now, you won't see much more than the aforementioned rolls, a refrigerator with meat-filled siopaos, some turon (banana-filled egg rolls), and a hot box with stuffed pans de sal. And they're also still adjusting. The batch of pan de sal I was given could've used a little more time in the oven. They were taken out a few minutes early because the cashier saw the ravenous glint in my eye and didn't want to keep me waiting.
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A few steps away, inside the 99 Ranch Supermarket, Manila Sunrise, the Filipino takeout counter that I assume is associated with the long-established restaurant of the same name in Carson, serves a small but impressive array of turo-turo food. I saw banana cue (deep fried bananas) and karioka (sticks of chewy, deep-fried coconut rice balls) among them.
To Manila Sunrise and Valerio's, I say, "Mabuhay!"