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Fil-Am baker-author Abi Balingit on her sweet success with 'Mayumu'

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at May 27 2023 11:27 AM

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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Abi Balingit quarantined in New York City where she works in marketing.

She was worried for herself and for her family in California, and had been craving Filipino food.

Balingit's parents, originally from Pampanga province, served it whenever she visited them.

She eventually found solace in baking. And while making anything in her apartment proved challenging, she was undeterred.

Once Balingit began posting her photogenic and savory creations, she developed an online following through her blog and on Twitter.

Publishing powerhouse Harper Collins saw her food tweets and asked if she was interested in writing a book.

A year after submitting her book proposal, Balingit got the green light and wrote "Mayumu: Filipino American Desserts Remixed" in four months.

The book's main title, which means sweet in Kapampangan, is an homage to her roots and a showcase for her remixed Filipino desserts.

"It's been fun to not just look at the dessert side of Filipino cuisine," Balingit said, "but also just be nostalgic for savory and find ways to incorporate every single type of flavor sensation."

At Berkeley, Balingit completed degrees in business administration and in media studies.

She was not a trained cook or a baker, but Balingit said she has good instincts on what makes Filipino food great and also sought advice from her parents.

During the pandemic and despite the physical distance, Balingit shared that she grew closer to her parents because of the book.

She interviewed her parents virtually and learned things that she admitted she didn't make time for before the health crisis.

"I was so nervous about making Filipino food," Balingit added. "I think it was more of just like a survival instinct of, ‘What if I never learned this and then I'll never see my parents again. And then what now?’