When I think of Charles Olalia I think of halo-halo. Let me explain: Upon a recent visit to the Philippines I found myself in the backyard of Olalia’s childhood home. “You can’t go to the Philippines and not come to my house for dinner,” Olalia had said. At the end of the meal, he opened an ice chest filled with halo-halo in plastic takeaway cups. “It’s from Razon’s; it’s a two-hour drive from here, but we went to get it today because you had to try it. It’s the best in Manila.”
This is just how the chef operates, with an effortless hospitality and enthusiasm. Olalia has applied this same ethos to define and even name Ma’am Sir, the chef’s newest expression of Filipino cuisine, opening this week in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.