Since moving to the Northeast seven years ago, I’ve made it a tradition to visit my parents every summer. It’s a nice break from our regular routine and the kids love getting to spend quality time with my parents.

Being with them and watching the kids interact with them brings me back to my childhood when I spent summers with my grandmother. She’d usually travel down to visit us and would make it a memorable trip every time. When she wasn’t talking to my mother and aunt in Spanish (so that we wouldn’t know what she was talking about,) she was cooking for us. Growing up in the Philippines she learned how to cook some incredible Filipino food and lumpia was one of her specialties.

Since my grandmother’s passing three years ago, it’s been even more important for me to pass on her greatness and share her recipes with my children. But it’s not me teaching them, it’s my mom. So they’re learning from their grandmother just as I did many years ago.

Last summer I shared her big lumpia recipe, and this summer we spent time making her small lumpias. These are a delicious appetizer or could also be a main dish with a side of fried rice and pancit (recipe for that coming soon.)


What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • small wonton wrappers
  • small bowl of water
  • oil



Mix ground beef through soy sauce ingredients in a large bowl.


Take your wonton wrapper and lay it down like a diamond on a plate.


Take a small piece of the mixture and form it like a little cylinder. Place right above the bottom corner of the wonton wrapper.


Wrap the bottom part of wonton wrapper over the meat mixture.


Dip your fingers in the bowl of water and press down on each side of meat mixture to secure wonton wrapper on the sides.


Bring both sides of wonton wrapper in. Dab a bit of water on the wrapper to secure.


Roll rest of lumpia and put some water on end of wrapper to secure.

Heat oil and fry lumpia until the outside wrapper is a deep golden brown.


We enjoy the lumpia with grandma’s sweet and sour sauce that’s a mixture of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, sugar, and water (then thickened with cornstarch + water mixture.) My grandmother never measured anything, so I usually just add these ingredients and do a lot of tasting throughout.

Grandma loved the kitchen and loved cooking for us, so I know that she’s with me every time that I’m cooking her famous recipes. No one can make them quite like she does, but I know that with each time I make it, I get better. And I’m making  grandma proud.


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