This One-Woman Team Established the First 100% Vegan Filipino Bakery in California

Jhemmylrut Teng

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Kym Estrada, owner of San & Wolves(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

From Brooklyn to Long Beach, California, Kym Estrada brought her vegan sweet business to the West Coast.

Estrada started her unique bakery, San & Wolves Bakeshop, in 2017. Bringing together her love for baking, Filipino heritage, and 10-years vegan lifestyle.

Her sweets pioneer the first 100% vegan Filipino pastries shop across the United States.

"I basically started this out because like there was nothing like it. I miss my culture and I miss eating foods I grew up eating." - Kym Estrada, owner of San & Wolves Bakeshop

Estrada's bakery is a one-woman operation. She handled everything from ordering raw materials, baking, taking orders, and delivering to customers.

"I started San & Wolves Bakeshop in 2017 in NY. At the time, it was the only vegan Filipino bakery/pop-up (in the world). I had no blueprint. For the first few years, I was running it with my head cut off. Didn’t understand the business aspects of it. Didn’t understand all the permits, licenses, city & state requirements involved. I just wanted to bake!" - Kym Estrada

Estrada took the opportunity to put up her business because of the growing number of Filipinos in the U.S. that are converting to a vegan diet. She focused on this market, knowingly 4 million Filipinos are living in the country.

Her products offer traditional and new vegan Filipino baked goods. All her goodies are soy-free, nut-free, palm oil-free, and made with organic sweeteners. Everything is scratch-made, right down to our house-made coconut oil-based butter.

Estrada is proud to incorporate the Ube flavor in her goodies, as it is one of the quintessential ingredients of Filipino desserts.

"Ube, it is a big thing in the Filipino culture, that's where a lot of people drawn for as it is such a unique flavor. I would describe it as similar to Taro." - Kym Estrada

Filipinx Vegan Sweet Treats

Apart from creating conventional desserts such as cakes, cupcakes, and donuts using Filipino ingredients. Estrada also introduced to her customers real Filipino baked goods such as Puto, Ensaymada, Bibingka, Pandesal, Sapin-Sapin, Biko, Buko Pie, and Turon.

Puto

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Puto(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

Puto is a Filipino steamed rice cake, traditionally made from slightly fermented rice dough. It is eaten as is or as an accompaniment to several savory dishes, most notably, dinuguan. Some puto has cheese toppings on it. But the San & Wolves' version, used vegan strip cheese for their pastries.

Ensaymada

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Ensaymada(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

Ensaymada is a Filipino sweet pastry, but its influence came from Spain. This delicacy was adopted by the Filipinos when the Spaniards colonized the country.

In the Philippines, this pastry is available in any neighborhood bakery, and it is preferred to have it as a mid-afternoon snack with a cup of brewed coffee.

Bibingka

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Bibingka(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

Bibingka is a traditional yuletide season rice cake in the Philippines. Unlike other oven-baked or steamed sweets, Bibingka is traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with leaves. Such a method of cooking provides a unique smokey flavor and aroma that anyone cannot resist.

Sapin-Sapin

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Sapin-Sapin(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

Sapin-Sapin, is another rice cake dessert made up of glutinous rice flour and coconut milk and topped with latik (coconut curds). San & Wolves did a modern twist on this traditional Filipino delicacy by making it taller, creating four layers instead of the conventional three.

Biko

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Biko(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

Biko is a sweet rice cake made of coconut milk and glutinous rice. It is usually topped with latik (coconut curds). It is a type of kalamay dish, except the rice grains, are not ground into a paste. They are also sometimes packaged in a banana leaf.

Buko Pie

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Buko Pie(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

San & Wolves Buko Pie is made with housemade sweetened condensed coconut milk, coconut meat, housemade coconut oil-based butter, and coconut whipped cream.

Buko Pie is actually the Filipino version of Coconut Cream Pie, but instead of using coconut custard filling and meringue, the pie uses sweetened condensed milk, making it denser. This dessert is most common in the Southern Luzon island of the country.

Turon

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Turon with Ube Ice Cream(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

Since the Philippines is one of the countries in the world that export millions of bananas around the globe. It is impossible for the Filipinos not to create varieties of food with this staple fruit. One of which is Turon.

It is a snack made of thinly sliced bananas (preferably saba or Cardaba bananas), rolled in a spring roll wrapper, dusted with sugar, and fried. Turon is a popular street snack amongst Filipinos.

Pandesal

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Traditional Pandesal(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

Every country has a nationally beloved bread. Think of French and their croissants, Italians and their focaccia, Americans and their bagel. For Filipinos, it is the pandesal—a national bread roll in the Philippines, which is commonly served during breakfast.

San & Wolves offers their vegan pandesal in two variants, the traditional and the Ube with vegan cheese filling.

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Ube Pandesal(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

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Ube Pandesal with vegan cheese filling(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

Pop-up to Storefront

Estrada started selling her vegan treats at events across the Los Angeles area until the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year.

Now, San & Wolves transitioned to a pickup service.

"It's been really good because in Long Beach there's such a big Filipino community here," Kym Estrada

To enjoy these Filipino vegan pastries, people may order online and pick up their goodies at Annie's Soul Delicious in L.A. on Fridays or at Salud Juice Bar in Long Beach on Saturdays.

Currently, San & Wolves is still a pop-up store, but Estrada said, her goal is to open a storefront in the near future, especially that she already acquired acumen in running a business.

"I have a way better understanding of what it takes to manage a business. Running a food business is soooo complicated and I have much respect for anyone making sure they file their quarterly sales, put their taxes into savings, creating quick books for inventory tracking, etc. Though the accounting part is still a struggle and the bane of my existence, I do have plans to be better at that." - Kym Estrada

Get Your Vegan Sweets

San & Wolves offers a variety box, which include different sweets on the menu; this is suitable for those who want to have a bite of each unique Filipino vegan treat; per box is only $30. Some goods are also sold in dozen like the Hopia Mongo and Ube Crumb Cup for only $20. To those who wanted to buy customized cakes, Estrada also accepts such orders.

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San & Wolves Vegan Filipino Sweets Variety Box(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

According to the San & Wolves website, they release a new menu every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. for pickup the following weekend. They also recommend placing your order immediately as they get to sell out in the first half-hour.

If you get to see a 404 page, it's because their desserts are sold out for the week. For exact preorder menu date drops, pickup dates, and pop-up dates, do visit their website and follow their Instagram account.

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San & Wolves Bakery(Source: San & Wolves Bakery IG)

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I am a PR officer and a professional journalist with a master's degree in international development. I write history, geopolitics, food, and culture. Since I am a member of the API community, I make sure to highlight our stories to promote diversity and create awareness for cultural understanding.

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