Meet Laura Dadap of Djablo Sauce 🥊
A little about Laura
Laura Dadap, founder of Djablo Sauce, is an actor and musician born, raised and based in Queens, NYC. Daughter of two immigrant musicians, her father hailing from Leyte, Philippines and her Chinese mother from Paris, France, she grew up appreciating not only the arts, but her father’s unparalleled home cooking. As he searched for flavors that reminded him of home, Laura’s dad came up with an original hot sauce recipe that her future husband (then boyfriend) loved so much that he drank it.
Her family lovingly bottled hundreds of bottles as favors at their wedding which was the start of Djablo, the first locally produced, small batch Filipino hot sauce in the United States. Their zesty ginger and garlic forward sauce that packs a punch with round, comforting heat is the answer to the ingredient focused millennial searching the shelves of their local grocery shop to make any food more interesting. Djablo officially launched sales in June 2019 with 2 flavors in 2 sizes ranging from $10-20 for those who like a little bit of spice, to those who want a Djab on every bite.
What inspired you to become a food business owner?
The flavors of my father’s cooking have been such a huge part of my life and something that I’ve always loved to share with others. My parents run a not for profit orchestra and I’ve watched them be their own bosses my entire life so the idea of starting my own business definitely felt like a natural step once I had a product I knew people wanted on the market.
Why did you want to highlight the food you are creating?
When my dad started workshopping his hot sauce recipe, he was searching for flavors at local markets that reminded him of home. He would serve it during the holidays and our friends and family would leave our house with jars of it for ba’on (means takeout in the Philippines). To me, adding Djablo to a dish makes anything taste like my dad’s home cooking, which in turn makes me think of the dishes he ate as a child that inspired his cooking. Hopefully that translates to anyone who opens a bottle of our sauce!
What is your favorite dish? Is there a story behind it?
My favorite dish is my dad’s roast pork belly. It’s the first thing he started pairing with Djablo Sauce. He uses the base ingredients of our sauce to marinate it and then will truss the entire piece of meat around aromatics like lemongrass, and ginger. It comes out so flavorful and juicy and always has you going back for “one more piece.”
As a music student in his twenties, my dad played guitar during dinner service at a French Restaurant called “Terrace in the Sky” in Morningside Heights. It was at this very restaurant that he met my mother, who teamed up with him to play violin and guitar duets.
After hours the head chef, Dusan Bernic, a Yugoslav-born refugee and owner of the restaurant invited my dad into the kitchen to learn the art and mysteries of food preparation. He taught my dad the restaurant’s signature Beef Wellington with caviar lined pastry, and revealed the most delicious cuts of meat were the cheap cuts on the ends.
Pairing these skills with his experience as the 13th of 14 siblings, my dad started to experiment with stretching a dollar to entertain his loved ones. Over family holidays, he started to develop signature dishes and flavors that joined his Southeast Asian roots and his newly acquired techniques.
What does courage mean to you?
Courage means putting one foot in front of the other even when the outcome is uncertain. Courage requires being honest with oneself and to be able to show yourself grace. Courage means speaking up and speaking out for those who may not be able to do so for themselves.
Where can we expect to see you in the next few years?
In the next few years we hope to have a presence nationwide and to be able to provide continued support to music education and immigrant advocacy. Our community is important to us as well so anything we can do to support protecting our AAPI elders and mutual aid networks is a priority for us in how we impact our community.
Thank you so much Laura for sharing her story with us! Tuk Tuk Box is proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian ingredients and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.
If you or someone you know wants to share their story with us, send us an email: email@example.com. Stay tuned for future stories and the newest products by subscribing to our mailing list.