Anna Nerenberg, Owner of Adelinda’s Lumpia, Shares Her Filipino Culture with Food


Following the birth of her daughter, this marketing professional went back to her roots to share her love of Filipino food with her Findlay Kitchen startup and side gig, Adelinda’s Lumpia.

Illustration by Chris Danger

When did you start Adelinda’s Lumpia, and why was this something you wanted to do?
I started last spring at Asian Food Fest. After my daughter was born, when she was about 1, I wasn’t working, and I thought it was a good time to focus on something that wouldn’t take all my time but would fuel my passion while letting me bring in a little income.

Growing up, I always wondered why there wasn’t Filipino food anywhere [in Cincinnati]. There’s a lot of Italian food, German food, Chinese, Japanese—everything—but there was never Filipino food. I always wished that somebody would do something to change that, and no one ever did. I was making lumpia for people to take to events, and everybody always loved them. I thought, Maybe I have something here. I’m not a chef or a culinary expert at all. I just love Filipino culture.

Did you grow up with Filipino food in the household?
My mother is Filipino and my dad is American. I was born in Virginia Beach, where there are a ton of Filipino restaurants and a whole Filipino scene. It was kind of a culture shock coming to Cincinnati when I was 4 or 5, but I’ve pretty much grown up here. Most of our food that we had growing up was Filipino. Every holiday: Fourth of July, Filipino food; Thanksgiving, Filipino food.

How did you prepare for your Asian Food Fest debut?
I joined the Co.Starters class at Findlay Kitchen, which is for people wanting to start a small business, and they have a special food business course. I got a membership at Findlay Kitchen, so I could use their commercial kitchen instead of raising the capital for my own place. I have an MBA—I’ve studied business, so I have that background, but I wanted to bounce ideas off of food experts to make sure that I was on the right track, so that was a good opportunity.

What exactly is a lumpia?
Lumpia are Filipino spring rolls. They’re at every happy gathering in the Philippines. No matter who it is, you know if you’re going to a holiday, birthday, or graduation, they’re for sure going to have lumpia. It makes me think of good times.

What are they normally filled with?
Often, in the Philippines, it’s pork or beef. I make my traditional ones, Manila, with beef. There’s a dessert one, too, called turon, and that will have plantains or bananas and another sweet filling like coconut or sugar. I do one with banana and jackfruit, and that’s my Cebu roll. They’re typically pan-fried in the Philippines, so air frying is something that’s really unique to ours, which we do for the added healthfulness of taking out the oil.

Do you use family recipes?
The traditional recipes, which are the Manila and the Cebu—named after major cities in the Philippines—those are pretty much passed down, but I’ve added my own twists here and there, but they’re based on my family recipes. Then I added my feature recipes, which are based on American flavors, so I have a buffalo chicken roll and a Cincinnati roll, which is based on Cincinnati chili, and a Brooklyn pizza roll—which is actually named after my daughter.

Where can people try your lumpia?
We took a short season this year at Findlay Market, so we’re done for this summer’s season. For the rest of the year we’ll mainly set up at festivals and special events. I’m aiming for the Second Sunday on Main, City Flea, and The O.F.F. Market, so I’ll be updating on social media where we’ll be.

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