Vallejo native Earl “E-40” Stevens likes his music, his Golden State Warriors, and, as it turns out, his lumpia.
Yes, lumpia. Apparently, ever since he was a kid growing up in a city thats about one-fourth Filipino ancestry.
“It was like my favorite food in the world,” the pioneer rapper said by phone.
Not only has E-40 put his mouth where plenty of the fried spring rolls are, hes put his money where his mouth is, dropping some investment cash into The Lumpia Company in Oakland.
Its been about a year since the noted rapper was introduced to Alex Retodo, founder of The Lumpia Company in 2015. After sampling Retodas lumpia, Vallejos big bopper was so impressed, he almost reached for his wallet on the spot “and history was made,” E-40 told the San Francisco dining publication, sf.eater.com.
“We made it official .. five months ago,” E-40 told the Times-Herald.
Its hardly the entertainers first foray into food and beverage. Hes invested in Wing Stop and Fatburger and his own tequila brand, E-Cuarenta.
Any product needs to meet his personal criteria, E-40 said.
“What has to come together, I have to be a fan of the product,” he said. “Adult beverages … Ive got to drink it, Ive got to like it. With the lumpia, I love it.”
Beyond the taste, E-40 liked what Retodo had done with “the presentation and packaging and everything about it.”
Again, it wasnt like “40” never tried the tasty treat.
“Being around Filipinos growing up … and some of my best friends, good friends… I became a fan of the food,” he said. “Ive got some in my freezer right now.”
Theres only the Oakland location — and a Lumpia Company trailer inside Oracle Park, home of the Giants — though E-40 said theres “always a chance” a Lumpia Company could open in Vallejo.
“Slowly but surely, were going to expand,” he said. “Thats the plan … to become a franchise like Fatburger or Wing Stop or Wendys. I dont know of any other lumpia franchise.”
The Lumpia Company sells the traditional lumpia with pork, chicken, shrimp or beef, theres the untraditional, including E-40s creations of ground turkey and vegetables and peach mango dessert lumpia.
The rapper said theres also a discussion of an Impossible Burger lumpia roll consisting of the plant-based burger.
Remembering that his own mother made lumpia, E-40 said he “had to probably be 9…or 10” when he first devoured a lumpia spring roll.
Not that E-40 could beat professional eater — and fellow Vallejo native — Joey Chestnut in a contest, but the rapper said he could down “at least 10 … maybe 8 or 9” lumpia rolls at one sitting.
E-40 last visited Vallejo three months ago for a family birthday party at Dan Foley Cultural Center.
Coordinators of Vallejos annual Filipino celebration in June, Pista sa Nayan, said an E-40 appearance to promote The Lumpia Company would be happily welcomed.
“Pista sa Nayon is a Vallejo festival that celebrates not only the Filipino culture but those that embrace it. It would be an honor to have E-40 support his Filipino friends at next years festival.” said Mel Orpilla, the annual events co-entertainment director.
Orpillas Pista colleague, Victoria Grace, was equally effusive.
“I think having him as an addition to our Pista sa Nayon festival would be awesome,” Grace said.
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