Fil-Am YA Rom-Com, ‘Love, Dance & Egg Rolls,’ Addresses Cultural Identity – The new YA rom-com tackles cultural identity, racism, and Filipino dancing.

The new YA rom-com tackles cultural identity, racism, and Filipino dancing.

Filipino American author Jason Tanamor’s new novel, “Love, Dance & Egg Rolls,” addresses an ongoing issue for people who look like himself—cultural identity. The YA book is loosely based off Tanamor’s time dancing Filipino folk dances and deals with racism in a lighthearted way.

Set in Portland, Oregon during the Trump Administration, the story follows high school sophomore, Jamie, whose sole purpose in life is to become the next Tinikling master. But when high school and tradition collide, he is forced to choose between honoring his heritage and salvaging what’s left of his social life.

This book marks the second story from Tanamor that deals with Filipino characters, the first being “Vampires of Portlandia,” based on Filipino folklore—aswang, which was recently optioned for screen and is currently in development.

“I wanted to write a story about my experience because growing up I didn’t see characters that looked like me,” said Tanamor. “Most of the stories in the past that I’ve written were either white or faceless because I didn’t think that people of color deserved to be main characters. It was something that media and society had conditioned me growing up.”

Now, however, Tanamor, who is in his mid-40s, says it’s important to have Filipino representation in stories. “What I’d like to see are stories that depict Filipino families as main subjects, and not just role players,” said Tanamor. “Generally, Filipinos get lumped into ‘Asian’ categories, but when you look at Asian projects, they’re mostly resigned to Japanese, Chinese, and Korean projects.”

With the publishing industry lacking characters of color, Tanamor decided to bring Filipinos into the spotlight by making them protagonists in his stories. That way, other people of color can identify as well. “The country is so divided, so it’s important to show young kids, especially those of color, that they belong equally in a society that should be made up of many different races and cultures.”

“Love, Dance & Egg Rolls” will be published by Ooligan Press and released May 10, 2022. It is available for pre-order currently in paperback at or wherever books are sold.

Visit Jason Tanamor online at or on Twitter at

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