The ‘New Star’ of Filipino Cuisine

Traditional sizzling sisig at Max’s in Jersey City (Photo via The FilAm)

Ahead of Filipino Restaurant Week May 14-26, The FilAm’s Cristina DC Pastor looks at the “new star” of Filipino cuisine: sisig, a comfort food that will “win the hearts and minds of the world,” said chef Anthony Bourdain. Pastor writes:

Sisig will always be a specialty staple in many Filipino restaurants because the dish is familiar — traditionally eaten as “pulutan” (snacks) and paired with beer or any form of alcohol. Some Filipino women may find it greasy, but with husbands or boyfriends who drink, they get used to eating it with them. It is usually served in restaurants on a sizzling plate and hardly ever cooked at home.

What goes into Sisig may be awkward to explain to non-Filipinos getting acquainted with Filipino food: pig’s head (snout, cheeks, and ears), chicken liver and heart, and pork skin. The ‘meats’ are flavored with chopped chili and onions and bathed in vinegar and calamansi (citrus) juice. To solve the Eek Factor, some restaurants have replaced the pig’s head with fish or squid.

The Sisig City food truck on Staten Island and Mama Fina’s House of Filipino Sisig in New Jersey and the East Village are both seeing increased demand in the dish following Bourdain’s recognition of the dish.

What does a Brooklyn chef caution against when it comes to the rising popularity of sisig? And how is a Bed-Stuy restaurant making the dish “Instagram-worthy”? Find out at The FilAm.

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