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Apr 16, 2009 12:20 PM

Best pork sisig?

A friend just got back from the Philippines and was raving about this dish.

Past recommendations I find here include:

Patio Filipino (San Bruno)
Ongpin (SF)
Sinugba (Daly City)
Toppings Too (Union City)
Tribu Grill (San Bruno)

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  1. Ive heard good things about Ihaw Ihaw in San Bruno. I think Im gonna go there right now. Ill report later today or tomorrow.

    1. Nayong Filipino in Union City had some great sisig when I came in. Make sure you're there early so it's still nice and hot.

      There's House of Sisig in Daly City, but I haven't been there. From what I hear, it's hit or miss.

      I have tried the sisig at Sinugba and it's pretty good.

      Nayong Filipino Catering
      2430 Whipple Rd, Hayward, CA

      House of Sisig
      2408 Junipero Serra Blvd Ste B, Daly City, CA 94015

      1. Poleng Lounge makes it too, but I'm not the best judge as I've only had it once elsewhere at Patio Filipino. My mother seems to think it's only good in the Philippines and has my aunt bringing back some in a can. I doubt the sizzling dish will travel well!

        7 Replies
        1. re: DezzerSF

          There's also Max's in South San Francisco. Its pretty good there too.

          1. re: lamster

            There is also a Max's in Vallejo. Anyone have any recs for one of the zillion restaurants in the area from Vallejo to Hercules?

            1. re: rworange

              I prefer the Max's in SSF than to Vallejo's. The service in Vallejo isn't that great based on the times I've been there.

              As far as recs around that area, I'll recommend:

              RSM Oriental Food Mart & Restaurant in Hercules. They're a turo-turo joint, but the food is pretty good.

              Cabalen Filipino Cuisine in Rodeo. Good Filipino food here! They just opened late last year. Everything is slow-cooked just like how Filipino food should be!

              LMH Fil-Fusion in Pinole. Haven't been here, but I hear it's good.

              Andrea's in Vallejo. You definitely get that family vibe here, and it almost feels like you're back in the Philippines. Can get pretty busy on Sundays after church. Another turo-turo joint.

              Rsm Oriental Food Mart
              1500 Sycamore Ave, Hercules, CA 94547

              Andrea Foods
              1109 Maple Ave, Vallejo, CA 94591

              LMH Fil-Fusion
              2511 San Pablo Ave, Pinole, CA 94564

              Cabalen Filipino Cuisine
              1572 Sycamore Avenue, Hercules, CA 94547

              1. re: westcoaststyle

                So none of those places have pork sisig as good as the places you recommended above?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Unfortunately, I don't think I've tried sisig at any of those 4 places in my previous post.

                  Ultimately, my recs would be Patio Filipino, Nayong Filipino, Toppings, and Sinugba - in that order.

          2. re: DezzerSF

            I've had it at Poleng - it's finely diced and flavorful, but not very crispy. I doubt that it's "pig-face" parts, but it is nicely seasoned meaty pork bits

            1. re: Cynsa

              They have an option to add chicharron and/or egg, which we opted for. I remember it having a bit of crispiness. I asked if it was pork shoulder, and the bartender said no, but didn't offer which part exactly it came from. There definitely was plenty of fatty bits though.

          3. I've had a lot of sisig in LA, but only at two places in the Bay area. Recently: Gerry's Grill in Union City- I had to go to Lowe's, and we were going to go to Jollibee, but I remembered that this place was in the area, and the GPS knew the address. We ordered pork sisig, spicy garlic chicken wings, and pancit bihon. Everything had good flavor, if not outstanding. With respect to the sisig, you could do much worse. The pork bits were minced finely, but I could have done with more oil and/or service timed appropriately so that the sizzling plate would have delivered crunchy bits. As it was, the dice had started to go soft. The seasoning was good if a bit indistinct. I still enjoyed it, both immediately and as leftovers.

            The second place I remember having it is Maharlikka in Daly City. I went there twice a couple years ago; one time I had the pork sisig, another time the goat. In both cases the meat was diced a bit larger than the Gerry's version; however the goat is much more gamey (in the way that goat-lovers enjoy, I snarfed it). Sisig normally contains not just the meat and skin, but also some of the chewy bits ( I am not sure exactly which bits, but some of it is silverskin-like, such as the bits usually left on in Vietnamese bho ko or Cantonese beef stew). This place is interesting in that it apparently looks just like what an analogous establishment in the Phillipines would look like- when we went in, my girlfriend started laughing at how similar it was. Her sister-in-law, on our second visit, expressed much the same sentiment. They also commented on how authentic tasting it was. That said, it was a while ago, and I think I have had better in LA, but would go back there if it was closer.

            How I like it: a fine dice, no larger than 1/4", with a good mix of meat, skin and chewy bits. Cooked till there is a good amount of crispy bits. There should be a good amount of onion and jalapeno or analogous pepper in the dice (Gerry's did not have as much as I would like). The seasoning should be reasonably salty, and I like it if one or two herbs are the main note (as opposed to Gerry's, which was more salt and indistinct savory spice, but still tasty). A squeeze of lemon is usually nice (and I don't normally enjoy the lemon squeeze on chicken or fried things).

            10 Replies
            1. re: twocents

              My own rankings would be Ihaw Ihaw, Ongpin, Tribu, Toppings, Gerry's Grill. My own preference is for a lot of onions, jalepenos, and vinegar to cut the pork fat. A lot of restaurants serve a plate of fried pork sitting in grease with a sprinkling of lemon. We went to Ongpin last month and the pork sisig was the one standout dish there - most others were unremarkable.

              1. re: hotlipshoagie

                I just had the sisig at Ongpin, it didn't come sizzling on a cast iron plate and was sitting in a pool of soy sauce. The flavor was nice from the diced grilled pork, but I didn't find it particularly authentic. It was topped with diced onions and jalapenos. I enjoyed it more when I added some garlic vinegar to the dish.

              2. re: twocents

                Thanks for the nice description. Also, isn't sisig traditionally made with the bits from the pork head?

                1. re: DezzerSF

                  I don't know much about this from multiple sources, but on the Phillipines episode of No Reservations, Bourdain says that the dish was invented near Clark Air Force Base because the Americans gave away the pig heads. My GF confirms this as being what her parents used to say (the free pig head part, not necessarily the invented at X restaurant). He visits the restaurant where it was supposedly invented, and keeps referring to the dish as "pig face."

                  1. re: twocents

                    That episode was on last night. I wanted to try it at first b/c it looked a little bit like carnitas on a sizzling platter, then I reallized it included brain and other pork head ingredients.

                    Any places make it w/o brain?

                    1. re: kc72

                      I've never had sisig with brains here, or in Manila. (Never had sisig in Pampanga, though, so I'm not sure if the inclusion of brains is part of the original version.) But I've always been told it was made of "pig's face". Whether what's inside the head is included or not has never been clear to me: in the Philippines, the versions I've had have always been so finely minced that it was hard to tell.

                      I agree with Rosiella1 that many places here take the easy, gentrified way out by using just chopped-up pork meat, and seasoning it like sisig, but Tribu does it with all (or most) of the "nasty bits" that make up a real sisig. They serve it on a sizzling platter, though you should make sure to ask for it "tostado" so that you get it really hot, with the attendant crisp bits. (Even better, ask for an egg cracked on top and mix it in!)

                      1. re: pilinut

                        NUT! I'm with you. Although I like brain, I've not encountered brain sisig in the Philippines. It is made of all those other incredibly delicious face and head parts!! And of the pig- so it is not necessary to say, "pork sisig". Talagang talaga - masarap na masarap!

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          Hi, Sam! I haven't heard "pork" sisig in Manila, you're right: that would be redundant. But several restaurants in the Bay Area serve a tuna "sisig", which I've resisted trying because I can't wrap my head around the idea of a fish "sisig". But, wait, I think I may have seen "bangus sisig" on a menu in Manila. Maybe it's just chopped up fish seasoned like pork. . . Not quite the same thing. But good pork sisig is truly masarap (delicious). You haven't forgotten the important words!

                2. Two years ago I had the sisig at Kadok's in Union City.
                  Don't remember much about it other than that it was a good breakfast to start a long chow day. And it didn't have as much chili heat as the version at Toppings Too.

                  Kadok's Restaurant
                  31834 Alvarado Blvd Union, City, CA