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Best pork sisig?

Robert Lauriston Apr 16, 2009 12:20 PM

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. a
    Adamsimpson RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 16, 2009 12:31 PM

    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. w
      westcoaststyle RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 16, 2009 01:06 PM

      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. DezzerSF RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 16, 2009 01:48 PM

        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
          lamster RE: DezzerSF Apr 16, 2009 03:21 PM

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

          1. re: lamster
            rworange RE: lamster Apr 17, 2009 09:35 AM

            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
              westcoaststyle RE: rworange Apr 17, 2009 10:37 AM

              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
                Robert Lauriston RE: westcoaststyle Apr 17, 2009 11:00 AM

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

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  westcoaststyle RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 17, 2009 03:14 PM

                  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
            Cynsa RE: DezzerSF Apr 30, 2009 11:09 AM

            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
              DezzerSF RE: Cynsa Apr 30, 2009 11:27 AM

              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. twocents RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 21, 2009 11:27 PM

            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
              hotlipshoagie RE: twocents Apr 21, 2009 11:41 PM

              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
                DezzerSF RE: hotlipshoagie Apr 25, 2009 08:40 PM

                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
                DezzerSF RE: twocents Apr 22, 2009 12:20 PM

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

                1. re: DezzerSF
                  twocents RE: DezzerSF Apr 28, 2009 10:44 AM

                  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
                    kc72 RE: twocents Apr 28, 2009 11:17 AM

                    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
                      pilinut RE: kc72 Apr 28, 2009 12:03 PM

                      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
                        Sam Fujisaka RE: pilinut May 2, 2009 05:04 PM

                        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
                          pilinut RE: Sam Fujisaka May 2, 2009 09:23 PM

                          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. re: kc72
                        Adamsimpson RE: kc72 Apr 30, 2009 10:34 AM

                        Whats wrong with brain?

                        1. re: Adamsimpson
                          kc72 RE: Adamsimpson Apr 30, 2009 10:55 AM

                          Not my thing

                2. Melanie Wong RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 21, 2009 11:34 PM

                  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

                  1. p
                    pushslice RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 22, 2009 01:30 AM

                    I'd add Gerry's Grilll (Union City) to that list. While I think UC neighbor Toppings II bests them in most areas, GG seems to do pork sisig really well. (Plus they have a bar, which means beer, which goes hand-in-hand with sisig in true pinoy 'pulutan' style!)

                    If you want to try a very bold onion-and-vinegar-until-tomorrow brand of sisig, try out Marylou's Delights in Hercules. It's a very bare-bones place though, just 3-4 tables.

                    Lastly, I also enjoy fish sisig (milkfish or tuna). Thing is, I haven't run across one locally I really like as much as what I've had back in PI. Tribu serves a tuna sisig, but it's coated with mayonnaise...uggh. (this was a year ago, fwiw). Any CHer recommendations for tuna sisig or bangus sisig in the area would be welcome!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pushslice
                      DezzerSF RE: pushslice Apr 22, 2009 12:18 PM

                      I'm pretty sure Patio Filipino has bangus sisig on the menu.

                      I like my sisig with more of a tart note as well, to cut all the richness. I remember having to ask for lemon at Patio Filipino, but at Poleng Lounge, they serve it with calamansi on the side. It doesn't hurt that they also bring out a side of vinegar with a selection of the dishes, and achara to boot!

                    2. r
                      rosiella1 RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 22, 2009 11:24 PM

                      I've tried it at many of the filipino restaurants recently and found them all to be similar EXCEPT for Tribu Grill which has the "authentic" sisig which uses the lechon (roasted pig) head diced up with some crunchies in there. Standard sisig that's just diced grilled pork is tasty at ihaw ihaw and Kalesa in Milpitas.

                      1. Robert Lauriston RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 30, 2009 09:29 AM

                        Tried Gerry's Grill for lunch yesterday. They grill over mesquite, so to me the room smells like Mexico (in a good way).

                        Started with some chicharon bulaklak. Nice, gamy, good with the vinegar, chiles, and fried garlic that came out with it.

                        The sisig looked just like what Anthony Bourdain had ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRrIN7... ). It was sizzling when it came out, and had a mix of crispy, chewy, and soft bits. It was nicely seasoned, I added some sliced chiles but didn't feel like it needed vinegar or lemon. Great dish. First time I've had it, so I can't compare with other versions, but I've had a lot of Mexican and Italian skin and cartilage, and it compared favorably with those.

                        We also had the liempo (grilled thick-sliced pork belly), which was really good with the sauce, a tasty spinach dish that was about 25% pork, and the buko pandan, which was fun to try and good as that sort of jello concoction goes.

                        That was plenty of food for four, came to around $20 a person including four 22 oz. beers.

                        They're showing the fight on Saturday ($10 a head?), but their TVs are kind of small.

                        Gerry's Grill
                        31005 Courthouse Dr, Union City, CA 94587

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          westcoaststyle RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 30, 2009 10:50 AM

                          Their sisig sounds pretty good! And I love me some grilled liempo. I'm wondering what the 25% pork dish was, though?

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            mmerino RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 30, 2009 11:17 AM

                            Actually, I had to ask for chili, vinegar and garlic w/the chicharron. The spinach dish was Adobong Spinach. mmm, mmmm I love the way vegetable dishes in filipino cuisine have lots of meat!

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              rln RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 30, 2009 12:54 PM

                              Oh, I wish Gerry's were closer to SF! I am looking for a place for group to watch the Paquaio fight and have good food Saturday. If any other restos you know, would love to hear. Daly City and area would be great.

                              1. re: rln
                                Robert Lauriston RE: rln Apr 30, 2009 01:28 PM

                                I've been looking for that, too, and no luck so far. You'd think any Filipino place with beer would be showing the fight.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  mmerino RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 30, 2009 02:53 PM

                                  I just called t-rex about the fight and the guy told me HBO charges a huge amount of money for restos & bars for Pay Per View events. He told me they were going to charge him 7,000 for DeLaHoya/Paquaio fight!

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    kc72 RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 30, 2009 04:53 PM

                                    Not a Filipino place, but Meridian in Berkeley said they will not have it either. Same as Mmerino, the person on the phone said PPV costs too much for them since it's based on their occupancy.

                                    Only place I know for sure that has it is Rickys ($25 cover).

                                    1. re: kc72
                                      rworange RE: kc72 May 2, 2009 04:40 PM

                                      Probably too late to consider, but cityhouse in SF at the Parc 55 Hotel seems to be promoting the bar area as a place to watch sporting events with 5 plasma tv's

                                      You would think the hotel would have the money to pay for the fight. Then again, it might be cheaper to get tickets to attend the fight personally than eat at Parc 55

                                  2. re: rln
                                    Sam Fujisaka RE: rln May 2, 2009 05:39 PM

                                    Suwerte at mabuyhay para sa amin tunay ng kampeyon! Bukas, lulunghod ang mga dating tala!

                                    1. re: rln
                                      mflantin RE: rln Sep 11, 2009 10:23 AM

                                      Not sure if you're aware, but they did finally open up a Gerry's in DC (Westlake). Tried their sisig there, and it was slightly different then the one in UC (a little better in my opinion). The first thing I noticed was the presence of the egg on top of the sizzling dish. I would highly recommend visiting this Gerry's.

                                      1. re: mflantin
                                        Robert Lauriston RE: mflantin Sep 11, 2009 10:30 AM

                                        Per Google:

                                        11 Saint Francis Sq
                                        Daly City, CA 94015-4014
                                        (650) 992-9988

                                        1. re: mflantin
                                          rln RE: mflantin Sep 11, 2009 05:16 PM

                                          This is very exciting, thank you!

                                          On the sisig area, I recently tried chicken sisig at Tselogs on Mission in DC. Enjoyed it. Wished it were less greasy - it came sizzling hot. Served with garlic rice and a fried egg. I don't know how easy it is to find chicken sisig, but I like the option.

                                    2. jobostonisafoodie RE: Robert Lauriston May 4, 2009 11:41 AM

                                      My answer is going to be short and sweet:

                                      For sisig that consists only of meat, onions, jalapenos, in a soy/vinegar sauce that is not served on a sizzling platter: Ongpin in SSF on Camaritas.

                                      For sisig that include parts of the face - fat, skin, cartilage, served on a sizzling plate with lemon: Tribu on El Camino

                                      P.S. I noticed this last last weekend when I went to Tribu, they have a "California Sisig" that is only the meat and soy/vinegar sugar - similar to the one from Ongpin.
                                      P.P.S. Tofu sisig is great at Intramuros also in SSF on El Camino. You can basically hit up great sisig places by just driving down El Camino.

                                      1. Lando RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 29, 2009 10:27 AM

                                        Although it’s not a definitive list, here is my report on the search for some of the best sisig in the Bay Area. A group of friends and I made our way around several restaurants trying sisig dishes. I can honestly say they were all good. Each sisig had characteristics that stood out.

                                        Our visit included:
                                        Gerry’s Grill (Union City)
                                        Patio Filipino (San Bruno)
                                        Tribu (San Bruno)
                                        House of Sisig (Daly City)
                                        Poleng Lounge (San Francisco)

                                        If you want to see photos and read about our trip, check out our link - http://www.spotsfordates.com/06/2009/...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Lando
                                          chefj RE: Lando Sep 11, 2009 05:39 PM

                                          Wow! Great report Thanks so much.

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