ANGELES CITY -- Angeles City successfully held its first-ever Sisig Fiesta with a capacity crowd feasting at the city's famous Crossing on April 29 to celebrate the ubiquitous Filipino bar chow.
Aptly held beside the famous Aling Lucing Sisig, which ran out of sisig in just 90 minutes, the event was held to bolster the city's bid for this year’s UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy. Earlier, the local government proclaimed the sizzling sisig an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” of the city.
While purveyors of this pork dish offered up their versions that ranged from omelets and wraps to pizza, in a faraway corner of the bustling festival, a sisig buffet was served with various iterations of this porcine wonder.
While all had porky goodness, some stood out like Icook Homestyle Cooking’s Sisig Babi which had chicharon-like crunch to each bite.
Café Munding Catering’s Sisig Pusu, meanwhile, had pork bits mixed in with banana blossom—almost a combination salad of sorts.
Liver flavor was at the fore in the Sisig Babi of Meats & Match, while onions led the charge in Otties Central Grill’s Sisig Babi.
We managed to scrape some of 25 Seeds/Café Fleur's Sisig Paella which was first to run out, and took a gander at non-pork sisig options on offer like the Uni Chef’s Sisig Baka (robust and lean), Delyn’s Sisig Isda (which was like kilawin although the fish was lightly cooked), and Berong’s Izakaya’s sweet sisig of chicken intestine.
Our overall favorite though, which had nice ratio of meat to onions was Annie-Bea Eatery’s Sisig Babi which had a crispy but not overly crunchy texture.
EVOLUTION OF SISIG
A highlight of the festival, select chefs were invited to tag-team with Pampangueno cooks and chefs to show the evolution of this disk, starting with the first known versions of sisig, which simply means, "to sour."
Atching Lilian Borromeo, author of “Atching Lilian’s Heirlook Recipes,” was assisted by “Curiosity Got the Chef” star Sharwin Tee to make Sisig Prutas. This salad of green mango, green papaya, onions, labuyo, green chilis, mixes the sourness of dayap juice and green mango, with the marinated green papaya providing a different kind of crunchy texture to this vegetarian sisig.
Next step in the sisig evolutionary chain was Chef Him Uy De Baron and 25 Seeds chef patron Chef Sau del Rosario who made the Sisig Matua, the "old" incarnation of pork sisig with chopped pig face liberally topped with chilies and onions served kinilaw-style in vinegar.
From the restaurant that popularized sizzling sisig, Zeny Cunanan from Aling Lucing and Chef Tatung Sarthou of Agos teamed up for sisig’s most popular version, the Sizzling Sisig Angeleno, showing us how this famous dish, praised by international celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain, is made with a few ingredients. Take chopped chicken liver mixed in with calamansi, add to chopped up pork jaw and a mound of onions, serve on a sizzling plate, and you have Angeles City’s famous Aling Lucing’s Sisig.
Last but not the least, Chef Gene Gonzales of Café Ysabel took to the stage to show his take on the future of sisig. His Sisig Metagan is a leftover take on sisig, using chopped up lechon pig’s head, spiked with onions and siling labuyo.
Given the overwhelming response and the assistance of organizations like the newly formed Kulinarya Pampanga, which consists of Pamapgueno chefs, the Sisig Fiesta, which will become an annual event, was definitely off to a hot and sizzling start.
'Til next year!