Ah, Sisig! When prepared correctly, nothing quite captures the varied flavors and textures of Filipino cuisine like a sizzling-hot platter of chopped pig's face. It's true.
Chewy and crispy, fatty and meaty, sour and spicy--they're all there. Gustatory opposites complementing each other on a single plate of porky goodness. And thanks in large part to the increasing popularity of ethnic street food in the United States, and more specifically, to the growing interest in Filipino cuisine as a whole, more and more people have come to enjoy this once-obscure Pinoy dish.
Since my first post on Sisig nearly three years ago, the humble street food has gone on to enjoy some time in the limelight (err, kalamansi-light?). Sure, sisig has always been served in a handful of mom-and-pop hole-in-the-walls, but it didn't hurt that some yahoo started slinging pig face from a food truck, or that Anthony Bourdain sang Sisig's praises on TV:
Alas, despite the joys that come with eating the wobbly and chewy bits of a pig's face and ears, some people just can't bring themselves to eat the wobbly and chewy bits of a pig's face and ears. And that's understandable. I suppose.
But if you've got no qualms with stuffing your own face with that of a pig, there's also the not-so-small issue of fat--and there's a lot of it in pig cheeks. Take a look at a cross-section of a pork jowl and it looks a lot like that of a pork belly, hence the term "face bacon".
So what's a Filipino food lover to do when a hankering for sisig is had, but just sans fatty face? Luckily, there are more savory sisig scenarios besides pork. Filipinos have long sisig'd other proteins like tofu, chicken, and various seafoods.
But sisig made from Bangus (or milkfish), is perhaps my favorite non-pork face option for the classic street food.