Sisig is always an exercise in tolerance. Every Filipino—“Pampango or otherwise—“likes to think that he knows what a traditional sisig looks and tastes like, except that he may be unwilling to recognize that his recipe may not be the original.
Take the sisig reportedly preferred by purists—“a dish served without eggs or any additions whatsoever. It may not sit well with those who believe that sisig is always topped by a freshly-cracked egg, served with red and/or green chili peppers, sprinkled with hot sauce, calamansi, or even Worcestershire sauce.
But who's quibbling?
Whatever the variation, after all is said and done, sisig still is sisig: parts of a pig's face, marinated, chopped, cooked, and served on a hot plate. SPOT.ph sampled the best of the porky lot.
1. MANG JIMMY'S
MWSS Compound, Balara, Quezon City (Tel. no. 927-2909)
Open 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily (May stay open later if more customers stream in.)
Mang Jimmy's Sisig (P100) undergoes meticulous preparation that takes about four hours. And that's on a slow day. Proprietor Jimmy Rico theorizes that this is probably why his sisig is the second bestselling dish, next to the establishment's famous tapa mix. Topped by an egg, two chili peppers, and a piece of calamansi, Mang Jimmy's take on the original Pampango recipe may not easily please sisig fans because it is served wet. But that still doesn't explain why the eatery regularly runs out of sisig.
2. LYDIA'S LECHON
Marcos Highway corner Pambuli St., Marikina City (Tel. no. 682-8927) with branches at Don Alejandro Roces Ave., QC (Tel. no. 376 -5173); SM Makati (Tel. no. 816 -1352); and other locations
Open 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily
Nobody goes to a lechon place to eat sisig. That is, not until Lydia's decided to spruce up their menu with their own variation, called—“appropriately enough—“the Lechon Sisig (P175). The dry Lechon Sisig offers the largest sisig chunks south of Pampanga, featuring actual pork strips. Topped with a freshly-cracked egg and soft green chili peppers, the dish itself is ambiguous—“neither exactly faithful to its lechon nor sisig origins—“but offering distinctive flavors of both.