Sisig, the Filipino Dish Anthony Bourdain Said Would Win Your Heart

If it hasn't already.

Sisig is a traditional Filipino dish that likely dates back to before the 17th century, so it's nothing new. But that doesn't exclude it from seeing a sudden burst of interest (like kimchi). If you've been hearing sisig pop up in conversations lately, that might have something to do with the late chef Anthony Bourdain's prediction that Filipino food will become one of the trendiest cuisines in America, and the chopped pork dish could be many first-timers' gateway to those flavors.

"I think sisig is perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole," Bourdain said, adding that "traditional Filipino food has sour and bitter notes, which are very unfamiliar to Americans." But American palates are changing, and as a result the television host and world traveler predicted that Filipino food would have "a really bright future" in the States.

Here are a few things the unaccustomed eater should know about sisig.

What is sisig?

Traditionally with sisig, all the good parts from a pig's head — specifically the cheeks, snout, and ears — along with the liver and belly, are simmered in water and then chopped into small pieces and fried. The mixture is spiced with chile peppers and calamansi, a small green citrus fruit that resembles a lime, and finally mixed with egg, onion, and sometimes mayo.

Lucia Cunanan, a Filipino restaurateur who was based in Angeles City, Philippines, is credited with creating the modern version of sisig. In the mid-1970s, she served the dish on a sizzling plate to make the meat crispier and added chicken liver and vinegar to the ingredients. Her creation earned Angeles City the title "Sisig Capital of the Philippines."

Where can you try sisig?

Renee's Kitchenette in Queens serves up some of the best Filipino food in New York. Mama Fina's House of Filipino Sisig in Elmwood Park, New Jersey and the East Village is known for their pork sisig. NYC spots Tradisyon and Grill 21 have also earned a reputation for their exemplary Filipino food. And as the LA Times notes, Pinoy Food Republic in Carson, California serves up sisig in the traditional style.

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