20 Oct2005

Sizzling sisig (hog cheek, nose and ear) is not a favorite of mine. asisig1In fact, I think I have only tasted it twice in my entire lifetime. I am prepared to admit it is an acquired taste (or is it primarily a textural thing, like jellyfish?) and that to many, it tastes just brilliant. Or I might posit that anything fatty, salty, spicy and served hot is a plausible accompaniment to a cold beer, or two, or three. Despite my hundreds of posts, and incredible interest in food, Marketman does not eat everything… So when I saw these unusual looking animal parts in the kitchen this morning, I had to ask the cook what she had brewing. She said it was a pig’s cheeks, nose and ears and she was making sisig for the crew’s lunch. I decided I should at least document it and post a picture of the final product for readers who do appreciate its finer qualities. Frankly, it looked just like I thought cheek, nose and ear meat would look – cartillageous…

First the cook washed the face parts well and removed any longish hairs, whiskers, and what have you. asisig2I was going to dash to the bathroom to get her q-tips for earwax but she just looked at me like I was crazy so I didn’t bother. After cleaning the face parts, she boiled them in water with whole peppercorns, bay leaves and salt until tender. She then drained the parts in a colander and later dried the individual parts with paper towels. Then a charcoal fire was lit and the dried face parts were grilled until slightly charred. This was then chopped finely into ¼ inch squares and readied for their final step. She chopped up a white onion, lots of long green chilli peppers, and readied some soy sauce, vinegar and salt and pepper. Next she put a cast iron flat pan on high heat and stir fried the sisig with no additional oil together with the other ingredients. Serve hot with rice. The sisig wasn’t as crispy as the restaurant versions as the cast iron pan was not heated as high as it could go. Also, I think the boiling step, which some recipes avoid, adds moisture. This is one of very few recipes I know that puts the meat through three cooking processes…boiling, grilling and frying! The result was gobbled down with glee…nothing remained after lunch. The crew was happy. You can also use knorr seasoning, calamansi, add an egg on top of the sizzling sisig, etc. I had a salad and a large spicy sausage with mustard…



  1. Jacob's Mom says:

    I’m reading this on my lunch break, nearly drooling over my desk. I wish you had included pictures of the pig parts prior to cooking! I’ve tried to describe the cooking process to my co-workers and the pictures would have helped to convince them I’m not the only one in the world who enjoys this dish. :) When I was a grad student at UP Diliman my roomate and I would go to Trellis for their delicious sisig. Nakaka-miss! What about bopis, MM, have you ever tried it?

    Oct 21, 2005 | 12:31 am


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  3. willy says:

    hi MM…in pampanga boiling the pork ears and cheeks is a necessary in making sisig…grilling and frying are options…to get that crispy parts, you have to cool the parts first before grilling or deep frying and chopping…your cook’s dish looks yummy…

    Oct 21, 2005 | 1:13 am

  4. lojet says:

    Is “sisig” a term used for the way the dish is cooked or for the ingredients that are used? I have here a can of Squid Sisig SABA brand and the ingredients listed are squid, spices,soya oil, soy sauce, calamansi and sugar.

    I haven’t eaten it as you described above but I have eaten a kinilaw made of the cartilaginous portion of pigs head boiled, sliced then soaked in vinegar, lime and spices. It’s pretty good.

    Oct 21, 2005 | 2:48 am

  5. bugsybee says:

    You’re right about the sisig being “an acquired taste.” The first time I ate it, my mistake was that I asked what it was made of. But because it smelled so good, I couldn’t resist trying although I had to drink more beer than my usual to wash it down. Now, I like it with plenty of kalamansi, chopped white onions and Knorr seasoning … but not too hot please.

    Oct 21, 2005 | 3:01 am

  6. stef says:

    LOL!!! that’s a funny picture you paint with you eating your sausage with mustard and your crew enjoying the sisig. i’d be tempted to say “how American!” but your other posts of course would disprove that. i didn’t even touch sisig the first time i saw it — NO THANKS was my pat answer. i’ve since learned to appreciate its unique pinoy taste, cartilage and all;D

    Oct 21, 2005 | 3:16 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Jacob’s mom, I did intend to take a picture of the raw ingredients but I was busy in the morning and the cook just motored along and cooked it all before I got a chance! Willy, perhpas the boiled parts weren’t cool enough when they went to the next step. I cool my pork for chicharon overnight in the fridge! lojet I am not sure what sisig refers to actually but I have heard it applied to other ingredients such as squid. I do think the original sisig meant pig face though. Bugsybee, I agree we should eat without knowing what it is, then we have no biases, but the texture of this one gives it away as something from the nether-regions of the animal… stef, I still have to acquire the taste!

    Oct 21, 2005 | 6:11 am

  8. Karen says:

    Ayay! There was sisig on the dining table last night. Food blogging synchronicity again.

    My townmate Willy is right. Boiling is requisite to a proper sisig. It’s the grilling or frying which are new innovations.

    Sisig actually means to eat something sour as in sisigan ing mangga (green mango) or sisig paro (shrimp ceviche).

    Oct 21, 2005 | 7:30 am

  9. Jacob's Mom says:

    I just remembered, my Ilocano lola used to make a dish called dinakdakan which was basically sisig made creamy by the addition of the pig’s brains and I think some liver bits. It was quite good.

    Oct 21, 2005 | 7:45 am

  10. ichabod says:

    Me thinks home cooked sisig is too much work, cleaning the pig’s cheeks, boiling, grilling then stir frying, I’ll just drop by Dencio’s for a sisig fix.

    Oct 21, 2005 | 8:14 am

  11. willy says:

    jacob’s mom…yes, dinakdakan is similar to sisig…although the ilokano dish has minced ginger on it…dinakdakan, i believe is the manner of cutting the ears/cheeks…there are others who put mayonnaise instead of pork brain…sisig is the cooking style – which is the use of eithier vinegar or citrus…adaptation, innovation or just plain convenience modern-day sisig is like adobo or sinigang, everyone has a recipe that is uniquely theirs and equally good…

    Oct 21, 2005 | 8:47 am

  12. oscar says:

    My Pampanga aunt used to say that it’s a mortal sin to put mayonnaise in sisig. Is that true?

    Oct 21, 2005 | 11:03 am

  13. Gigi says:

    On the rare days that the thought of imminent mortality does not faze me, I can snort sisig faster than you can spell it. Sisig is sublime. Pig parts that should have been discarded turn into this unapologetic, heart-stopping, texturally-intesting and flavorful dish. Good heavens. I even like it with liver. I just don’t like it with egg. I mean, come on. It’s already a strange dish as it is and as if the cholesterol load isn’t enough. Why add the egg? What does it contribute to the dish? It’s just as strange as sizzling gambas served with egg. Ang Pinoy talaga, kailangan lahat ng ulam punctuated by an itlog.

    Here’s the killer. My foodie friends and I ate at Razon’s in Jupiter and had the sizzling bulalo with bechamel sauce. We found it a bit cloying and needed guess what??? yes, baby… sisig to cut through the rich grease of the bechamel. Malupit! Needless to say, I slept with my eyes open that night hoping my Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t take me just yet. I am still here. :)

    Speaking of cholesterol, will hit Handle Bar later tonight for their marshmallow-tender steak! Thank God it’s Friday!

    Oct 21, 2005 | 11:35 am

  14. lee says:

    cholesterol is fun

    Oct 21, 2005 | 3:03 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    lee, as usual you boil it down to the essentials… karen, thanks for the sisig explanation or definition. Oscar, mayo on sisig? Sounds a bit much, no?

    Oct 21, 2005 | 3:45 pm

  16. fried-neurons says:

    I like sisig. Back in my UP Diliman college days, my friends and I used to go to Trellis for our sisig fix.

    Oct 21, 2005 | 10:16 pm

  17. aleth says:

    i like sisig too, and i eat it only when i know who cooked it! crazy?!?! hey, i’ve tsted dinakdakan also before when i was still working in La Union – it’s goodah also..with beer.. anybody heard or tasted “pinikpikan”?

    Oct 22, 2005 | 2:07 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    Aleth, I have heard of pinikpikan and instead of making it by beating and burning a live chicken I made a ham and chicken soup that is similar but kinder on animals…look it up in the archives!

    Oct 22, 2005 | 3:56 pm

  19. Blair Mitch says:

    I love the Trellis sisig! Plus the one in Aysee – across Ultra. Oh and I also cannot resist the sisig they sell in the Ineng’s bbq stall in the Salcedo market. Yumyumyum.

    Oct 22, 2005 | 8:49 pm

  20. ANNE says:

    My bro-in-law invited friends over from Seattle. My mom and I a bit nervous,we don’t know what to cook for them, since they were bunch of americans. But we heard that they eat anything under the sun :) geezz what a relief. So one day as a good treat to them for a dinner and we bought “SISIG”. So far “Aling Lucing sisig” is quite good here in Angeles city, Pampanga. We told them its pork stuff. As we know sisig smells good so they devoured and enjoyed the dinner. The next day early in the morning we had a trip down the wet market and from there we pointed the pig’s ear and neck and told them that yummy “SISIG” was made out of that part.. hehehe.. what do you expect from Ams friend.. they over reacted and promised that they won’t eat sisig again…afterall atleast we made them eat… the way we saw them they really enjoyed the meal thought.. he he he.

    Oct 24, 2005 | 2:37 am

  21. chrissy says:

    The thought of eating those parts absolutely revolted me! Used to anyway, I only started eating sisig 5yrs ago (when i started college). My blockmates were absolutely crazy about it. We tried the sisig in every resto along katipunan and libis!

    I like my sisig crispy (makes me forget what parts I’m actually eating!) and with no liver (yuck!). Wet (egg or mayo) or dry, I pour on the soy sauce and calamansi. Yum!

    Oct 24, 2005 | 12:53 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    ANNE, a bit cruel no? But it is funny how people will eat just about anything if they don’t know what it is. Chrissy, I still haven’t figured out how to get over the vision of the pig’s snout in all that muck then we munch on it!

    Oct 24, 2005 | 1:03 pm

  23. millet says:

    no need to go through all the boiling, grilling and chopping route…monterey has frozen sisig (check your grocery’s freezer section) that you need to just heat up in a pan..add some butter and calamansi if you like. serve in a sizzling plate if you have one. heaven in a few minutes!

    Nov 27, 2005 | 11:28 am

  24. marc says:

    i miss sizzling sisig. anyone knows where i can have some around here in LA?

    Jan 18, 2006 | 12:38 pm

  25. kim says:

    sisig is the best!

    Jun 30, 2006 | 7:43 am

  26. Naz says:

    Pork belly would do just fine for sisig. I just broil, dice the meat, add the ingredients (onions, jalapeno, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper). This you cannot say “acquired taste”. Sisig without the hesitation!

    Sep 27, 2006 | 9:30 am

  27. veeh says:

    i am surrounded with friends who just love sisig, period. i am an adventurous person however still not convince that the original sisig recipe is for me. hmmmm, tulo laway na ako, hindi lang pulutan, puede na ring ulam. thanks naz!

    Oct 3, 2006 | 10:51 am

  28. jay says:

    heres how to cook ilokano sisig guys, first remove all the meat in the head then be sure to remove all the hair boil a bit and then ready the charcoal, grill them until golden brown or make it weel done black, slice in tiny pieces set a side ready the ingredients like onion and garlic as tiny as you can,put all of them together add vinegar ground pepper a mayonaise of u can use the pig brain.put salt spring onion on top put in friged let it cool and serve.

    Mar 3, 2007 | 2:14 pm

  29. Jane says:

    I love sisig!

    Mar 24, 2007 | 3:43 am

  30. janice says:

    im crazy inlove in sisig so much…i wish i can taste the sisig in angeles,pampanga. i used the monterey frozen sisig, i cant eat sisig without rice coz its so yummy…gosh im getting hungry…

    Mar 27, 2007 | 12:25 am

  31. food tripper says:

    i’m from angeles, pampanga. there are so many sisig versions as there are many cooks in pampanga. there is sisig matua (old) which is boiled (and sometimes) grilled pork cheeks and ears, with vingar/calamansi, onions, chili, salt and pepper and boiled or grilled chicken liver, somewhat like kinilaw. and the sizzling sisig as made famous by aling lucing near the riles, wherein pork cheeks and ears are boiled, grilled, chopped, seasoned with onions, calamansi, chili, salt and pepper with mashed grilled chicken liver and placed on a sizzling platter with star margarine. although aling lucing made sisig famous, it’s not the best sisig for me. i’d rather choose its neighbor aling naty’s as its the best sisig for me in the riles area only. but the best sisig for me is Mila’s Sisig and Tokwat Baboy wherein pork cheeks and ears are boiled, then deep fried before being chopped and seasoned, then placed on a sizzling platter. most of my friends who’ve tried aling lucing and mila’s swear that mila’s wins hands down. aside from sisig, they also have BBQ tocino as well which is absolutely divine. Mila’s is located near the boundary of Angeles and San Fernando. It’s somewhere in barangay Santo Domingo.

    May 11, 2007 | 2:38 am

  32. Juliet says:

    Food Tripper, Can you give me a recipe for the Mila’s sisig you mentioned? I am from the US and my husband has been asking me to make sisig. I don’t know how to make it.

    Jul 8, 2007 | 1:50 am

  33. R. Santos says:

    The best “sisig” I’ve tasted was at Pinoy Bistro, Cerritos. Crispy with just the right taste.

    Nov 3, 2007 | 3:41 pm

  34. Paul Fern says:

    in my colllege days we put raw egg on sizling sisig, 2 tsp of lemon lime juice.

    the eggs creates an equilibrium effect. for people with “almuranas” heehehhehehe

    Dec 9, 2007 | 9:19 am

  35. jeraldine says:

    i do really like sisig or dinakdakan a lot..

    Dec 17, 2007 | 5:56 am

  36. geraldine jones says:

    Sisig – no thanks!!!

    Jan 26, 2008 | 5:58 am

  37. Kuya Greg says:

    I’m 100% American and 50% Filipino – yet to me, sisig is like love at first bite. We don’t have it here in Seattle, but I think if we tried hard enough we could find the ingredients somewhere. If we made the effort, of course we would have to make a huge batch. If we made a huge batch, we would have to have a huge party. If we had a huge party, well, we would have to invite our Filipino friends because the Americans would be a bunch of wussies and avoid it…

    Jan 31, 2008 | 1:50 pm

  38. Winky says:

    Shucks! I miss sisig so much, i’ll even eat the pre-mixed ones from Monterey at the frozen section. That’s how desperately I miss it… good thing i’m on a Juice Cleanse diet.
    MM, the way your cook made it looks divine! I’ll bring you a bottle of 1922 Gruaud Larose just to have dinner at your house.

    Mar 19, 2008 | 11:39 am

  39. aileen salinas says:

    i love sisig,but one time i try the sisig 0f montery,hmmm,it taste almost the same but,medyo “maanta” na…..

    Nov 19, 2008 | 8:16 am

  40. faithful reader says:

    I made sisig with left over lechon. The best part would be from the head. I even used the brain and mixed it in with the meat. It is soooooo good. Everyone loved it. But I didn’t tell them that I added the brain.

    Mar 4, 2009 | 8:50 pm


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