Five Sisig Hotspots In Angeles City That Only The Locals Know
With about a thousand eateries in Angeles City, Pampanga, including carinderias and sidewalk stalls, that carry their own adaptation of sisig—where to go? The following list is comprised of five carefully selected hotspots in the city serving sisig. All the featured dishes use pork with similar ingredients, but none are exactly the same. Subtle distinctions offer a peek into the Kapampangan cook’s individual approach to this Pinoy food phenomenon. Choose what suits your personal taste!
Before you embark on your sisig tour, here’s how to best enjoy the experience:
- Choose only one to three sisig spots for a day to avoid umay.
- Pair sisig with a light vegetable dish.
- Take it easy on the rice.
- Bring tea to drink hot in between meals.
- Take a walking tour and/or go shopping in between stops to burn calories.
- Keep in mind your doctor’s advice!
1. Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy
A historic variety of sisig hides in plain sight inside this 29-year-old carinderia in downtown Angeles. The octogenarian owner Milagros Gomez may not be aware that what she sells as “plain sisig” is closest to the 17th century version of sisig mabuktut. This makes Mila’s an ideal first stop for those who are curious to experience the “unadulterated” kin of our world-famous sizzling favorite. In my experience, when visitors were introduced to this refreshing vinaigrette version of purely pork ears, many proclaimed their preference to this over Mila’s better known crispy sisig. To make the sour sisig, pork ears are boiled until soft, but skin firm-to-the-bite and white cartilage lulugut (crunchy-chewy). The ears are sliced then served in a bowl of sukang paombong (because it is mild, says Aling Mila), salt, patis, ground pepper, leeks, and siling labuyo. The more popular crispy sisig is made by deep-frying the boiled meat to chicharon-crunch, chopped then served on a sizzling plate.
San Andres Street, San Angelo Subdivision, Sto. Domingo, Angeles City, (045) 888-6727
2. Annie Bea Eatery
Named after the grandchild of owner Belen Castaneda, the bigger, garage-type eatery opened about six years ago after the sudden closure of its corner location along the edge of MacArthur Highway as the nameless but popular Tindahan sa Kanto. This carinderia has two menus, one for breakfast where public utility drivers and early risers enjoy lelut (lugaw), pansit palabuk, and tidtad bituka. Daily lunch serves 12 dishes including sisig, five kilos of which is cooked every 15 minutes. Despite this, sisig typically runs out by 2 pm. Belen buys pork with more meat than fat only from her trusted suki at the Pampanga public market. The pork is boiled in a broth of her “secret ingredients,” grilled, chopped, then cooked with a little butter, bit of onions, and chicken liver pieces. If you can’t catch the sisig, Annie Bea’s cara-beef (buffalo meat) dishes such as kaldereta and bistig are consistently delicious and tender.
2099 Jesus Street, Pulung Bulu, Angeles City (near MacArthur Highway), (0916) 252-3126 (call to order sisig by the tray)
3. Cely’s Carinderia
Cely’s is one of Pampanga’s longest running carinderia institutions. From its original branch in the old Nepo Mart, I followed Cely’s to its smaller, new home in barangay Cutcut to satisfy cravings of their traditional, home-style kalderetang baka, kilaying babi or lagat itu. Kapampangan cooking, however, is not just about lutung matwa or old ways of cooking but has a lot to do with creative innovation. Cely’s sisig recipe is served two ways: as single order on a regular plate and big, sharing portion on a sizzling skillet. The latter—which comes in a smoking heap of dark-browned, chopped head parts and liver glistening in its welcome grease of pork fat blending into butter, and some lechon-esque goodness that sticks to the bottom of the hot plate—offers a more satisfying sisig experience. The carinderia’s bigger outlet in San Fernando, operated by the younger family members, serves the same menu of Cely’s traditional Kapampangan lutong-bahay.
Fil-Am Friendship Highway Extension, Cutcut, Angeles City, (0926) 853-8286
4. Ting & Lhyn Fastfood
This canteen has been selling homecooked meals to the school crowd and working class since the early 1990s. Sisig is a lunch staple among locals. According to co-owner Aileen Marana, they use most of the pig’s head, particularly the cheek, ear, and the tongue which are boiled for about an hour in secret ingredients. Chopped ears, fat, and liver are sautéed in local buttermilk. Sisig here is a good-size mix of moist and crunchy, charred meat and fat bits with just the right amount of salt and spice. Their tokwa’t baboy, which comes with crisp, bagnet-like lechong kawali is also popular among the locals. It’s not served every day, but you may call in advance to make a request.
815 Nepomuceno Street, Sto. Rosario, Angeles City (behind Museo ning Angeles), (0926) 867-9040 and (0920) 607-4659
5. Angeles Fried Chicken
This city old-timer, which remains popular among families and generations that grew up with it, has an extensive menu that goes beyond chicken. AFC’s sizzling sisig is one of the best in town. Instead of pig’s head, they use “all batok,” according to dining and banquet catering supervisor Federico David, Jr. Their version is a piping-hot plate of browned, tender pork parts and darker lumps of chicken liver to add some bite and charred-bitterness to this spicy and not too salty style of sisig. Of course, this chicken place also serves chicken sisig, using chicken breast. Try and compare!
1992 Marlim Boulevard, Diamond Subdivision, Balibago, Angeles City, (045) 322-4448 or 625-7644
A longer version of this article first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 1, 2016
Photography by Limuel Dayrit