Sisig: A culinary heritage like no other
If there’s one thing Filipinos cannot do without at parties, get-togethers, or after-work drinks, it would be sisig.
Sisig, the mouthwatering dish made mainly of pork, pig cheeks, and liver, has become an ever-present dish on the Filipino party table.
In the not-so-distant past, sisig was only considered an appetizer that went extremely well with beer and alcoholic drinks.
Now, many have recognized it as a hearty and flavorful meal in any occasion, at any time of the day. Sisig has become so popular that it was even cited as “arguably the greatest pork dish on earth” by the New York Times.
To share the legacy of this beloved Kampangan dish, Fresh Options collaborated with the Angeles City Tourism Office in hosting the 2017 Sisig Fiesta in Angeles City in Pampanga. The annual Sisig Fiesta, which attracted thousands of foodies, tourists and sisig lovers from all over the country, aimed to make the younger generation appreciate its roots, basic recipe, and food preparation.
Fresh Options, the retail arm of the quality meat and meat products producer RDF, co-presented the event to increase public awareness that the humble yet popular sisig has been declared as the unique Intangible Cultural Heritage of Angeles City in February 2017.
The brand’s passion for the festival also stems from the fact that Fresh Options, like sisig, traces its roots to Angeles.
“We’re really passionate to be a part of the Sisig Fiesta because we also started in Angeles City. Our first four stores were in Angeles. In fact, sisig is our best-selling value-added meat,” said Dr. Robert Lo, president and CEO of RDF and Fresh Options. “We, like all Angelenos, are proud of our sisig.”
Dr. Lo explained that, unknown to many, sisig was referred to as manyisig or sour since it was flavored with kalamansi and vinegar. Through the years, sisig evolved into today’s pork-based dish that has been popularized by food stalls and restaurants in Angeles.
But like all comfort food, pork sisig now has other variants such as chicken and pork sisig. He said that while it was good that people enjoyed sisig enough to experiment with its flavor base, it was also important for the younger generation to appreciate the authentic recipe and flavor of sisig to keep the culinary heritage alive.
To help guests appreciate the rich flavor base of the dish, Fresh Options also held a “Sisig Twisted Recipe” competition, which was participated in by groups made up of family members, friends, spouses or siblings. Teams prepared heirloom sisig recipes and then reinvented them into novel dishes. This unique cooking contest enabled participants to demonstrate the versatility of sisig and to pass on the culinary heritage to the younger generation. ILead won first place with their “Ginataang Pinakbet Sisig,” followed by Kenneth James Larce (second) with his “Stir Fry Pork Sisig with Spicy Hollandaise Sauce” and Koleen Gerdy Romero (third) with “Sisig Balls in Filo Pastry.”
They will be featured in audio visual presentations (AVPs) to be shown in various RDF establishments. The contest also served as a venue for Fresh Options to support local talent while at the same time emphasizing the need for food innovations. Fresh Options’ principal RDF is known for its various innovative food concepts like Meats & Match, Robbie’s, and ready to heat value-added products.