Friday, June 9, 2017

Anthony Bourdain: Sigsig will open the door to Filipino cuisine

Sigsig, the Filipino bar food, is a favorite of chef Anthony Bourdain.
“SISIG is perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world,” celebrity chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain boldly stated in an interview with CNN Philippines on Monday (June 5).

Bourdain believes that sigsig, the quintessential Filipino bar food, will be the gateway dish to Filipino cuisine's rising international recognition.
"Americans and American palettes are just now starting to become seriously interested... I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others," Bourdain told CNN.
Bourdain praised the sizzling, crispy pork dish, as "the brightest, best hope for a representational, advanced team."
He called sisig "casual, accessible, [and] exactly what you need after a few beers."
"I think it's the most likely (dish) to convince people abroad who have had no exposure to Filipino food to maybe look further and investigate further beyond sisig. I think that's the one that's gonna hook them," said Bourdain.
First introduced to the American food scene by Filipino-run food trucks in California such as Señor Sigsig and Hapa-SF, sigsig is being presented as the filling in tacos, burritos, and as a poutine, atop of french fries and topped with cheese. The more traditional dish on a sizzling hot platter is making its way onto the menus of brick-and-mortar restaurants that cater to adventurous foodies.
But, for the uninitiated: what the heck is sigsig?
It is Filipino soul food. The dish was created by a people who don't have the luxury or the money to pay for the more expensive parts of the pig.
In the Filipino tradition to have no waste and use the entire hog, sigsig is made up of the snout, ears, face and cheeks, parts of the pig that are normally thrown out by U.S. butchers.
The meat is cut up into a style of hash, boiled, grilled and fried. It is usually served with a raw egg on the sizzling dish that is then mixed into the meat.
Bourdain's introduction to sigsig was what he called his "Come to Mama Moment" in the video below:
“Historically it first started in the Philippines when American GIs came in and were throwing out the cuts of pork they didn’t want. Filipinos would not let that go to waste, so they used every part of the pig,” explains Philippe Garcesto to Huffington Post. He is the manager of the Filipino restaurant Maharlika in NYC.  "That includes the face ― and of course, the snout."
Bourdain said Filipino food was "ascendant" and a "work in progress." He also called Filipino cuisine "underrated."
Bourdain, who as host of CNN's travel and food show "Parts Unknown,"has brought his show to the Philippines twice. He pointed out that Filipinos "were able to assimilate and Americanize very easily and very quickly."
"I think Filipinos embraced America and were embraced by America in a way that other cultures might not have been," said Bourdain. "I think Filipinos in America maybe underrated their own food. They used to be mocked for balut."
"A lot of traditional Filipino food has sour and bitter notes, which are very unfamiliar to American palettes of a few years ago. American palettes have changed drastically," he added. "I think there's a really bright future."
The celebrity chef said he expects Filipino cuisine is going to explode in the same way Americans flocked to Korean and Vietnamese eateries over the last decade.
Ube, a yam used in Filipino dishes that turns whatever you mix it with purple, has become a popular instagram trend. People love sending photos of the purple concoctions whether it be ice cream, cakes or donuts.
An ube donut sprinkled with coconut.
Filipino dishes and restaurants are beginning to gain traction in the United States. One of the popular picks is Bad Saint in Washington D.C., a restaurant run by Filipino/American chef Tom Cunanan. It ranked second in Bon Apétit magazine's "America's Best New Restaurants" list last year.
Bourdain told CNN that sigsig will definitely be on the menu when he opens Bourdain Market, a street food center in New York that is projected to open in 2019. The project aims to gather different "chefs, operators, street food and hawker legends from around the world," according to Bourdain's statement on the market website.
"That's a necessity. I think that's absolutely gotta have it," said Bourdain, who pegs its price as below $10.