Great food from the Philippines: Sisig (pigs face)

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ June 13th, 2009. Updated on September 10th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Filipino food.
Close up of sisig from The Philippines

Close up of sisig from The Philippines

Sisig from the Philippines

Sisig was one of the first Filipino dishes I was … erm … subjected too. Mainly because some locals thought that describing it as Pig’s face would put me off. Unfortunately for them I’ve eaten cow face before so it wasn’t a big thing. Unfortunately for me, Sisig wasn’t quite as good. That said you may like it.

What is sisig?

A plate of Sisig from the Philippines (click to enlarge)

A plate of Sisig from the Philippines

It is indeed made from the face of a pig. Parts of the whole head actually. Snout, ears, skin that sort of thing. It’s origins also state pig brain but that seems to have slipped into history. It’s likely to have some liver in there too. Yet I haven’t come across that too often either. But there is chili, onion, soy sauce and  a dash calamansi with vinegar.

Where to find sisig?

In cheaper eateries I have to say I found the chunks of white fat and skin far more plentiful than any meaty bits. But head to a sit down cantina or a home stay and you’ll get a better plate. In restaurants it’s often served on a hot plate under the moniker “sizzling sisig”. Generally it goes great with a beer in an outdoor market as a nibble type food.  Costing around 15-30 pesos a dish and a lot more in restaurants.

This is an additional post and one of a series highlighting Filipino food from the Philippines

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8 Great responses to Great food from the Philippines: Sisig (pigs face)

  1. zylla3 says:

    You’re right…sisig is nothing compared to what I consider the ultimate gastronomic test for foreigners: bagoong, balut, and dinuguan.

  2. ervin says:

    -in the philippines every food stall, restaurant or bar has their own version of sisig. sisig with mayo, sisig tasting like civiche, crispy sisig, some just like a big lump of fat, etc.
    -the dish was originally developed by a food vendor in the province of pampanga. she used to grill parts of the pigs head until the skin was crisp, chop it finely, add mashed pigs brain, chopped onion and chili, season it with soysauce and calamansi.
    -it is a good bar chow when served with the local hot sauce. great with san miguel beer.

    • Indeed, and many have personal versions of just about everything! Not my favorite though, as it’s too full of gristle and the like. But, yes I’ve seen it many bars, boxing venues etc.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Greetings from Abu Dhabi! Just started reading your blog today and have found it very interesting. I’m visiting the Phils in December, the first time in 24 years since my family migrated to Australia. I came across your blog when I tried to search for a way to travel from Sabang to El Nido. I’d like to see the underground river and the El Nido islands during the 6 days we have in Palawan (this doesn’t include the 2 days on either side which I’ve factored into for the Manila-Palawan-Manila flights. Is the underground river worth seeing to endure the painful Sabang to El Nido trip? I also want to see the Iwahig prison but I’m not sure how realistic this itinerary is.

    By the way, it’s too bad you didn’t enjoy the sisig you tasted. The best sisig is from Pampanga as that’s where it originates from. It doesn’t look like you were able to explore that province because if you had, you would’ve really enjoyed Capampangan cuisine. Pampanga is known for its good food and interesting delicacies. Did you try sinigang at all? I’m wondering if they served it at the street markets you visited. It’s my favourite Filipino dish, yum!

    We’re also planning a trip to Kathmandu during the Eid holidays (maybe 3-4 days) so I’ll be reading your blog about Nepal with great interest. Keep safe and I wish you much serendipity on your journey. Have you considered exploring Sri Lanka? It’s not yet overrun by tourists, it’s relatively easy to get around in and still cheap. Plus the political problems have ceased, I believe. It’s also got great culture and lovely people.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      The road to El Nido has improved, I do recommend a mini van over the bus though. And, it’s still a fairly long journey.

      Regarding Sabang and the underground river. It really depends what you value more. A 20 minute boat into a big cave, or an extra day swimming and island hoping in El Nido? The underground river is the “allegedly” the worlds longest “Navigable” under ground river. Kinda like saying I old the worlds oldest piece of chewing gum that’s “touched” Mount Everest. Arguable points of greatness if you get what I mean.

      Yes, I’ve had sinigang, never wrote about it though. I’ve had it in peoples home. Not bad, so long as they keep the MSG out of it ;)

      I have considered Sri Lanka as there are very cheap flights from Malaysia. But, I’d be too tempted to hop over to India afterwards. So, keeping it on hold for now.

      Only 3-4 days in Nepal? I guess you will only be in Kathmandu then. There’s a lot to do. I leave a link to my personal travel guide to Nepal below, it will highlight the good places a little better than the blog!

      Many thanks for your kind words, and enjoy your travels.

      Travel guide to Nepal

  4. Matthew says:

    Sisig is also the first dish I was “subjected” to. I was fed sisig with plenty of beer while doing videoke. After I had a few bites, they revealed to me that it was diced pig face. Pretty good, except for the crunchy parts.

  5. Layla says:

    it does take a little getting used to! ;)

    sisig would totally depend on where it’s cooked. most restaurants/food stalls/eateries have their own version of that viand. as Ervin mentioned, some cook–or serve sisig with mayonnaise (it is a bit a weird, and a bit greasy), and sometimes with pork cracklings served with beer. try giving it another chance! :) Razon’s served really tasty sisig. Not much pork cracklings and whatnot. :)