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Sisig: A Sizzling Gateway to Filipino Cuisine

Sisig is a tradition and food. Sisig is leaning more toward the cooking process rather than the recipe.

The term likely originates from manisig or manisig manga, which refers to eating green mangoes dipped in vinegar as a snack. Historically, that’s what sisig was: a sour snack that was popular among pregnant women craving something sour.

People in Angeles, Pampanga started using extra meat that came from American commissaries at Clark Air Base. The Air Force didn’t cook with pig heads, meaning locals could get them for almost nothing or sometimes nothing. Kapampangans (a Tagalog word that refers to people from Pampanga) are known for letting nothing go to waste and for respecting food. So when pig’s head (or pork jowl) became available, they found ways to use them in their cooking.

Specifically, Kapampangans would use pig ears boiled, chopped, and then dipped in a mixture of vinegar and onions.


For boiling the pig’s cheeks:

2 pig’s cheeks

3 pcs bay leaves (crushed)

5 pcs whole peppercorn

4 cups water

2 tbsp salt

400 grams of chicken liver

For making the Sisig:

2 medium lemon

5 big red onions (chopped)

4 tbsp soy sauce

¼ tsp salt

7 pcs red chili pepper (chopped)

1tbsp butter


1. Wash the pig’s cheek and shave any excess hair off the skin.

2. Put the pig’s cheeks, pepper, bay leaves, and 4 cups of water in a large pot and boil until the pork is tender.

3. Remove the cheeks and set aside. Pour the chicken liver into the same pot and cook for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.

4. When the cheeks have cooled down, start cutting into small pieces. Do the same with the chicken liver but not too small to avoid mashing the liver.

5. Place all chopped pieces in a large bowl and add the chopped onions, chili, salt, and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are well distributed.

6. Take a small bowl and mix the soy sauce and lemon juice. Then add gradually to the meat and mix well, tasting now and then to check if the flavor is okay with you and it’s ready to serve.

Serving with a Hot Plate

1. Place a hot plate on top of a stove. Add a tbsp of butter. Add the sisig and heat for 5 minutes. Serve while sizzling!

Cooking in Microwave

1. Put sisig in a plate or bowl, add 1 tbsp butter on top and heat for 3-5 minutes.

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