The Evolution of Sisig and Mayonnaise


For years in the Philippines, Sisig has been associated with drinking sessions, as Pulutan. Also, lesser known, nutrition for pregnant women in the Philippines. However, these days, Sisig is a staple at Filipino Restaurants, most often served on a sizzling plate.

On the home turf, Sisig was made with pig cheeks, pig snouts, smothered with onions and laced with red hot peppers.

Maybe foreigners would not like pig ears and pig tails any better than pig cheeks but it is a step up.

Sisig has now evolved. Ground Pork, Ground Beef, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Tuna, Squid, Shellfish are all being utilized to create Special Sisig. Other ingredients include Calamansi, Pineapple Juice, Black Peppercorns, Salt, White Onion and Chili Peppers. The new chefs on the block recommend garnishing Sisig with Mayonnaise and an Over EZ Egg.

Mayonnaise

Kewpie is probably not the go to Mayonnaise to put on your Cold Cut Sandwiches but it is good with Asian dishes. Like Sisig! In China, where I was an English teacher for 9 years, that was the only brand of Mayonnaise available where we lived, unless you took the A-Train to Hong Kong for shopping.

For years in Bacolod, I bought Home Brand Mayonnaise, Product of Freedonia, NY, but this year, I am buying Kraft Mayonnaise since it appeared on the scene. Surprisingly, I never see Hellmanns Mayonnaise in Bacolod City.

I have never tried Best Foods Mayonnaise, which I see everywhere. I have tried Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise in a pinch and that was it! It is not bad but it is not my choice.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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Filipino Creativity, Spanish Inspiration

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When I first arrived in the Philippines, I was excited to enjoy Filipino Cuisine. For one year, I enjoyed Filipino food almost exclusively. I wanted to try it all. I had pizza a time or two during that year, at Shakey’s, had a few burgers here and there and I had Southern fried chicken several times. I lived with a Filipino family for one year and communicated daily with the cook, concerning what I wanted to eat. Her dishes mostly highlighted Spanish inspiration instead of dishes that were Chinese inspired. She also had Indonesian and Malaysian inspired dishes that she made very well. Bakmi Goreng, Indonesia style fried noodles, became an all time favorite, even until this day. With lots of lime juice.

It was during this time that I first discovered toyomansi, soy sauce with calamansi (lime) juice. It is a great condiment on a variety of dishes. One of my favorite condiments is Sambal. It is a spicy bottled chili sauce, which also has a little bagoong, patis, ginger and lime juice. It is of Indonesian origin and has influenced Filipino Cuisine in some islands.

I may have strange tastes but I enjoy bagoong (shrimp paste) and patis (fish sauce) as condiments. Most of the expats I know do not often eat Filipino food. One told me bluntly, “I don’t eat that crap,” referring to Filipino food. He has a very bad attitude and I do not like guys like that! For me, it is part of the adventure. Nowadays, I don’t eat Filipino food everyday but I eat it often and I have a number of favorite Filipino dishes. My mother in law makes short pork ribs with jackfruit for me from time to time and it is excellent.

Spanish Inspired

Adobo is considered by many as the National Philippines Dish. I enjoy making pork and chicken adobo as a one wok dish. I tend to use more soy sauce and vinegar than the local Negrense style adobo.

Paksiw is my wife’s favorite dish and she makes it often. She seems to favor Paksiw with fish but she makes Paksiw with pork for me. It is a vinegar based stew with fresh chili peppers.

Many local dishes in our area have Spanish names. Mechado, Kaldereta and Menudo are only 3 examples among many.

Eggs Sarciado

Eggs Sarciado is a Filipino dish that is a play on Huevos Rancheros.

Eggs Sarciado is served with fried potatoes, onions, garlic and Filipino style sweet tomato sauce.

I prefer Huevos Rancheros and there are many variations. I use scrambled eggs, served on a corn or flour tortilla, with salsa, sliced avocado and Mexican or Spanish style rice. It’s awesome!

Especial Paella Valencia

Paella Valencia originated in Valencia, Spain. You will see this one pot yellow rice dish served during Christmas, other holidays, special occasions and during barrio fiestas, in the Philippines. I love Paella Valencia!

There are many variations and recipes of Paella Valencia. I have one special version that I will share with you.

My Paella Valencia includes the following ingredients. White fish stock, dry white wine, chopped celery, chopped onion, garlic cloves, peeled tomatoes, chopped red bell pepper, chopped green bell pepper, chopped yellow bell pepper, smoked Andouille sausage, whole chicken thighs, whole chicken wings and 1 dozen each of clams, mussels and prawns. Wow! I think you will like my version of Paella Valencia.

The cover photo of this article is of Especial Paella Valencia.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Conees Cansi & Sugba

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Connees

If you are feeling a little run down, I’m going to tell you what to do and where to go. Head on over to Conees Cansi & Sugba, located on Alijis Road near the turn off to Lopues Supermarket and Panaad Park. My family and I dined there this evening and we really enjoyed it.

Conees Cansi & Sugba is in native architecture with native Filipino decor and it gives you the true atmosphere of dining in the Philippines. Bamboo is everywhere in the restaurant. The service is great, the food is fabulous and the restrooms are extremely modern and clean.

House Specialties

Cansi! This is the signature dish of Conees Cansi and Sugba, which most everyone goes there for. The cover photo of this article is indeed a hot bowl of cansi. Cansi is Negrense comfort food. It is boiled beef in a wonderful broth, complete with beef bone and bone marrow. It is delicious. A small order of cansi at Conees Cansi & Sugba is P230, with the large order priced at P280. I suggest getting the large order because your friends and family will love you more!

The meaning of sugba is grill. Conees has marvelous grilled food, which I simply call BBQ. Chicken inasal and grilled pork chops are what we ordered. Wow! Everyone agreed that their order was awesome. Grilled pork chops are priced at P55 and chicken inasal leg quarter is priced at P75. We had garlic rice as our side dish.

Conees will also grill up boneless bangus for you, which is milk fish. If you have never tried bangus, you are in for a treat and I highly recommend it to you. Grilled boneless bangus is P180.

Soft drinks and ice cold beer are served at Conees Cansi & Sugba. Water served is purified, so have no fear. You can drink the water!

Filipino Food

Eating Filipino food is part of the adventure but some expats are set in their ways and they don’t want to be adventurous. They don’t know what they are missing! There are many, so many delicious Filipino dishes. When I lived in the Philippines 1986-1987, I ate Filipino food almost exclusively because I wanted to experience all the food.

Fast forward to today. I still enjoy southern comfort food and food I was accustomed to back in the States. However, I eat Filipino food every week, just not every meal and maybe not everyday.

I don’t think you will go wrong by trying cansi and any number of local grilled dishes.

If you are living in the Philippines, I hope you will be adventurous and try the local food!

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod. Maybe, it will be at Conees Cansi & Sugba!

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~