Making Hapa SF's Sisig Recipe

As SactoMoFo 5 approaches on Saturday, it seemed only fitting that I write a post related to my favorite Bay area truck, Hapa SF. 

If you know your Hawaiian pidgin, "hapa" means "half-caste" or "of mixed descent". Therefore, I would be a hapa since I am half Filipino and half British. In the case of Hapa SF, the truck specializes in contemporary Filipino food. As their website says, "Our focus is to tantalize your taste buds with our innovative take on classic Filipino cuisine."

Whenever I see them I have to go and get a plate of sisig, a pork dish that any pork lover would crave. Then William Pilz,  Hapa SF's chef and owner, gave a sisig recipe to for printing. I pinned that sucker onto my Pinterest board right away with a goal to make it.

So what is sisig? Don't be turned off by which part of the pig is being used. Sisig is typically made with parts off the pig's head - ears and jowls (sometimes brain, ew). The jowls are super fatty and tender while the ears give a slight chewy texture. The pork is brined and then triple cooked - braised, grilled, and fried. The flavoring is typical Filipino - a blend of salty, sour, with a touch of heat. (Filipino food is not considered spicy hot, by the way.)

small bits of skin for sisig in bowl
Before I lose you, William's version calls for jowls, an ear, and pork butt. I had to make an adaptation when I couldn't get an ear and ended up using skin instead. You may recall (in my post on Homemade Chicharron) that I had gone to the pig butchering demonstration at GOOD: Street Food & Design hoping to score the jowls and ear only to find that the butcher didn't bring the head. He did bring the jowls, though, and so I took those, some pork butt, and then asked for the skin off the torso to make up for the ear. I figured ears are all skin anyway (and cartilage), right?

The recipe is rather time consuming, but can be done over several days. For instance, prepare the brine and stick the pork in overnight. Cook the individual pieces the next day and then those can be saved for a day or two until final frying just before serving. 

The sisig is served over rice or, in the case of the truck, served in tacos. Since I've been slightly paleo of late, I ate it over some sauteed bok choy.

How was it? Great, of course, although a little salty. I think that next time I will either use less or low sodium soy sauce. I'll also up the chilis for more heat. 

Now I know you aren't going to run out and make this, so here's a suggestion. Go and try it this Saturday at SactoMoFo and THEN run out and make your own so you can have a whole batch for yourself!

Here is the link to the Hapa SF Sisig recipe on Chow.

Shopping tips: You can easily find pig ears and jowls at Asian and Hispanic markets. Also Taylor's and Corti's would be able to get them for you, I'm sure.