I am bad with geography. Having lived in this archipelago of more than 7000 islands all my life, I never bothered to learn which province was whose neighbor especially in Luzon and Mindanao. Slowly I piece together the Philippines thru travel and food.
Did you know that one of Bataan's neighbors is Pampanga? Knew that since you were in grade one? Good for you! But a great discovery for me just a week back, all thanks to the sisig and kakanin my friend fed me while I was visiting her in Bataan.
Driving along the hiway in Pilar, Bataan, we stopped by a roadside barbecue stand for some sisig. If you're not from there, you'd probably dismiss it because it doesn't look special at all (it doesn't even have a signboard). But come 6PM (or as early as 530PM), there will be several cars parked at the shoulder of the hiway lining up for some sisig, isaw, pork barbecue, chicken barbecue, or grilled hotdog...but most especially for sisig.
Being a fan of sisig, I know (heard somewhere really) that sisig originally came from Pampanga. I would have loved to have gone hunting for the sisig inventor, but since I am in Bataan, not Pampanga, this will have to do: a sisig place where the people preparing it are Kapampangan.
Chop it up real good!
Sisig, according to wikipedia, is a Kapampangan term which means "to snack on something sour". I cannot verify if that is true since I do not speak Kapampangan. But I do know this was one good sisig. "Good" in my opinion is not having large chunks of liver (I do not like liver, itty bitty diced ones will do) but has a good deal of onion and just the right amount of sourness.
I am not sure how they cooked it, all I saw was that they grilled the pork, chopped it up real good along with one whole onion, put it all in a pan and brought it in the back kitchen where they poured their magic. My friend said there was liver in it, I just didn't see it coz it was mashed. :))
One serving costs Php 170. A bit pricey you say? Wait til you dig thru it...it can feed three people.
This is just along the highway of Pilar, Bataan, beside Britt Home Builders Center, across Balor and Tapang Construction and Trading and Ronakiel Restaurant, Bar, and Hotel. They're open 6PM (or sometimes as early as 530PM) ...until supplies last ;-)
Another hint of Pampanga in Bataan is Susie's Cuisine, which claims to have "The Best in Pampango Kakanin". Of course, not having tried Pampango Kakanin before, I will have to take their word for it.
They sell other stuff but I thought I'd just take a picture of their kakanin menu.
My gracious host bought almost everything I haven't heard of (except for the puto and cuchinta): aleya ube, tibok-tibok, tibokmais, kalame duman, moche. Aleya Ube is just mashed ube. Tibok-tibok is made from carabao's milk and tastes kinda similar to maja blanca. Tibokmais is made with, guess what, carabao's milk and corn. Kalame duman is made from young rice. Moche is made from rice with monggo filling. All these kakanin, except for the moche, is to be topped with (Tagalog) latik before eating. Moche is to be eaten with kalame (sweetened coconut milk). Of all the kakanin, I like tibokmais most (or maybe I am just biased when it comes to anything corn). Duman to me tasted like rice only a bit sweeter...according to my friend, it tastes like gummybears.
From top to bottom, left to right: aleya ube, tibok-tibok, tibokmais, kalame duman, moche, puto, and cuchinta
We got all these from Susie's Cuisine at Don Manuel Banzon Ave. in Balanga City, Bataan [contact numbers (047) 451 5360 / (047) 237 0066]. They also have a branch in Orion, Bataan, and in many parts of Pampanga.