Sisig, a dish made of pig's cheek and liver, is undoubtedly part of the average Pinoy's culinary cravings. Be it your usual night out, or lunch break, this dish is always a staple.
So I was beyond ecstatic upon learning that my officemates and I are dining at the famed Aling Lucing's Sisig restaurant in Pampanga right after attending the opending day of the recent 18th Hot Air Balloon Festival.
You see, I have had the pleasure of dining at Aling Lucing's original railroad store in 2004. I was only 21 then and that was also my first time trying sisig.
It was so awesome that I got hooked on the said dish. I've tried sisig from various restaurants and most of them were good but the one I tried in Pampanga always stood out.
Aling Lucing, or Lucita Cunanan, has been largely credited for originating the dish as early as the 1970's. She has been featured in various magazines and was cited even by the Department of Tourism.
Famous food enthusiast Anthony Bourdain even visited the resto in 2009 end enjoyed it tremendously.
This time around, the Aling Lucing restaurant looked a bit different. It's not found along the railroad, for one. But the absence of the Aling Lusing herself, the one hailed asthe sisig queen of Pampanga and the Philippines, really, is very obvious.
But we were famished and we quickly ordered our favorites. We ordered two whole plates of sisig, relyenong bangus, veggies and some pork barbecue.
I had high expectations from our sisig, given the fame of the restaurant and because the first sisig I ever had was served here.
I was greatly underwhelmed. Our orders came really late, but that's forgivable given the sheer number of people dining at that moment.
Then our barbecues were served really cold and the meat was not tender at all. Again, it's ok with me since its not a main dish.
When it finally came to the main dish, it was a major let down. It was not as spicy as I remember and it was a bit bland. It seemed to miss some extra salt or some other major ingredient.
With the sisig queen no longer around, I guess, cannot expect the same exact recipe but I was hoping that those left in charge would try their best to be faithful to the original concotion which won thousands of Filipinos over.
The relyenong bangus was good and flavorful so some of my disappointment was eased.
The burong hipon or preserved shrimp which comes as a condiment for the vegetables, actually saved the day for me. It was great and it made my usually tense veggie moments, a lot better.
It took me about nine years to try Aling Lucing's sisig for the second time and the experience was not so grea.
I hope that those running the restaurant realizes what it is missing so fans and food enthusiasts will not be disappointed anymore. Otherwise, the legend that is Aling Lusing's sisisg, may eventually suffer and lose it's appeal.