Anthony Bourdain on Sisig: “People will be crazy for sisig everywhere.”
The TV host, chef, and writer declared sisig as "the breakout dish."
It was inevitable: Anthony Bourdain was going to be asked about Filipino food during the press conference held on June 2 as part of the World Street Food Congress in Manila. He was in town to source for possible vendors for his soon-to-open Bourdain Market in New York.
But the TV host, chef, and writer always wins Filipino hearts, it seems, with his unabashed love for certain Filipino dishes. “I think the number one Filipino dish that would really set the world on fire and have the highest possibility of success everywhere in the world is sisig,” he told members of the media at the Conrad Hotel Manila.
Anthony Bourdain and KF Seetoh shared what they were looking for in vendors for the Bourdain Market.
“It’s the ultimate drinking food…it’s really perfect and it fits right in the current pork-centric zeitgeist…It’s a low-impact, minimal commitment, affordable dish that’s fun. You know, you’re sitting around drinking beer, and you’re on beer number four, and the arrival of a big plate of sisig is like the best thing ever! It’s got flavor, it’s got texture, it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s unpretentious…absolutely delicious drinking food on the planet.” It sounded like he was fondly remembering exactly how he had spoonfuls of the savory, crunchy pork bits, each bite adding a layer of happy satisfaction over a plate that brings one simple joys.
He continued, predicting confidently, “At some point, I promise, with us or without us, people will be crazy for sisig everywhere. That’s the breakout dish, I think.”
Bourdain is no stranger to the variety of dishes our cuisine has to offer. He has sampled lechon in Cebu, ate halo-halo in the streets of Manila, indulged in servings of Jollibee’s sweet spaghetti, toured Binondo with Ivan Man Dy, and was introduced to Kapampangan cuisine by Chef Claude Tayag on his previous trips here. He is back to look for future tenants for his mammoth project, the Bourdain Market.
The market he envisions, he shared, will be “a space where they are selling produce and there’s fishmongers and butchers cutting meat…there’s a big shellfish bar where people are ordering oysters and drinking expensive wine…and also dozens of hawkers selling affordable hawker food from all over the world.”
When asked if he had specific dishes in mind for the market, like sisig, he said, “We definitely have a shopping list. It’s like putting together a baseball team —there are certain players that I would really love to have.
Well, there’s a woman in Mexico, making tostadas of such incredible high quality that I was mind-blown. We also need a good chicken rice. So I think like that, you look to your first love first.”