Filipinos love their pork. It’s definitely the unofficial national meat of the country, and it always manages to find itself in dishes across the region, from binagoongan to humba. It seems inevitable that a foreign chain would try to appeal to local palates by introducing dishes of the porcine kind–heck, even Quiznos Philippines has introduced a sisig sub (which frankly, sounds a little freaky). Pepper Lunch, famed for their decidedly awesome steak and rice combos, countless sauces, and sizzling plates that leave you smelling like meaty goodness, have recently introduced two Filipino-inspired dishes, both appealing to our love of the pig.
First, there’s Sisig, which is wetter than the crispy kind that’s the version most people love. It’s covered in gravy, obscuring whatever bits of meat they serve you, and topped with corn and chicharon. It doesn’t taste like sisig at all except for the flavor of liver here and there, but if you love pork fat, and the appeal of brown gravy over mystery meat, then this sisig plate is for you.
The Lechon plate is a little more visually appealing–it has more identifiable bits of meat, thin-cut slices of pork that’s been quickly fried, and covered in their signature blend of pepper. It comes with the same toppings as the sisig, but isn’t doused in sauce. If you’re already a fan of Pepper Lunch, then definitely go for this one- it tastes like the normal plates that they’re already known for, but instead of steak or beef, you get pork. The slices are more fat than meat, and should be called Liempo instead of Lechon, but is still kind of addictive. A tip- put the slices on the sizzling plate longer to get a char and crust that makes the fat less greasy, crispier, and easier to eat.
Pepper Lunch is always one of those guilty pleasures, where you eat if you’re hankering for a more substantial fast food fix, and don’t mind the smell that sticks to you afterwards. Their Pinoy Fiesta offerings don’t break any new ground, and aren’t particularly better than what’s on their menu now, but they are good enough to become anyone’s new, favorite secret.