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Fresh Eats: Toast Deli's Sisig Surprise Is One (Good) Hot Mess 

Wednesday, Sep 14 2011
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Sisig, a drinking snack created in the 1970s, has become the dish that seems to define modern Filipino food in the Bay Area. I have seen fish, chicken, pork, tofu, and chickboy (chicken-pork) sisig on local menus, not to mention sisig nachos and pizza. I have bought more sisig tacos from food trucks than I can count. If Proctor & Gamble introduced sisig-flavored Pringles, I'd probably scarf them down, too.

When I walked into the 10-month-old Toast Deli, in a back corner of the King Plaza shopping center in Daly City, owner Chris Arcilla was hanging out at one of the shop's two booths, minding a herd of kids ranging in age from the squealy to the sullen. One of the older ones took the order for the pork sisig sandwich ($9) and, after the cook had plated it, came out to sit with the herd as they watched White Chicks on TV.

The bun could barely contain Toast's entropic sandwich. Chopped pork spilled out of its sides, and the moment I picked up one half, the yolk in the puffy fried egg burst, saturating the meat and gilding my fingers. The meat was doused in Arcilla's "hitter" sauce, with enough soy sauce and lime to make it pulse with umami, standing up to the bite of raw onion and sting of jalapeños.

I found myself stuffing the spilled pork back into the bun, smearing yolk and soy sauce all over my hands, praying the gaggle of tweens would continue to ignore me as I engaged in etiquette breaches that would have horrified their parents and mine. The surprise of the sisig sandwich was that, flavor-wise at least, it could bear the weight of its own richness. It deserves a food truck of its own.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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