Three tiny cans of mystery called to us as we explored the Tong Li supermarket in Haymarket. As lovers of the wonderfully onomatopoeic dish called sisig, we had to wonder just what it could be like preserved and cooked out of a tin. Alongside the usual pork sisig was a chicken version, and next to that a gold tin of 'cooked dry peas'. Into the basket they went for cooking in the B-Kyu kitchen.
First up, the classic 'Sizzling Delights Sisig'. The can really is small, like a single shot baked beans tin. It's a wonder there can be enough food in there. It's only $1.69 a can, a lot of meat for not a lot of money.
Inside it's not a pretty picture, there's a good mix of fat in among the chopped up meat and there seems to be a few different textures and colours.
Out of the tin, it starts to look a little better. It doesn't smell too strong either, and the meat has some visible chunks of what could be skin which gives it a truer 'sisig' look and hopefully taste. There's a mix of pork and beef in here, according the the label.
Once it hits the frying pan, you really get an increase in the smell as the sizzle starts. The can recommends cooking until all the moisture has gone from the mix. When it had cooked down it changed colour to a much darker, more satisfying golden brown. The only thing really missing is the crunch of small fried bits of skin in a fresher version.
Serve either on a sizzling plate with chopped pickled green chillis, and either add a swirl of mayo to the mix for extra oil or crack an egg on top for additional creaminess.
Next up is the 'Sizzling Delights Chicken Sisig'. Knowing what goes into the pork version, what could be in the chicken version? Tiny chopped chicken heads?
The mix looked a lot drier than the pork version, but had a nicer colour to it.
Once in the pan though, there really wasn't a lot of sizzle to be had without adding a little extra oil. The mix was a lot drier than the pork sisig and it looked beak free. This is most probably all the tiny bits of left over bits of chicken no one knows what to do with, and probably a few gizzards and bits thrown in for good measure.
Last of all, the can of Senorita brand 'cooked dry peas'. The gold and black tin gives it a regal feel, like there's something precious and exotic and expensive inside. At 55c, it's far from a bank breaking food.
Inside the tine the peas are in a liquid that you could either use in your cooking or drain if you want the peas to be mixed a little drier.
So the finished meal in the end? The pork sisig mixed with chopped green chillis worked well with a pile of rice, bagoong (shrimp paste) and a couple of pinoy style veggie dishes. The peas were used in a mix of carrot and potato and had a good bite to them, they didn't deteriorate or melt away in the mix.
The chicken sisig, as it was drier, we ate with chillis and fresh lettuce cups, kind of like a Filipino san choy bow. Not a bad experiment, there's another tin of pork sisig in the shelf right now just in case of a dinner emergency.
We love Filipino food.