Anthony Bourdain: Sisig will 'win the hearts and minds of the world'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 5) — Celebrity chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain has a soft spot for pork sisig, which he believes will lead the charge in Filipino cuisine's rising international recognition.

"Americans and American palates are just now starting to become seriously interested... I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others," Bourdain told CNN Philippines' The Source in an episode that aired Monday.

Bourdain praised the sizzling, crispy pork dish, usually made from parts of pig head and liver, as "the brightest, best hope for a representational, advanced team."

"I think sisig is perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole," he added.

He called sisig "casual, accessible, [and] exactly what you need after a few beers."

"I think it's the most likely to convince people abroad who have had no exposure to Filipino food to maybe look further and investigate further beyond sisig. I think that's the one that's gonna hook them," said Bourdain.

Bourdain, who hosts CNN's travel and food show Parts Unknown, is also working on opening a street food center in New York called the Bourdain Market. Set to open in 2019, the project aims to gather different "chefs, operators, street food and hawker legends from around the world," according to Bourdain's statement on the market website.

He added that sisig will definitely have a place in the market.

"That's a necessity. I think that's absolutely gotta have it," said Bourdain, who pegs its price as below US$10, given the cost of living in the country.

 

The celebrity foodie, known for his adventures to exotic places around the globe, also said street food is "maybe the most exciting sector of eating."

"Some communities have been more hostile to the expansion of the street food scene. New York is very ambivalent on this subject," said Bourdain. "So the opportunity to do what Singapore has done... and bring them into hawker centers offers some promise."

Bourdain: Filipino food underrated

Bourdain said Filipino food was "ascendant" and a "work in progress." He also called Filipino cuisine "underrated."

He pointed out that Filipinos "were able to assimilate and Americanize very easily and very quickly."

"I think Filipinos embraced America and were embraced by America in a way that other cultures might not have been," said Bourdain. "I think Filipinos in America maybe underrated their own food. They used to be mocked for balut."

"A lot of traditional Filipino food has sour and bitter notes, which are very unfamiliar to American palates of a few years ago. American palates have changed drastically," he added. "I think there's a really bright future."

The celebrity chef said he expects the Filipino cuisine is going to explode in such a way the Korean cuisine has gained attention over the last decade.

Filipino dishes and restaurants are beginning to gain traction in the United States. One of the popular picks is Bad Saint in Washington D.C., a restaurant run by Filipino-American chef Tom Cunanan. It ranked second in Bon Apétit magazine's "America's Best New Restaurants" list last year.

Bourdain's other Filipino food favorites include lechon, adobo, and sinigang.