In 2010, San Francisco’s street-food scene was taking baby steps, trying to walk the city’s complicated permit requirements. To make it, you needed passion and vision—exactly the two things that fueled the launch of Señor Sisig’s first food truck that year. Inspired by the success of Roy Choi’s Kogi Korean taco truck in Los Angeles, high school friends Evan Kidera, who has an MBA from San Francisco State, and Gil Payumo, an experienced chef, saw Filipino food as a Bay Area cultural force ready to break out.
With a reconditioned Chinese food truck from Modesto that Evan found on Craigslist, they were committed to the format of tacos and burritos. To fill them, they reached back in Gil’s family history to find a dish his dad was famous for at parties: sisig. In the province of Pampanga in the Philippines, where Gil’s family has roots, sisig is rustic drinking food, a highly seasoned mixture of chopped meat from the head and snout of a pig. Gil’s family recipe called instead for pork shoulder: more accessible, friendlier to modern sensibilities, and just as rich and juicy as the traditional version. Gil tweaked the recipe, which calls for infusing the pork with a highly seasoned, slightly spicy marinade for 24 hours before grilling and chopping it. He adapted the method for chicken and tofu.
He and Evan began rolling up sisig in burritos, spooning it into tacos, and sprinkling it on nachos. Driven by word of mouth on social media and the popularity of San Francisco’s newly launched Off the Grid street-food events, Señor Sisig quickly became a local phenomenon. As San Francisco and the wider Bay Area have embraced street food as a beloved form of eating, and expression of grassroots culture and the entrepreneurial spirit, Señor Sisig has grown, too.
With its fleet of four food trucks and three brick & mortars serving the San Francisco Bay Area you won’t have to search long to experience Señor Sisig’s truly unique take on a traditional Filipino delicacy. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s flavorful, and best of all, it’s truly San Franciscan.