WARNING: This post is not for vegetarians or non-pork eaters.
My heart literally stops when any of these 3 things happen: 1) when work gets messed up so bad and there is literally nothing I can do to solve the problem (maybe just Divine Intervention or perhaps just the sincere kindness of a supportive boss and collaborative clients) 2) when The Husband goes beyond his usual cynical, I-Hate-The-World-and-all-of-you mode to do something romantic for me and, last but not the least, 3) when the Universe gives me a chance to taste the best porkilicious treats from Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy (Tofu and Pork), Angeles Pampanga…
Our entire family have been loyal customers of Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy since I was in high school. So that would be around my calculations, more than 10 years now. In the ever evolving and expanding Philippine foodie scene, there is comfort in knowing that through the many years, their food quality has never been compromised, despite this hole-in-the-wall’s humble expansion. When I say humble, I do mean very humble. Mila’s used to have three (3) four-tops only on their front porch, and now they have more than enough table space to feed a good fifty to sixty pork-striken hungry people. On a side note, although expansion to a Manila branch would have been appreciated by zealous loyal customers like our family, who would dare take a one and a half hour trip out of Manila for our Mila’s fix, I am just relieved that Mila has chosen to keep the restaurant within Angeles City, shunning any plans of becoming an ugly monster franchise. At least I hope they don’t do the Bigger becoming worse business model. Besides it IS worth the trip. Believe me.
Though the restaurant is named after their Tokwa’t Baboy, which is another family favorite, I think that their most famous dish is the sizzling sisig. Mila’s does serve sizzling sisig like no other. I believe that this is the Holy Grail of sisigs in the entire world. They may have not been the original, but they certainly serve the best sisig ever. My taste buds have not encountered another sisig to match theirs.
Imagine: a mountain of crispy, crunchy bits of pork cheeks, ears, snout marinated in vinegar (if I tasted it correctly) heady with the perfume of finely chopped red onions atop a scorching sizzling plate. Not pork or chicken innards incorporated in this recipe, so fear no malansa (fishy stench…but not quite. I meant the stench from cooking animal innards) after taste. This is pure pork head goodness. Sounds sinfully oily doesn’t it? Not at all. The vinegar marinade seemed to have reduced the fatty taste of the pork bits. Best eaten with a cup (or two) of steamed white rice and / or an ice-cold bottle of San Miguel Beer Pale Pilsen / Coca-cola. I shiver with giddiness at the mere thought of it…Sigh. This I definitely miss so bad.
Of course, I go back to Mila’s actual Tokwa’t Baboy. Though we did not order this in our last visit, this is also a staple order whenever we get the chance to scoot over to Angeles City, Pampanga. It is not like your ordinary Tokwa’t Baboy. It does have your main ingredients of pigs ears, fried puffed tofu pillows and the soy-vinegar sauce. But Mila’s manages to elevate this humble streetside dish by sprinkling some cilantro, adding another layer of flavor and a splash of color to this otherwise boring monochromatic brown dish. Yes, a carinderia (roadside cafeteria / eatery) serves gourmet Tokwa’t Baboy. Booyah!
Each family member has their own favorite, though the sisig and the tokwa’t baboy have the general consensus. My mom’s favorite is their lechon kawali (crispy pan-fried pork belly): glistening nuggets of pork belly with blistered crispy skin-on dipped in your choice of liver sauce or chili-vinegar.
On the other hand, my father’s favorite is the chicharon bulaklak (pork intestine cracklings – though I’ve researched that it is pork mesentery and not intestine per se. Is it?): pork innards that bloom like my favorite golden sunflower once they hit the scalding, bubbling oil. Mila’s does its pork magic by retaining the chicharon’s crispiness despite being lapsed for a couple of hours. Chicharon bulaklak does tend to go chewy on you after a few hours.
On top of those, there are still more porkilicious treats worth trying out at Mila’s like their BBQ pork tocino (BBQed cured pork), inihaw na tenga (grilled pork ears), pork steak, Isaw (grilled pork intestine) and the classic chicharon (pork skin rind). They really do maximize almost every part of the piggy!
This, my friends, is my magical place of porky deliciousness. And yes, my heart did stop just now recounting my last beloved memory of my family’s celebration of my 30th birthday at Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy in Angeles City, Pampanga. *Faint*
Delirious about delicious,
P.S. Mila’s Sisig is #7 of 30. Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy #8 of 30. Inihaw na Tenga is #9 of 30. I’m way behind my project 30! Contemplating if I should still continue…should I?
P.P.S. Due to insistent public demand, here are the directions to get yourselves to the promised land of sisig and all porky treats (Note that directions start on McArthur Highway. I need help to fill in the blanks if starting point is NLEX):
- Spot a Honda Motorcycle store along McArthur Highway (the highway passing through Angeles City and San Fernando)
- Turn into the street beside the Honda Motorcycle store. There is an arch that reads: Brgy. Sto Domingo. So if you see this, you are on the right track baby.
- Go straight until you reach a dead end.
- Turn right. Then look to the right, on the corner is the Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy.
P.P.P.S. Do not fail to bring extra moolah for take away. We always manage to bring home a few orders since we travelled so far for the sisig fix. Their sisig is actually better with age (like wine? Hehehe!)…as if you can resist it eh? But if you come to buy an order or two or three, make sure you store the sisig in the freezer. Then reheat on a pan or in the oven toaster Oh, and do expect your car to reek of onion perfume.