I was quite surprised to hear that Asian Noodles had closed, though on my last couple of visits there last year the food seemed to be a bit tired. Still, I had thought of this as an institution of sorts in National City. In fact, my first post on the place was way back in October of 2005! Even though I was sad to see Asian Noodles go, the name of the new place got me a bit excited......
I mean really....when you have both "Porky" and "Lechon" in your name.....
And when this fellow greets you at the door.....
The interior hasn't changed much since it was Asian Noodles, with just a steam table added.....
And while your porko-phile senses are usually pleasantly assaulted in many of these "turo-turo" shops, here it was basically....well, nada.
Still, noticing that they sold lechon by the pound ($10/lb), courtesy of our friend pictured above and had two types of sisig in trays...actually there's mention of a third, bangus (milkfish) sisig, but I didn't see it on my visit. Well, I thought I'd hit the promised land and ended up buying a pretty good amount of food starting with a half pound of the lechon.
Sadly, the lechon was suffering from steam table fatigue. Poor mister/Ms piggy above had given his very fleshly life for a sadly dry and bland dish. The skin was hard, though the lechon sauce was fairly decent.
Seeing that I was already ordering pork, I went with the Chicken Sisig and Pancit - a single item combo here is $6. And while it's not quite "Tita's sized" it was a good amount of food.
On the good side, this was nice and moist. Chicken Sisig can end up being quite dry. However, there just wasn't enough of a sour component nor heat and pungency(i.e. onions, which also adds a bit of a textural counter-point) for my taste. Even though I knew it wasn't short on salt, based on my thirst afterwards, I found this strangely bland. I mean really...where's the siling labuyo (bird chili)?
And while the pancit was perfectly cooked it also suffered from lack of flavor.
Still, I had the thought that perhaps this was just an off day and returned for more. This time I simply got a two item combo, passing on the pancit and a ghostly pale palabok, and going with just steamed rice with sisig and chicken adobo. The results were basically the same.
This was a tweener sisig, it didn't go far enough to be sisig Pampanga with the gamey pig head flavors and the chewy and gelatinous textures of ear and tongue. There was basically not enough crunch or porky goodness for this to be standard steam table lechon kawale sisig. Not enough onions, vinegar, and spice. Other than the Chinese sausage, you were pretty much left in a vast greasy wasteland.
The chicken adobo was better, but not by much.
It was on the bland side for my taste with not enough black pepper....
Maybe it's my fauly for expecting too much from a place with both "Porky" and "lechon" in its name. Too bad, because the woman working here is very nice and I so wanted that perfect sisig-a-licious meal. I try them out again in a couple of months, maybe things will be better then.
1430 E Plaza Blvd
National City, CA 91950