LaMesa Philippine Cuisine
Le Mesa has a section on its menu called “not for the faint-hearted”. If you’re squeamish about offal, blood, intensely sour foods and fatty dishes, this isn’t for you. For everyone else, this is how to acquaint yourself with pulutan, a term that translates roughly to “pick up”, or “drinking food”.
The most popular order is beer, particularly the easy-drinking San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Once you’ve had a few cold, bitter sips you’ll understand why it work so well with the pulutan.
Pata is by far the most famous meal. It is pork hock boiled with vegetables, then dried and deep-fried. The meat is very tender and the skin is crisp. Pata, along with sisig (a sizzling plate of pig’s head parts, liver, onions, chilli and egg), are the two dishes found in almost any Filipino establishment in Sydney. La Mesa has a few rare dishes, too, namely, dinuguan, sitsarong isaw, tokwa’t baboy and kilawin.
The first is a black soup made from pig’s blood, intestines and garlic. It’s like liquified black pudding, but less intense thanks to a heavy dose of vinegar. Sitsarong isaw (intestines well disguised in a thick, crisp, tempura-like batter) and tokwa’t baboy (deep-fried tofu and stewed pork belly) are the equivalent of America’s chips and fried meat. Kilawin is raw basa fish marinated in vinegar, pepper and lemon, served with fresh cucumber, onion, chilli and more vinegar.