Eat it: Sisig @ Amer-Fil Foodmart in New Brunswick

This is what makes Jersey great: Stop into an unassuming strip mall storefront and have a no-frills culinary experience that transports you thousands of miles across the globe.

There are so many spots in NJ like Amer-Fil Foodmart in New Brunswick, and yet each is unique in the food culture they represent and the signature dishes they make. Now, maybe we’re just too enamored with finding hidden gems like Amer-Fil, and you might go, order from the daily buffet of hand-made Filipino dishes, eat it on a blue plastic tray in a little booth, maybe with a can of Coke, and go “meh.” But, we doubt it. The food is too good, the experience too unpretentious, to have qualms.

We’re not alone. Other people have found Amer-Fil, way down Easton Ave. away from downtown New Brunswick, and have sung its praises online:

“Before i went i didnt believe in god. Now I do”

“Neither war nor famine could relinquish my avid following of such an establishment.”

“If i had more stars to give, i would give it here.”

The lunch special includes rice and two dish options from the rotating lineup. There’s beef kalderata (a spicy beef stew), pancit malabon (pork, seafood (typically shrimp or crab) and rice noodles), lumpia (thin, taquito-like fried egg rolls with pork), turon (sweet, fried banana rolls), halo halo (a medley of sweet beans, condensed milk, fruit and shave ice), and much more.

We opted for a plate of skewered barbecue chicken (slightly sweet, slightly sour, and extremely tender) and a heaping portion of sisig, a phenomenal scramble of pork parts (typically face and belly), chicken liver, onion, chili and vinegar.

The meat used in the sisig carries intense umami flavor, and the final step of the preparation—crisping it all on the skillet—makes for a great texture on each bite. This is the house specialty at Amer-Fil, and the combination of light heat from the chilis, the savoriness of the meat and the well-apportioned vinegar makes for a bite of food that wins friends and influences others. You will think about this plate of food long after you consume it. All for under $10. Go here, now.