Yesterday in Brisbane, Pilz mounted a very quiet launch of Hapa SF, the Filipino mobile food company that, in a way, grew out of that dinner at Citizen Cake. By mid-May, Pilz plans to show up two to three lunchtimes a week in Brisbane (the same Walmart Connection Center lot that Curry Up Now and Sam's ChowderMobile roll into) in a used taco truck he scored in San Jose. Before long, he hopes to have an evening spot in San Francisco, with a second truck currently being pimped out with an all-new kitchen.
A talented chef, Pilz is starting out with five basics that, in their sourcing and execution, promise to be anything but. He'll have lumpia (ground Long and Bailey pork, fresh water chestnuts, spices he scores from Le Sanctuaire, and sweet-and-sour sauce made from seasonal fruit), organic chicken adobo, pancit with vegetables picked up at farmers' markets, a kind of banh mi filled with adobo-brined chicken breast, and sisig. Each item will ring up less than $10. Other dishes (kinilaw, sinigang) might come later.Pilz calls sisig his signature, a dish he says he worked out over eight months. He starts with pigs' heads he gets from Biagio Artisan Meats, makes a kind of guanciale from the jowls, uses meat from the cheeks, turns the ears into chicharron, seasons it with lime, shallots, and soy. "A lot of people try to Americanize it and keep the head out," Pilz says.
As for the name, Pilz says a former Japanese-American girlfriend inspired it. "Her cooking was half Japanese, half American ― I just always liked the name." And Pilz says he licensed it long before he heard about Richie Nakano's Hapa Ramen. Something tells us there's room in this town for more than one hapa.
Hapa SF 7000 Marina (at Sierra Point Parkway), Brisbane; get Twitter updates at @Hapasf