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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Filipino Taco Truck Hapa SF Lives Up to the Hype

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 10:33 AM

click to enlarge Hapa's lumpia were the best we've tasted here. - JUN BELEN
  • Jun Belen
  • Hapa's lumpia were the best we've tasted here.
It's been a couple of weeks since chef William Pilz launched Hapa SF, his mobile Filipino food venture. Pilz is quickly getting his bearings around the newly rehabbed, burgundy-colored taco-truck kitchen, as Hapa's following seems to multiply every week. We headed down to Brisbane yesterday for a taste of Hapa SF's modern organic Filipino lunch.

The lunch menu consists of modern innovations of four basic Filipino classic dishes: lumpia, pancit, adobo, and sisig. The dish that clearly stands out is Pilz's take on the beloved sisig ($8), which was delightfully refined. Served over steamed jasmine rice and garnished with bright green spring onions, the handsome chopped pieces of pork shoulder, cheeks, and jowls seasoned with lime and soy were amazing flavor bombs. The dish veers a little from tradition by adding pork shoulder, which definitely gives it more meat, and makes it perhaps more appealing to those too squeamish to try a purely pig's head dish. We particularly loved the crispy chicharron ribbons made from pig's ears, but they left us craving more delicious crispiness.

The lumpia ($7) were probably the best we have ever tasted here. The rolls of juicy ground Long and Bailey pork and crunchy carrots and water chestnuts were perfectly seasoned and fried. Dipped in the amazing sweet-and-sour mango-pineapple sauce with carrots, ginger, and spicy red Fresno peppers and they were even better, with flavors as vibrant as the colors of the sauce.

click to enlarge Hapa's meaty sisig had the chicharron crunch of fried pig's ears. - JUN BELEN
  • Jun Belen
  • Hapa's meaty sisig had the chicharron crunch of fried pig's ears.
Pilz's chicken adobo banh mi sandwich ($10), made with tender adobo-marinated chicken breast, crunchy strands of pickled jicama and carrots, and salsa verde was likewise flavorful. However, despite its perfectly cooked rice noodles, Florida rock shrimp, and farm-fresh vegetables, we thought the pancit ($11) had a pretty strong lemon flavor. Otherwise, Pilz's modern Filipino lunch lived up to its promise of innovation.

We'll patiently anticipate Hapa SF's debut in San Francisco (promised for some unspecified future date). For now, we'll have to take off for lunch a little earlier than usual and drive over to Brisbane.

Hapa SF 7000 Marina (at Sierra Point Parkway), Brisbane; get Twitter updates at @Hapasf

Read more from Jun Belen at Jun-Blog. Follow us on Twitter at @SFoodie

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Jun Belen

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