Never Heard Of It is a series of stories exploring Vancouver’s many informal hole-in-the-wall eateries. These are the places that don’t get much in the way of traditional media play as they tend to avoid the typical paths of PR, seldom fiddling over tweets, posting imagery to Instagram, or playing the Facebook game. Browse the Never Heard Of It archive here.
With those who dine on swine typically affixing their hungry gazes upon pork loin, shoulder and belly, local Filipino eatery Hapag Ihaw-Ihaw makes a good case for exploring some of the more overlooked cuts.
Inspired by inihaw (Filipino grilled meat), the owner of Hapag Ihaw-Ihaw opened his doors to share his love for the greatest hits of humble Filipino mainstays and BBQ. While the restaurant’s marinated pork skewers are nothing short of tasty, the crispy pata is where it’s at, beginning with long simmered trotters and hock in a brew of spices before being air dried and finished in a baptism of hot oil. The result is flavourful, fork-tender meat encased in a crispy, golden brown and blistered shell. Paired with a vinegar dipping sauce, the stuff is irresistible. The crispy pata comes in 3 sizes with the large being significant enough to feed the entire cast of Full House.
If that doesn’t fill your pork quota, I suggest digging into the sizzling sigsig; a celebration of braised up chopped pork jowl topped with crispy chicharron fresh from a hot iron griddle. Order it with an egg yolk and mix it through while it’s still sizzling for an unctuous dish made for rice.
Whether you’re dining on the head or the foot, Hapa Ihaw-Ihaw reps humble, delicious classics born of equal parts ingenuity and necessity. The little room and the sincerity of the service is great, but it’s really the less desirable, typically unwanted meat scraps (and the magic that is made of them) that will keep you coming back.
Hapag Ihaw-Ihaw | 5432 Victoria Dr. | 11:30am – 8:30pm | Closed Tuesdays and Closes early Sunday