Ten years have passed since Gil Payumo and Evan Kidera launched the first Señor Sisig food truck, a pioneer in the Bay Area’s Filipino-American food scene whose fusion sisig burritos and tacos quickly became so popular that the truck routinely had the longest line at any street food festival where it appeared.
The brand has grown enough over the past decade that it hardly seems like news that it’s rolling out another new truck this weekend, except that the newest addition is unlike all the others: When it debuts this Saturday at 701 Valencia Street in the Mission, Señor Sisig Vegano will be the company’s first all-vegan food truck. And unlike restaurants that give a single tofu or Impossible meat option and call it a day, Vegano will offer the full slate of Señor Sisig’s usual offerings, from the burritos to the cheese-topped loaded fries, and a veganized version of every single meat option — a near-perfect simulacrum of the pork, the chicken, the tocino, and the longanisa chorizo.
“Our goal was to replicate as close as possible the flavors, the textures, the experience, the comfort — the whole satisfaction of when you bite into a Señor Sisig burrito,” Kidera says.
According to Kidera, the new truck has its roots in his own personal history with meatless eating. He was vegetarian for eight years prior to launching the first Señor Sisig truck — and, in fact, never even tasted most of the truck’s offerings until he started eating meat again, almost out of necessity, a few months later. That’s why Señor Sisig has always had a tofu option for all its dishes, Kidera says. And because Kidera never ate much dairy, he also spent a lot of time experimenting with different brands of vegan sour creams until he came up with a dairy-free version of Señor Sisig’s popular cilantro cream sauce he was happy with.
The Vegano truck itself has been in the works for about a year, Kidera says — a response to the growing number of customers who would ask for more vegan options at Señor Sisig’s trucks and its restaurant in the Mission. It’s also part of a wave of new vegan Filipino food businesses over the past several years — a movement that has included the catering company (and former food truck) No Worries, with which Señor Sisig has collaborated in the past, and the Nick’s mini-chain, which closed recently and is now operating as a delivery-focused online business called Chef Reina.
None of those vegan Filipino spots had the kind of huge following that Señor Sisig has, however. And while it might have been a safer bet to simply add a few more vegan options to the existing trucks, Kidera says there was something really appealing about the idea of a separate truck that veganized Señor Sisig’s entire catalogue of dishes — creating a meatless analogue to every single item. Kidera couldn’t think of any other established food brand that had gone to those lengths.
“If McDonald’s did a whole vegan menu, wouldn’t that be cool?” he says. “You could go there; you wouldn’t have to think about [what you could order].”
Kidera says Vegano sources its vegan meats and dairy products from a variety of purveyors, and then it marinates them using more or less the same process as for the standard meat versions, tweaking the recipe to get the flavors and textures just right. His personal favorites are the vegan chicken and longanisa chorizo, which he says work especially well on a classic Señor Burrito. Eventually, the truck will also offer occasional specials — the Taco Bell–inspired Crunch-a-dilla, for instance, and the crispy mushroom quesatacos, which they ran as a vegan special at the restaurant. The latter was such a hit, Kidera says, that Instagram commenters are already clamoring for them to be added to Vegano’s regular menu.
During its initial launch period, the Señor Sisig Vegano truck will be stationed at 701 Valencia Street, in the parking lot for Cherin’s Appliances, on Saturdays 2–8 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Eventually, the truck will set up at different Bay Area locations all throughout the week. See the initial menu below: