This is the story behind the all-time “sarsa” favorite, Mang Tomas.
Eating lechon or any fried dish like fried chicken, pork chop, and other food is not complete without a condiment or sauce. And speaking of sauce, there is one product that top the list, Mang Tomas. Sarsa is a Filipino term for the roast pork dressing and many restaurants and lechon houses have their own recipe.
According to Pepper, Mang Tomas is made with crushed pork liver, water, sugar, vinegar, breadcrumbs, and a secret blend of spices. But aside from being the most versatile condiment in the Philippines, some also consume it with rice. In the country, it is not only considered a sauce but also a “dish”.
It all started with the man named Tomas de los Reyes, a meat vendor from the province known for the booming lechon industry back in the 1950s. He began selling his business outside his house, in front of La Loma Cockpit Arena in Quezon City.
After cockfighting, the owners of the winning cocks would come at Mang Tomas’s stall to buy slabs of pork meat to be roasted for their celebratory pulutan. He used the opportunity to sell his pre-roasted pork or lechon. His customers grew and eventually funding the first ever lechon shop in La Loma in 1954.
Mang Tomas then owned as piggery and became a supplier of lechon in the Malacañang Palace every time there is an event. One of his avid customers is the late former Ramon Magsaysay. During that time, Mang Tomas created a “sarsa” to be a condiment for his lechon. Many love his sauce until it was placed in a bottle and sell it as one of his products.
Mang Tomas’ relatives sold the rights of the “sarsa” to the owner of “The Aristocrats” restaurant. In 1991, the Southeast Asia Food, Inc. bought it and own up to this day.