A glass of milk with a side of cookies...what could be better? In this new series, we asked five of California’s most celebrated up-and-coming chefs to find out. It turns out that milk pairs well with everything from Filipino-Mexican tacos to South African street fare to artisan desserts. The results are as surprising as they are delicious.

Eight years ago, Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo were baffled by the lack of street food options in San Francisco. Realizing that Filipino food was underrepresented in the Bay Area, the pair quit their jobs to open Señor Sisig — the Filipino answer to the ubiquitous taco truck — serving their namesake classic pork dish wrapped in a tortilla.

Their famous sisig taco contains a mound of pork shoulder that’s been marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, chili peppers, and lemon juice for 48 hours before it’s charbroiled, hand-chopped, and lapped in sisig sauce.

Then onto a corn tortilla it goes, complete with diced onion, fresh jalapeño, and cilantro cream sauce.

To drink? The Señor Sisig guys are all about milk on the side: “If you like the spicy flavor, I think it’s a really good beverage to just calm everything down,” says Payumo. His advice stacks up: Chilies are loaded with capsaicin oil, which sets off a fire alarm on your tongue. The fat-loving casein in milk binds to the spicy oil and literally washes it away.

Photography by Maren Caruso