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August 20, 2007


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Hey BL, I found your blog through a link from Tastespotting (or was it Slashfood?) to your bananas foster post. Anyway, I'm enjoying your blog. Pinakbet is also one of my favorite dishes. For me it has to have okra and kabocha. When my husband and I make it we start by rendering some of the pork fat and then sauteing some garlic in the fat before adding the other vegetables. Yum!

I love this post! LOVE IT! Especially this part:

"...I spooned some of my newly made Pinakbet over some rice and had a bite.

And another bite.

And another.

Holy crap, I made Pinakbet!"

I too love pinakbet. And I'm not even pinoy!

I will probably never make Pinakbet since I hate bitter melon, but I did enjoy your post. Nice RZA reference btw. Wu-Tang!

bleh...not a fan of pinakbet...

i showed my baby sister this post and she said, "OMG!!! I LOVE THAT STUFF! that's all we ate in California [while staying with relatives]!"

i tried eating bitter melon again when my mom put it in her paksiw na bangus...i loved the bangus (except painstakingly picking out bone after bone after bone) but i still can't stomach bitter melon...i think my mother lies when she says that i loved it as a child.

in other non-food-related news, have you heard of www.happyslip.com? it's a Filipina-American chick making skits of her family but she performs all the characters...even my mom got a kick out of it!

Hi Fran, thanks for stopping by. Mmmmm. Garlic and pork fat. I'm gonna have to include that step in my next attempt at Pinakbet.

Thanks Elmo! You are slowly convincing me that you have the best taste in all the land.

Teddy, I am very, very impressed that you caught that. I didn't think anyone on the planet would catch that RZA gem.

Hi Janice. Yeah, I figured there would be some pinakbet haters;) And I had never heard of Happy Slip before you mentioned her. I went over to her site and became an instant fan. I'm adding her to my blogroll NOW. Great find Janice, thanks for that!

Hi there! Great blog by the way! Pinakbet is one of my favorite dishes!I don't make it too often because my husband doesn't like bittermelon, eggplant or okra!

Anyways, loved your post on the ube (very Prince!) - so much so that I plan to make it really soon for the first time! Keep up the great posts!

Kenny G is the antiChrist

Dad: Goddamn it! Can't you make your own!

Yup - it's funny, all the Filipino guys I know (most of my brothers, their friends, my dad, myself) know how to cook something well - we could never leave the house until we knew how to make a decent pot of rice without the aid of a rice cooker. Was this your case? And I'm still amazed how many non-Asians are astounded by the taste of well-cooked rice...

And pinakbet - I'm half Ilokano (southern Ilokano, to be exact - my dad and that side of the family pronounce their "e"'s as "euhhhh") and I really like this dish. I don't like too much liquid, though.

I so know what you mean...that moment when you realized you have made, with your own two hands, that Filipino dish that you've loved but had only decided to make now...it's magic! :) Your pinakbet adventure was a wonderful read! Inspiring :)

I also learned making pinakbet watching my mom cook it but never tried making it until last year, although I used the recipe from the cookbook of Via Mare restaurant owner Glenda Baretto. I didn't know there are several versions of pinakbet depending on the region.

BTW, I loved the comparison of the first attempt to the dreadful KennyG!:D

I think Kenny G's Christmas albums are nice. Do you hate Christmas? I'll bet you do!

There you go adding the bittermelon again. Ack!

I never really learned to cook from my mom b/c she's always telling me to add a bit of this and a bit of that. Yeah, that's for the precise directions!

I'm seriously convinced that the secret is in the torn tomatoes :D I always tear me up some tomatoes whenever I make adobo, sinigang, pinakbet, etc. I also add shrimp to my pinakbet. I think Filipinos are the masters of partnering pork and seafood in our cuisine :) Always such a harmonious concoction!

Like you, pinakbet is one of those dishes I take for granted that my mom or the cook will always make for me so I haven't bothered learnin to make it on my own. I did attempt a couple of times in London,using the Nora Daza cookbook, but they were not full fledged versions, just okra, squash and other veggies with bagoong and patis. BTW, did your have bagoong? The addition of the chicharon sounds perfect! I can just imagine the flavor it imparts on the whole thing. Entertaining post as usual, Marvin. :)

You need bagoong for your pinakbet. I don't know if I agree with your definition of chicharon as bagnet, but while travelling through ilocos (norte and sur) this summer, I ate a lot of pinakbet with tons of bagnet incorporated into the dish. My nanny is from Ilocos norte, so I grew up eating a lot of pinakbet, it's my favorite pinoy stew. I normally skipped the ampalaya but it does give the sauce a necessary twist. My favorite parts were the okra, and the sauce full of bagoong spiciness.

caninecologne, there was a time when I thought I didn't like those veggies either. I finally came around though. And I hope my ube pancakes are not a bust if you do make them.

Hi Ed. I think I grew up the complete opposite of you. None of the men in my family really cook much. My dad is good on the grill though.

Thanks joey! I'm still surprised at how good it turned out. I really wasn't expecting much based on my first try.

Hi oggi, yes there are many versions, even within the same region there are many versions as each household will do something different.

Jago, I love Christmas, just as long as Mister G is not involved.

Dub C, bitter melon is delicious once you get used to it.

Krizia, I agree about the tomatoes. It never even occurred to me to use my hands.

Christine, I didn't use bagoong because neither my grandma nor my mom use it in pinakbet. They eat bagoong with many other things, just not in Pinakbet.

Hi Mila, my mother and grandmother are both Ilocano, so I'm pretty comfortable with their bagoong-free version of Pinakbet. Everyone will make this dish differently, which is part of the reason I didn't give an exact recipe.

Count me in as a pinakbet hater. ;-)

The Kenny G analogy is hilarious!

Another Pinakbet hater? Et tu, Katrina? ;)

hi, i just discovered your blog via 80breakfasts and am enjoying reading it. then i come across your pinakbet adventure which was posted exactly the same day as i posted mine! am new at blogging and it amazes me how many kindred spirits one finds on the net when it comes to food.

Hi maybahay. What a coincidence that we both post about pinakbet on the same day! Yours looks delicious!

My grandma always used to make this one dish with bitter melon and shrimp paste and it always made the house smell interesting for the next few days. But hey, memories right?

Love your work, keep posting!

Thanks mysterious happy face! I'm glad you like my writing.

you forgot the pounded ginger...

OMG! This post was so funny, I had tears in my eyes!!

hello marisa. I will try it with ginger next time I make pinakbet.

Hi Plane Ride! I'm glad you found it funny!

I, too, love my pinakbet and beg my Mom to make it every time she comes to visit. My husband and kids don't eat it so I freeze it in individual servings to eat whenever I get the craving. I don't like bittermelon but I know it is essential to the flavor of the pinakbet. For all you bittermelon haters, you might try blanching it separately and then adding it to the pinakbet when it's almost done. It diffuses some of the bitterness. Love the blog!

Your Kenny G comment was so hilarious. *L*

Congratulations on finding that soul! W0000t! I've never attempted to cook pinakbet but am now inspired by you. I'll try to follow your recipe! Let's see how it turns out.

Kenny G, stay away!!!

Thanks Mik. That's a great tip about the bittermelon!

Hi Toni. Making pinakbet is super easy, just adjust everything to your tastes and you should be fine.

I'm pure tagalog growing up in laguna but I love pinakbet, when I was in the service some of my friends are from Ilocos and they cook these often and now I tried to cook it and it turn out real good. Thanks a lot

hallo marvin!sarap naman nito,salamat for the recipe.

Now, I missed home. One tip I've heard from somebody regarding bitter melon, is to slice it then soak it with salt and then squeeze the juice out. It will remove some of the bitterness. Not sure how it would look with the pinakbet though.

oh. my. god.
i lub, lub, lub, LUB your blog!
so glad I found you!!

Thanks butch, I'm glad you liked the recipe.

Thanks sue.

Hi chris, I've heard the same tip before. But I like the taste of bittermelon so I don't mind the bitterness.

Hello mmmelisa. I'm glad you found me too, and I hope you visit often.

Thanks for your post about Pinakbet. It is MY favorite!! I am from a Tagalog family, but my mother raised us to savor the special occasions when we get to eat it. I never liked it too much as a child. It is a dish you have to have a set of adult taste buds. Please continue with your great work. Someday It will be served in mainstream fancy restaurants. I may be the one who does so.

Thanks for visiting my blog, JM. If someday you do serve this in a fancy restaurant, I hope I'm there to taste it.

found your pinakbet post from Joey's at 80 breakfast. I hadn't read this one before and thoroughly enjoyed reading about your pinakbet adventure.

"Kenny G of pinakbet" that made me LOL! :D

Thanks JMom. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Congrats on finding your soul in cooking and letting us know how to cok pinakbet. Your post is amusing. I found this video on how to cook Pinakbet on www.filipino-foods.com. Enjoy! :)

Great posting. My wife makes great pinakbet as well... she is Visayan and has slight different take. She uses pumpkin, okra, Chinese long beans, bitter melon, onion, garlic and tomatoes along with Philippine soy sauce. And you are right, no measurements needed, just soul and attitude.

Thanks for the link toninoname.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, james!

My Dad (from Ilocos Sur) gave me some Amplaya seeds about 20 years ago. I STILL have the original strain growing in my garden.

We grow, cook and enjoy our own Pinakbet here in Indiana! In a bumper year we also freeze it for winter use. Not as crunchy after the freezer but the taste is still there.

I like mine with bagoong (another acquired taste) but I often leave the eggplant out. For me the EP just gets all squishy and not much taste.

Thx for the blog and keep finding your soul.

Get DOWN with your BAD SELF!

I want some. God that looks so so so good!

"Just put it in the pot and cook it!" That is such a Filipino parent type of cooking comment. I once asked my mother how long it took to cook pinakbet and she replied, "you cook until it is finished." Yup, thoroughly obtuse but she was totally serious. This cooking experience reminds me of a really funny thing I read about an older Pinay teaching a younger one how to cook pinakbet. You can read the short story, "The Chicharon Widows" at

My dad was a pinakbet master. He made his own bagoong and grew all of his own vegetables. He also used the same technique of not disturbing the contents of the pot. To get the juices to reach the top layers, he would hold the pot by the side handles, lift up, and shake it up and down so as to force the liquid from the bottom layers onto the top layers.

I just discovered you today, and I am already a big fan!

OMG! Mouthwatering! Thanks to Tarcs for sending me your blog.

..wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.nag imaw ayta unay...mabisinakon!!!

Thanks, Marvin, for directing me to this post. This looks very delicious and I can see why this is your favorite dish in the entire world times infinity. Doesn't look difficult. Maybe I should give it a shot this weekend.

Amen to that! Sometimes with aramang, sometimes with pork, or shrimps, or ampalaya leaves...You must have that Ilocano "papaitan" gene ;) I know I do!

Awesome blog! I love love love love love pinakbet, too...and congratulations on finally making it! I can totally relate to you because my dad used to be the only one in my family who made it. Now that he's gone, I was lucky enough to continue making it for my family. Only difference is we make it with ginger and he used to always tell me..."Anak ko/Baruuk, neber neber stir...you shake de pot to plip de ingrejents!" Haha...I miss my dad!

So funny! I'm cooking some up now, hoping to channel some of my dad's cooking skill. I can so relate to the overly general cooking instructions. My attempt to cook chic. adobo in college with my dad's instructions included comments like: Me, "how much garlic?" Dad, "Enough." You can imagine how horribly that experiment went! I'm hungry, can't wait to try this.

Love your blog bro.! Fortunately for you, you didn't seemed to get raised by "strict" grandparents and Uncles. I remembered since I was 4 -5 yrs old getting forced to eat "guisadong ampalaya", kare-kare, dinuguan, paksiw with ampalaya & eggplant, various types of Sinigang w/kangkong leaves or any leafy vegetables when all I prefer to eat are fried chicken, lechon, pork barbeque and adobo. I hate vegetables like any other kids. But now, since I developed fondness of pinoy native vegetables, I craved them so much just like you do. Luckily, now they have all kinds Pinoy restaurants sprouting all over the US and no need for me to go through what you went through. LOL...but thanks for sharing it bro. and nice to hear that I'm not alone with the same experience. God Bless...

The chicharron you used in this recipe looks more like lechon kawali. Thanks for this non-recipe! I've been kinda scared to try making pinakbet because I know it will never turn out the way my mom makes it, but your guide has given me hope.

Magnifique as we say where I live (French-speaking Switzerland). A writer who cooks, how fun to read you, enthusiastic gourmet. SOLD on your pinakbet. May I point out that it's only in the Ilocos region that our chicharon is bagnet. Far far more delicious!

No Latino shops here...I'm going to add porc laquƩ from a Vietnamese shop instead of fried pork cracklings and see where that gets me.

Way to go! thank you, the pinakbet story was great!

just found this recipe while searching for ways to use up some celery. anyway, fatfreevegan tried something with pinakbet, but sounded like a fail, she posted a link to pham fatale, her site linked to you and i was sympathetic to your blog title. so, if pinakbet were made vegetarian, or, um, vegan, would it be better to fry up some tofu to add toward the end? i've been trying to change up some filipino recipes lately, and always struggle with switching out the meat. for pinakbet, i go with a vegetarian version of patis, and don't use eggplant because i am allergic to it. love ampalaya, though, wish someone would sell it NOT wrapped in plastic and styrofoam, ugh.

this is the way to do it! i don't use squash though, i use kamote. but all else yeah, at times i use patani or broad beans. lots of tomatoes crushed with my bare hands! naggimasem! yum!

Good Morning, Just read your blog. GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY, we may even be related (nee doubt it - but who knows). My nanang is from Ilocos and my tatang is from Tarlac, and I was born in Camiling, Tarlac. My fav foods are pinakbet, pinapaitan, dinardaraan, kilawen, liddeg, bisokol, etc., etc. and of course you have to eat with your hands to savor all these yammy pinoy foods. I can eat sinigang (all kinds), ummm Ilocano adobo - yammm. So long. From Woodbridge, VA.

OMG! You've got me cracking up as I make my own Pinakbet. My hubby found your blog on the interspace. He's like. "Hey Hurricane. I found someone else who loves pinakbet as much as you." I'm Hurricane coz of my name - Katrina. And for other reasons... I learned to make Pinakbet because I haven't found any good Pinoy restaurants near where I live. And I live in the Oakland/Berkeley area. Lots of gourmet foods. Nothing tho like homestyle Filipino food. So I got tired to going to SSF and learned. And yes, my mom's instructions were similar to your mom's. And like you, pinakbet IS my favorite food in the whole boondock!

Oh yummy pinakbet is the bomb!!! The smell makes me smile and think of my dad and lola!!

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