Filipino cuisine is a treasure trove of mouthwatering flavors, and at the heart of it all lies a humble yet glorious ingredient: pork belly.
From sizzling street food stalls to family gatherings, pork belly dishes are the real stars of the show, stealing the hearts and taste buds of anyone who crosses their path.
In this article, we’re traveling to the Philippines from the comfort of our own kitchen. No fancy culinary school degrees are needed here, just a good ol’ passion for good food and a pinch of curiosity.
We’ll be dishing out some of the tastiest, no-frills recipes that grace Filipino dinner tables, giving you a taste of the everyday magic that happens in Filipino kitchens.
From the crispy and satisfying lechon kawali to the sweet and savory pork hamonado, we’ll dig into what makes each dish special.
And since no Filipino meal is complete without a sidekick, we’ll serve you up some advice on what to pair with these porky delights.
So, get your apron on, and let’s check out some of the best Filipino pork belly dishes.
Crispy Pork Belly
Lechon kawali is a crispy pork belly dish. It involves deep-frying seasoned pork belly until it’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It’s often served with a side of liver sauce or vinegar dipping sauce.
Cooking Tip: To achieve the crispiest skin, make sure to thoroughly pat the pork belly dry before frying. Also, be sure to use a deep-fry thermometer to maintain the oil temperature.
Although the use of this tool isn’t particularly traditional, it’s vital for newbies so you don’t accidentally get food poisoning.
Pairing Dish: Serve this lechon kawali with a side of atchara (pickled green papaya) and steamed rice for a complete meal.
This next dish features succulent, crispy slices of pork belly served with tangy and refreshing pickled cucumbers. The combination of the rich pork belly and the zesty pickles creates a delightful contrast in flavors.
Cooking Tip: Marinate the pork belly for a few hours to enhance its flavor, and then grill the pork until it’s slightly charred and juicy.
Pairing Dish: This dish pairs well with garlic fried rice and a side of soy-vinegar dipping sauce.
Pork belly liempo is a popular Filipino grilled dish. Marinated pork belly is grilled to perfection, resulting in a smoky and savory flavor.
It’s typically served with a dipping sauce, rice, and sometimes, a side salad.
Cooking Tip: This pork belly liempo can be marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and calamansi (Filipino lime( juice for a delicious flavor.
Pairing Dish: Enjoy pork belly liempo with a side of atchara and freshly cooked jasmine rice.
Pork Belly Stews And Sauces
Our first pork belly stew recipe is a variation of the classic Filipino adobo. It includes tender chunks of pork belly simmered in a flavorful mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices, creating a savory and slightly tangy dish.
Cooking Tip: Let the pork belly simmer in the adobo sauce until it’s fork-tender, absorbing all of the flavors.
Pairing Dish: Serve the pork belly adobo with a side of steamed white rice and a hard-boiled egg.
5. Pork Humba
Pork Humba is a sweet and savory stew made from pork belly, often simmered in soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and various spices.
It’s characterized by its rich and tender meat, often garnished with banana blossoms.
Cooking Tip: Slow cooking is key for tender pork in Humba. Allow the pork belly to simmer until it’s soft and the sauce thickens.
Pairing Dish: Enjoy pork humba with jasmine rice and slices of ripe banana.
Our next dish is pork belly asado, which is a delicious, sweet and savory dish. The pork is stewed in a flavorful sauce, which results in tender and flavorful slices of pork belly.
But the best part is the sauce, which is characteristically tangy and salty.
Cooking Tip: Use a mix of soy sauce and sugar to create a sweet and savory sauce. Simmer the pork belly until it’s tender.
Pairing Dish: Serve the pork belly asado with steamed buns for a delightful pork belly sandwich.
Adobong Sitaw is a vegetable dish that includes pork belly and string beans.
The pork belly is typically used to add richness to the dish. It’s cooked with the typical soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices, which pair wonderfully with the sweet, crispy flavors of the string beans.
Cooking Tip: Use a mix of pork belly and string beans for a satisfying balance. Stir-fry the pork and string beans in the adobo sauce.
Pairing Dish: Pair adobong sitaw with steamed rice and a side of salted egg.
This next recipe is a sweet and savory pork dish, which is a classic of Filipino food.
Pork belly is simmered in a sweet, tangy, pineapple-based sauce, creating a delightful blend of flavors. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and tangy.
Cooking Tip: You can balance the sweetness with a bit of salt and vinegar to create a harmonious sauce.
Pairing Dish: Serve pork hamonado with garlic fried rice and steamed vegetables.
Pork Belly Roasts
Binagoongang baboy is a Filipino pork dish that features pork belly cooked with shrimp paste (bagoong).
The result is a unique combination of salty and savory flavors.
Cooking Tip: Rinse and soak the bagoong (shrimp paste) before using it to reduce its saltiness.
Pairing Dish: Pair binagoongang baboy with steamed jasmine rice and sauteed water spinach (kangkong).
Our next recipe is a real treat. It involves rolling seasoned pork belly and roasting it to perfection.
The result is a crispy, flavorful pork belly roll, often served with liver sauce.
Cooking Tip: Roll the seasoned pork belly tightly and secure it with kitchen twine to maintain its shape during roasting.
Pairing Dish: Serve this pork belly lechon roll with a mango salsa and garlic sauce.
11. Lechon Sa Hurno
Lechon Sa Hurno is an oven-roasted pork dish, similar to traditional lechon, but cooked in an oven.
It results in a flavorful and crispy skin, making it a favorite for special occasions.
Cooking Tip: Baste the pork belly frequently during roasting to keep it juicy and ensure a crispy skin.
Pairing Dish: Pair lechon sa hurno with puto (steamed rice cakes) and liver sauce.
Pinakupsan is a Filipino dish that involves braising pork belly in coconut milk with vegetables and spices. It’s a flavorful and slightly creamy stew that’s absolutely beloved in Filipino cuisine.
Cooking Tip: Slow simmer the pork belly in coconut milk until it’s tender and the sauce is thick.
Pairing Dish: Enjoy this pinakupsan with steamed rice and a side of sauteed bok choy.
In the Philippines, food isn’t just sustenance; it’s a love language, a celebration, and a connection to one’s roots.
Our journey through the world of Filipino pork belly dishes has been nothing short of amazing. We’ve uncovered the secrets of making these dishes, and along the way, we’ve discovered the heart and soul of Filipino cuisine.
From the sizzle of lechon kawali to the comforting embrace of pork humba, these dishes reflect the Filipino spirit, where resilience and resourcefulness meet creativity and community.
Whether you’re cooking for a family gathering, a special occasion, or just a weeknight dinner, these recipes are a testament to the Filipino art of turning humble ingredients into something extraordinary.
We encourage you to keep the spirit of Filipino cooking alive in your own kitchen. Share these dishes with loved ones, continue experiments, and savor the joy of creating a bit of Filipino magic on your plate.
Remember, in the world of Filipino cuisine, every meal is a celebration, and every dish tells a story.
So, fire up the stove, and let these Filipino pork belly dishes continue to warm your heart.
Ready for more? Try these pork hock recipes.
Boiling your pork belly prior to frying or roasting helps to render out some of the fat. This leaves you with a more heart and gut-friendly meal that will still leave you satisfied.
The reason that pork belly is often so tender is because of the cooking methods typically used to prepare it. Traditionally, pork belly is either slow-cooked or otherwise allowed to cook for a long time. This allows the fat to render into meat, resulting in moist and tender flesh.
The 12 Best Filipino Pork Belly RecipesCourse: Other Recipes
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