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A bowl of pork and vegetable sinigang on a brown cloth napkin

How to Cook Sinigang With Unique Local Flavors

Figuring out how to cook sinigang, adobo, and a pot of white rice is a rite of passage for many Pinoys. They are all staples in every household, where kids master a treasured family recipe even before reaching puberty. At its most basic, sinigang is a simple soup characterized by a blend of sour and savory flavors.

But because of the broth’s versatility, there are multiple ways to prepare this well-loved ulam. Most variations result from using ingredients abundant in a particular region. These differences make discovering local kinds of sinigang a fulfilling pursuit. If you’re looking for new ways to make the dish, you can start with these options.

Sinigang sa Miso

A teaspoon of miso paste scooped from a small saucer

Across the country, this sinigang variation is an easy favorite. The traditional soybean seasoning from Japan lends dishes a salty umami taste. You can buy ready packs of miso paste from supermarkets, although you only need a small amount to boost the flavor of your soup. Most sinigang sa miso recipes combine the paste with tamarind extract and feature fish as its main protein.

Sinigang sa Bayabas

A wooden bowl containing pieces of guava fruit

Want to learn how to cook sinigang na bangus, baboy, or beef ribs with guava as its souring agent? Using the fruit in a savory application may seem intimidating, but it can be just as easy as with other sinigang varieties. Make sure you choose ripe bayabas with a bright pink flesh and that distinct smell. Peel the fruit first, slice the flesh, and discard the seeds. Before adding it to your soup, you can mash the guava meat with salt to remove its bitterness. Simmer and cook until almost dissolved into your broth.

Sinigang sa Gabi

Cut-up gabi root on a wooden countertop

Ilocano papaitan is a regional adaptation of sinigang. Its original recipe uses goat offal, infamous for its bitter taste. Balance this out by combining gabi and sinigang mix for your base. The root crop can naturally thicken soups and lend the dish a smoother consistency.

Sinigang sa Sampalok

A bowl filled with tamarind fruit on a piece of brown woven fabric

Kadios, Baboy, and Langka is an Ilonggo favorite that takes inspiration from classic sinigang. Traditional KBL recipes use batuan, a fruit native to the Visayan region. Unfortunately, sourcing this souring agent outside Negros can be challenging. But if you still want to make your own KBL at home, try using Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok Mix.

Sinigang sa Kamias

A heap of kamias in a shallow wooden container

Sinanglaw is Vigan's interpretation of sinigang. Often compared to papaitan, sinanglaw recipes use beef instead of goat. A bowl will contain tripe, tendons, brisket cubes, and beef bile. To counter the bitterness of these beef parts, cooks add ginger, red chilies, and kamias as a souring agent.

Sinigang sa Mangga

Whole green mangoes next to a small round tray containing sliced mango strips

Mangoes grow in abundance in the Philippines. Take advantage of this bounty and use it in your next sinigang. One unripe mango can easily take the place of sampalok. Try it in this summer-fresh sinigang recipe featuring pork ribs. But you can also use it with beef, salmon, or shrimp.

Sinigang sa Calamansi

A handful of calamansi spilling out of a glass container on a black surface

Paklay is a regional sinigang variant from Mindanao. Distinct because of its julienned ingredients, the dish features a combination of cow and pork innards, bamboo shoots, and pineapple bits. Although some recipes rely on the pineapple to flavor the paklay, calamansi juice works even better. If you want to skip the innards, you can try a pork belly paklay recipe instead.

Sinigang sa Katmon

Unpeeled katmon fruits on a wooden table

In Aurora province, katmon fruit is the preferred pangsigang. The fruit contains an edible fleshy green pulp that tastes like sour apples. Locals like to peel the fruit and boil it whole to sour their sinigang recipe. Aside from adding it to stews, katmon fruit tastes amazing when pickled or cooked into a jam.

Sinigang sa Rattan

A bunch of rattan fruits on a wooden countertop

Unripe littuka or rattan is the choice pangpaasim in Nueva Ecija. You only need a cup of it for every kilo of meat. Sourcing it also won't be difficult as it's already available in some supermarkets. Prepare it as you would sampalok. Start by boiling the fruit and then mashing it. Pass the pulp and juice through a strainer before adding them to your sinigang broth.

Sinigang sa Alibangbang

A close-up photo of bright green alibangbang leaves on a tree

It's unclear who invented sinigang with alibangbang leaves as a souring feature. Alibangbang or butterfly leaves come from a tree native to the Philippines. Unlike with most souring ingredients, adding these leaves is done only towards the end of your cooking process. Alibangbang has a mild tangy flavor that compliments chicken meat perfectly.

You can try more than one way to make everyone's favorite sour stew. Don't be afraid of new recipes and experiment with unique ingredients to find your favorite combinations. Hopefully, this list helps you discover how to cook sinigang based on techniques from around the country. Happy exploring!

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