01 Nov2011

Think of this as the “ferrari” of pork rib sinigangs. I wrote a straightforward and simple recipe for pork rib sinigang a few years ago, here. But I was looking for a version I would be happy to serve in a restaurant, so I took the recipe apart and decided to ramp up the flavor. A side note on Cebuanos and almost fanatical desire for the lechon’s rib cage. Fights sometimes break out as folks in line monopolize the rib section, sometimes buying it all without mixing it with other body parts, leaving none for others in line. It is quite amusing, until the dagger looks emerge. There is a reason for the obsession. Cebuano (and other Visayan) lechons are always stuffed with aromatics and seasoning. So as the pig turns, the juices and flavors inside the pig baste the rib section, resulting in some of the most succulent and flavorful morsels of the lechon. However, a well-made lechon should have flavorful meat all over, with the exception of the thigh that is quite thick, but the flavor is less subtle there and balances out a portion of ribs and other cuts. And if you want a fright, the vast majority of commercial lechoneros these days almost certainly use a phenomenal amount of MSG to cut down on stuffing costs and work, so what swirls inside the stomach of the lechon is an MSG laden slushie that packs the ribs with MSG concentrated at junkie levels. Just remember that. Personally, I always ask for a mixture of cuts when ordering a kilo of lechon, and we try to serve it that way at the restaurant. This ensures that you get the fuller experience, and have meaty as well as bone-y sections. Folks who insist on just ribs get a much higher proportion of their order “in bones”, so the effective cost of the meat is higher. If you wish to feed a crowd well and more economically, you may want to move away from the obsession with “just ribs”…

Given that obsession, however, I thought it might be interesting to offer a pork rib sinigang for the rib-centric crowd. These large, meaty ribs are connected to the bone-in liempo that we use for our Zubuliempo and slow-cooked adobo. We insist on buying liempo bone in, and use the bones for this sinigang. To make, we start off with a 3 hour slow-cooked lechon pata broth, made with meaty trotters and legs of lechon simmered in water with onions, leeks, etc. on very low heat for 3+ hours. What results is a flavorful lechon reminiscent broth that is slightly colored from the caramelization on the lechon pieces. If you cool this and store in the fridge and skim off the fat from the surface the following day, you have a flavorful, less fatty broth as the beginnings of your soup. Then add the pork ribs and simmer until very soft, say 40-45 minutes, depending on size and amount of ribs. Add the freshly made sampalok puree or instant sinigang powder, the vegetables and serve hot, with lots of rice. Yum. One of my favorite dishes at the moment. Delicious, hearty, comforting, luxurious and economical all at the same time. :)



  1. Joseph (Vancouver) says:

    I’ve been using pork spareribs in my sinigang. I believe I got the idea from one of your posts. It’s really good. And to use the lechon ribs, it takes it several notches up. Another thing I’ve used in my sinigang is the Chinese roast pork feet. I buy them from the local Chinese barbq stores here for a dollar or two each. It is quite tasty too.

    Nov 1, 2011 | 9:08 am


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  3. Josephine says:

    Now that winter’s setting in I was thinking of making ‘enchaud perigourdine’ which is not as exotic as it sounds, just a big rib of pork loin, carefully cut from (but not off) the ribs, sliced down into an escalope and then pricked all over with slivers of fresh garlic and – the crucial ingredient – bits of black truffle. Tie back into rib shape with string. But it doesn’t have to be fresh, bankrupting type truffle. A small tin of so-called ‘truffle peelings’ will do, or even truffle infused oil which is the cheapest way to get a bit of truffle flavor at least according to my teen who will live on just mashed potatoes as long as he has this on them. The point of this long-winded commment is: I am going to make this next week and then sigang the leftover ribs to see (and taste) what happens! Sinigang na truffled pork – let’s see! Thanks again MM for a great idea. Always all the best.

    Nov 1, 2011 | 10:02 am

  4. Marketman says:

    Josephine, that sounds absolutely amazing. And the timing is so seasonal, up soon, a post on onglet with a truffled creamed spinach… :) Joseph, I am sure the chinese roast pork feet add tremendous flavor to the broth…

    Nov 1, 2011 | 10:13 am

  5. Girl golfing says:

    Guity. I am so guilty of being a lechon rib fanatic. I will wolf it down with all the garlic and onion leeks and aromatics cooked with it. Question, if you were to ever serve wine with your pork rib sinigang, what kind of wine would you pair it up with?

    Nov 1, 2011 | 10:39 am

  6. Marketman says:

    Girl golfing, I don’t think I would serve wine with sinigang, the sourness of the tamarind would battle with the wine, I think… But then again, I am not a wine expert…

    Nov 1, 2011 | 10:48 am

  7. rowena says:


    wiLL have to ask my husband to try this one…=)
    thank you

    Nov 1, 2011 | 11:09 am

  8. betty q. says:

    Remember that store in Granville Island that sells soup and stock? Maybe you could sell the frozen lechon stock as well. That way…people can come home to piping hot sinigang by throwing everything in the slow cooker except the vegetables.

    Nov 1, 2011 | 12:57 pm

  9. Eileen says:

    Wish you have a Zubuchon branch here in Manila, MM! This post made me hungry!

    Nov 1, 2011 | 2:06 pm

  10. millet says:

    sinigang on my next trip to Cebu!

    Nov 1, 2011 | 3:26 pm

  11. MP says:

    Yup, winter is early in our side of the world so this comes at the most opportune time. Although lechon is non-existent here, we can probably get some Chinese roast pork feet and try Joseph’s take on this sinigang… Ah the Friday ladies will be thrilled..

    MM, the color of your sinigang is a bit similar to that of Mamou’s…

    Girl golfing, my hubby who is a wine fanatic says Coke is THE perfect drink for sinigang :-)

    Nov 1, 2011 | 3:35 pm

  12. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    I think champagne, sparkling wine or prosecco will go well with this dish!!

    Nov 1, 2011 | 5:42 pm

  13. sister says:

    How about beer?

    Nov 1, 2011 | 7:04 pm

  14. rebecca says:

    That looks amazing. Sinigang is my favorite! My mom usually makes it with beef.

    Nov 1, 2011 | 8:20 pm

  15. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    @Sister….only if its San Miguel!!! hehehe

    Nov 1, 2011 | 9:02 pm

  16. Che says:

    Hi MM,

    I was wondering how to order zubuchon 2 weeks from now.
    Do you still airfreight to Manila?


    Nov 1, 2011 | 10:10 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    Hi Che, please call 032.236.5264 and look for Beverly, Eva or Roger for more information regarding airfreighted lechons to Manila. Thanks.

    Nov 1, 2011 | 10:21 pm

  18. ayla says:

    I love sinigang, I especially love leftover sinigang that’s at least a day old because the soup’s more concentrated and sour!

    Nov 1, 2011 | 10:41 pm

  19. betty q. says:

    MP…here depending on the barbecue master, sometimes the roast pork is humahalimuyak of chinese spices. So your broth will only have a hint of those spices like 5 spice, buy pork neck bones as well as the pata…blanch the neck bones in boiling water, drain, rinse and BROWN them really well in pork lard, remove the browned or seared bones, add some stock or water to deglaze the pan….return that liquid and browned neck bones, add the lechon pata you bought to the stock pot and continue simmering. Do not worry about the pork lard for once you refrigerate it, it will harden and you can remove it before putting your blanched ribs in or skim the fat if you cannot wait till the next day.

    But here is my version of lechon broth WITHOUT the lechon. Almost every time I get the chance to go to Vancouver, I buy CRISPY PATA from ALING ENING …in my own personal opinion makes the best CRISPY PATA (I AM NOT RELATED TO THEM NOR DO I WORK FOR THEM!). They chop the meat whether eat in or take out. The bone is left whole….so I freeze them and when I have enough, I make the BROTH….Believe me ladies, when I tell you that it tastes like LECHON BROTH. It also has the very light brownish tinge because they double fry it.

    Now an alternative to get the lechon taste if you cannot wait to save enough crispy pata bones….buy 1 crispy pata as well as pork neck bones. Brown the pork neck bones like up above comment and add the CRISPY PATA to the stock pot…PIKIT MATA! I know you will say SAYANG, Wisdom Tooth, that is why you do it PIKIT MATA!…you will have a very good lechon tasting broth as well!

    Nov 1, 2011 | 11:24 pm

  20. jack says:

    being a sinigang lover, i would like to try this variation

    Nov 2, 2011 | 1:00 am

  21. Ted says:

    hi BettyQ, but isn’t it better to just make Pata Tim with the Crispy Pata instead of making sinigang broth with it?

    Nov 2, 2011 | 8:32 am

  22. betty q. says:

    Hey, Ted…bakit ka biglang naglaho?!?

    Yah, man!….of course, much better but I am talking about the ready to eat at the turo-turo Crispy Pata (double fried!) which I am sometimes too lazy to cook. So to make the stock redolent of the lechon taste , the addition of the Crispy Pata plus the Crispy Pata bones I’ve saved up will just do the trick. Besides where can I get lechon na pihit like Zubuchon here? The Chinese lechon is just humahalimuyak of 5 spice!

    Ted, do you keep in touch with MC? Say hello to her for me please!

    Nov 2, 2011 | 8:56 am

  23. PITS, MANILA says:


    Nov 2, 2011 | 9:13 am

  24. ami says:

    I also prefer the ribs for lechon since the stuffings inside the rib cage make this part more flavorful that the other parts. Aside from ribs, my family also prefers the shoulders since this has less fat.
    My family uses ribs for sinigang and tinola all the time, and yes, up until I read Noli Me Tangere I always thought that tinola is made up of pork and not chicken.
    I don’t remember if you’ve tried this in your lechon experiments but I have tried lechon sinigang using left over lechon. The lechon meat still retained it lechon-ness despite sitting in the sinigang broth for hours.

    Nov 2, 2011 | 9:36 am

  25. Wisdom tooth says:

    Betty q, my family is a sinigang lover, kahit na anong sinigang. Your version with the crispy pata…PIKIT MATA ihulog sa stock pot pero hindi sayang dahil knowing my family, ISANG KISAP MATA lang ubos yung sinigang mo. Hahaha
    I will surely try this version…

    Nov 2, 2011 | 12:47 pm

  26. hitokirihoshi Jr. says:

    look pa lang , delicious na!

    Of all kinds of cooking pork, i least prefer lechon and fried pork. Then my favorite nga is sinigang and laga ( parang nababawasan kasi ang katabaan.hehe). So your recipe reminds me that ribs is not only for laga but also for sinigang.


    Nov 2, 2011 | 5:06 pm

  27. MP says:

    Hubby said: trust MM and Bettyq to come up with new ideas to liven up our table… like wisdom tooth, i will try the crispy pata sinigang for our friday lunch. I went to 2 chinese restos yesterday but they don’t have chinese roast pork! good thing I was able to buy some pata which i can use to make cripsy pata, then CP sinigang…ahhhh the joys of cooking and eating, made more exciting thanks to MM and bettyq.. can you imagine what will happen if the religious extremists raid our friday lunches and lock us up for enjoying an all-pork meal????

    Nov 2, 2011 | 7:10 pm

  28. giancarlo says:

    Wow, hope this makes the menu by the time I visit Cebu. Looking forward to finally eating at your restaurants!!!!! Yum yum.

    Nov 2, 2011 | 11:00 pm

  29. betty q. says:

    MP…do you have a bomb shelter? Ask hubby to have one constructed so you can enjoy your PORK meals without pakialameros!

    Nov 3, 2011 | 1:23 am

  30. ted says:

    @BettyQ, sorry have not gotten any email from MC. I think the last time she sent out her email to both of us was the last i’ve heard of her. Been busy with work as well so just now re-visiting MM’s site.

    Nov 3, 2011 | 8:14 am

  31. Lanie says:

    hi, what is lechon broth? thanks

    Oct 23, 2012 | 2:19 pm

  32. Marketman says:

    Lanie, take some lechon legs or feet and other lechon parts and simmer them in water with some onions peppercorns and some salt until you get a flavorful lechon broth. Actually, re-reading the post, the process for making the broth is described in the last paragraph in reasonable detail. Did you not bother to read it?

    Oct 23, 2012 | 4:45 pm


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