08 May2012

A riff on a classic tokwa’t baboy… usually made with boiled pork and odd pig parts like ears, fried tofu and a soy vinaigrette. I was never a huge fan of this side dish, which Mrs. MM absolutely adores paired with pancit palabok for a hearty merienda cena. I didn’t dislike it, just didn’t go out of my way to look for it. More often than not, the dressing was sitting at the bottom of the bowl, the pork was lacking in flavor, and the tofu was bland and spongy. Surely, I thought, there must be a way to jazz this up. :)

My first issue with restaurant versions of this dish is that the tokwa blocks were fried in large pieces, and THEN cut into smaller cubes. The result is a fried texture to some edges and creamy pale uncooked look to other sides of each cube. I wanted a fried texture on all sides of each cube, so we pre-sliced the tokwa and fried the little cubes. The result was visually appealing, but I think the tokwa may have been a bit overcooked, and less spongy within. So maybe there’s a reason to frying it in large blocks. But we kept going…

I made a dressing with chinese rice vinegar (much less jarring than say the datu puti used in many restaurants), some kikkoman soy sauce, sliced shallots, slivered ginger and a touch of brown sugar. I also chopped one bird’s eye chili (siling labuyo) and added that to the dressing. Taste the dressing and understand you want it FLAVORFUL as the tofu is plentiful and bland.

To the dressing, I added the fried tofu, some chopped up lechon (we used frozen that was warmed up) and tossed. Keep tossing until the dressing seems almost nearly absorbed by the meat and the fried tofu. Taste and season with some salt and pepper if required. Make some additional dressing if necessary, but be careful NOT to overdress the dish. Serve at room temperature. For this dish, I fried up some lechon skin as a garnish, and sprinkled the dish with chopped chicharon and some spring onions.

This was extremely delicious, a really pleasant surprise. The pork, roasted rather than boiled had more flavor, and absorbed the dressing nicely. If I had had access, I would have chopped up a lechon ear to be even closer in spirit to the original dish. The tokwa absorbed the dressing as well and the balance of texture and flavor was very appetizing. Ate several spoonfuls of this along with lots of rice! One criticism that I would have for the dish is that it is a bit tan monochromatic… maybe some cilantro leaves would liven this up color and flavorwise… If you are a fan of tokwa’t baboy, I highly recommend this “jazzed up” version. :)



  1. andrea says:

    I’m not also a big fan of tokwa’t baboy, but this post makes me want to try this recipe!

    May 8, 2012 | 11:07 am


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  3. Ellen says:

    I’m coming to Cebu this weekend and this is another reason for hoarding Zubuchon!

    May 8, 2012 | 11:17 am

  4. APA says:

    Gourmet tokwa’t baboy, love it!!!!

    May 8, 2012 | 12:16 pm

  5. iya says:

    Omigoodness… Wow. Garlic rice and Coke na lang ang kulang. Yum!

    May 8, 2012 | 12:37 pm

  6. Kaya says:

    I wish there’s a LIKE button somewhere in this post :)

    May 8, 2012 | 1:12 pm

  7. Des lacson says:

    I will definitely try doing this version. Thanks,MM! :)

    May 8, 2012 | 1:53 pm

  8. Nadia says:

    Is this already part of the zubuchon menu? :) Dropping by there this friday and I would love to try it.

    May 8, 2012 | 2:02 pm

  9. Footloose says:

    Quite resourceful of the originator of this dish to put to good use pig ears that everybody knows cannot be made into silk purses anyway.

    May 8, 2012 | 2:22 pm

  10. passive.observer says:

    MM have you ever tried that resto somehwere in Ongpin , i think it was Smart pansiteria, they offer kangkong with lechon. Although, i do not know if that resto is still open. I remember it was along T. Pinpin st.

    May 8, 2012 | 5:06 pm

  11. Mandy says:

    I don’t like tokwa’t baboy because of boiled pork, but this version, I’d take any day. Looks really delicious! ;)

    May 8, 2012 | 5:19 pm

  12. gigie says:

    LIKE!…really like! :)

    May 8, 2012 | 6:29 pm

  13. bertN says:

    I’ll give your version of tokwa’t baboy a try. Mukhang mas masarap!

    May 8, 2012 | 7:11 pm

  14. denise says:

    I remember being taken to an eatery in Malabon by my grandparents and having goto and tokwa’t baboy…must have been 6 or 7 around that time :)

    MM.. will this be possibly added to the Zubuchon menu?

    May 8, 2012 | 9:01 pm

  15. natie says:

    looks very flavorfull!! would love the texture of this..

    May 8, 2012 | 9:45 pm

  16. Netoy says:

    Goto and tokwa’t baboy – heaven! I usually mix both together for a more flavorful goto.

    May 8, 2012 | 10:08 pm

  17. Lissa says:

    My oh my MM, I’ve been waiting for this dish to make a tandem appearance with Zubuchon lechon. When will it appear in the Zubuchon menu? :)

    May 8, 2012 | 11:55 pm

  18. josephine says:

    This post made me so hungry I had to have some. Not having any stray bits of lechon on hand, I went up the street to my local charcutier, Davoli, a wonderland of pork, and bought a whole braised and crumbed pig’s foot and a slab of pate of pigs’ ears in port wine jelly (silk purse from sow’s ear) . I cooked the tokwa a la MM but didn’t mix the pork in. The crumbed coating of one would have gone soggy, the jelly of the other melted, but side by side on the plate, the crunchy crust, succulent pigskin, gelatinous bits and pig ear scrunch, with the sharp salty sauce and the comforting tokwa was heaven. For those without a French charcutier nearby, the recipes for the feet and the ears are easily made from recipes in Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking, Jane Grigson’s Charcuterie, and Jennifer McLagan’s Odd Bits, all availables as ebooks from Amazon to anyone with a computer. Also all cheap and easy, but time consuming just because of tenderizing the meat. I too never liked the boiled pork in the original, even when lovingly made by our cook in my childhood, when it was called, not tokwa’t baboy but by the colorful local name “kilawing boracho” from her hometown in Rizal. But we can always improve on these ancestral recipes in our modern, multicultural lives!

    May 9, 2012 | 2:36 am

  19. Jdawgg says:

    Hello Marketman,

    A different twist to a Pinoy favorite Pulutan or Snack. More power to you and thank you Sir for sharing another great idea.

    May 9, 2012 | 2:39 am

  20. Faust says:

    hmmm.. this is something new tokwat lechon..

    May 9, 2012 | 3:23 am

  21. Footloose says:

    In all probability called kilawing borracho because it was originally served as pulutan. And there’s just no way around it, even an old pig’s pinna becomes haute cuisine as soon as you render it into French.

    May 9, 2012 | 3:56 am

  22. cwid says:

    Looks like a very tasty variation to the usual recipe. A definite must try!

    May 9, 2012 | 4:43 am

  23. PITS, MANILA says:

    So sad that I cannot avail of zubuchon here and now. The photo, so inviting! I used to make tokwa (diced, fried) into a sort of ‘bicol express’ recipe, no meat and loaded with ‘siling mahaba’ and coconut cream. It was a side dish for our lechon kawali. I see this now, thinking of how good it will be if paired with lugaw (goto, jok, congee), and then deciding that it’s best to have it with garlic-fried rice. Sigh.

    May 9, 2012 | 7:40 am

  24. AM says:

    Thank you for the inspiration…will definitely have to try this recipe.

    May 9, 2012 | 8:10 am

  25. january says:

    i frequent a hole-in-the-wall eatery in Makati to savor this favorite appetizer.
    mr. MM, garlic flakes are good toppers too :)

    May 9, 2012 | 11:49 am

  26. marissewalangkaparis says:

    yummy…one of my faves..

    May 9, 2012 | 8:51 pm

  27. Dianne says:

    Marketman, please please please open up a restaurant in Manila!!! and serve this please please please…

    May 9, 2012 | 9:28 pm

  28. KUMAGCOW says:

    I love this but not Cilantro, that’s my kryptonite..

    May 9, 2012 | 10:23 pm

  29. Margaux Salcedo says:

    LOVE this recipe! Thank you! Always on the lookout for what to do with lechon leftover.

    May 11, 2012 | 1:59 am

  30. Betchay says:

    We call this “Kulao”and always eat it in tandem with Pancit Palabok but your version with Zubuchon can stand alone as “ulam”! Yum!

    May 11, 2012 | 10:00 am

  31. Mila says:

    Add a pinch of sichuan peppercorns to the dressing for an extra ounce of flavor. I tossed together some marinated tofu, roasted pork with a dressing similar to yours, spiced up a bit, served with scallions and roasted sesame seeds, chilled as a summer salad treat.

    May 13, 2012 | 11:36 pm

  32. Chris says:

    There’s this dingy hole in the wall lugawan in Marikina called Macky’s that serves tokwa’t baboy – the ‘baboy’ part is comprised of crunchy lechon kawali. The tart/sweetish toyo-vinegar sauce is also excellent.

    May 14, 2012 | 8:02 am


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