Dinuguan Phobia


Marketman has a dinuguan phobia. There. I finally admitted it. Hopefully that is the first step to a cure. I used to love dinuguan as a kid. That was before I rudely found out what it was made of. One day, still in my single digits, I entered the kitchen just as my mom was pouring some thick dark liquid out of a plastic bag and into the pot with stuff in it. I asked what it was and she said it was “pig’s blood.” WHAT?! The thick liquid in the dinuguan was cooked pig’s blood??? I probably turned ashen and quickly retreated out of there. I have a thing about blood. It makes me faint. I once accompanied my sister to the Emergency Room of Makati Med when she cut her toe from an exploding coke bottle and as they were sewing it up I promptly keeled over (fainted) and they had to revive me outside the Emergency Room. When my daughter gets bloody injuries, the same thing happens. I knew I couldn’t be a doctor at age 8. My brother-in-law once took us fishing off the Long Island, New York shoreline and they started chumming with fish guts which promptly made me upchuck some of my own… so, no, this dinuguan thing is an imbeded and highly irrational thing. I couldn’t be reincardnated as a vampire. Or vampire bat for that matter.

I eat more and more unusual things as I get older (frogs, rabbits, live octopus, sea urchins, alligator, eels, ostrich), including blood sausages with some trepidation, so I am determined to get over this dinuguan phobia. The first step was to read up on dinu2the recipe and understand that it is mostly pig’s innards, blood, vinegar (which I like) and spices. Some of my readers have asked about coagulated blood and I now know that the vinegar is used to keep the blood from hardening too much. The next step was to buy some dinuguan from reputable sellers to make sure I got small doses before cooking it myself (if I ever got to that stage). To dire warnings of “you better be sure that it is clean,” – clean dinuguan, an apparent oxymoron considering what the ingredients are, I toyed with the idea of trying chicken dinuguan first… but decided to go all the way with the original version with innards. That is what is in the bowl here. I ate about three spoonfuls mixed with white rice and it wasn’t that bad, really. However, the version I bought was a bit too vinegary for me. I asked other dinuguan experts to weigh in and they concurred. It should have a vinegary taste but not overpowering. Let’s just say the three spoonfuls was enough for now. Will have to wait before we make our own lechon in the backyard before I really think seriously of cooking this myself…If you have any helpful comments on how to cook a really delicious dinuguan, kindly leave them here for my reference…thanks!


50 Responses

  1. MM. i like dinuguan eversince i was a kid, but growing up, i seemed to be choosy and just eat those that were cooked in my place or my siblings’. in some parts of bicol (near quezon province), they cook dinuguan with coconut cream/milk. they mix the coconut milk with the blood. before putting them in the wok. i have to recall the whole process, though, coz i haven’t tried cooking by myself. i just watch either my mom or sister cook it. anyhow, the other versions that i have tried seemed not to contain coconut milk (including the version of my mom in-law). i like it a little bit spicy though, and no innards for me, just meat.

  2. Aw, Marketman! Dinuguan that’s well-made is fantastic! I absolutely love it. One of my mother’s second cousins in Batangas used to make the best dinuguan. He would only make it if he could get the ingredients from a pig that was slaughtered the same day. It was sheer heaven. Unfortunately he has passed away.

    Here in the Bay Area, I have to make do with Goldilock’s dinuguan, as I have no other choice.


  3. Ay Dyos Ko! Exact same thing here. I haven’t eaten it since I was around 5, because I found out it was blood. The special taste I loved was from blood, BLOOD!! Lol Oh well, maybe one day I will actually eat it again, sometimes I get so close, because I do remember how good it was.
    I guess it’s just best to tell people it’s Chocolate Stew, and NEVER mention the secret ingredient. :)

  4. I like dinuguan when it has plenty of meat. If it is all innards, my brain can’t take it, and my mouth won’t eat it. As a child, my yaya made me eat dinuguan this way: she gave me a spoonful of rice, dinuguan, and shrimp (hilabos na hipon). Strange now that I think about it, but I ate it. Now I can eat it without the shrimp (in the same manner, my mom made me eat monggo by giving it to me with pickle relish.) Yes, I know, very weird, but now I can’t eat monggo without the pickles or atsara!

  5. One of the Filipino stores here in NY uses only their left over lechon kawali and blood for their dinuguan, no innards. I had also tasted one with only pork belly. I do not remember if I had ever tasted one with other innards except tripe while I was back home.I love dinuguan esp. if it’s properly soured. YUM

  6. MM, try the dinuguan of the Kapampangan lady in Salcedo. Her dinuguan is the watery type so it’s not too intimidating. Kaya lang it has innards (stomach daw. Eeeeew!), which I don’t really like. Close your eyes nalang kasi it tastes pretty good!

  7. Like NYCMama, I only eat the pork meat in the dinuguan and am quite qeasy about innards. I’ve tried one using sampalok instead of vinegar and it was delicious too. My mom would add oregano leaves too.

  8. its not the blood that gets to me, its the way they clean the innards- boiling them and seeing all these yucky bubbly phlegm-like substances come out.

  9. I only eat dinuguan if: it smells good, made with only meat and I know who made it.

    Best with rice or hot pandesal :)

  10. I don’t think I’ll get over my dislike for dinuguan. It’s the smell, and then the taste of the blood that gets me.

  11. try the dinuguan at Red ribbon paired with Puto and they are the best i could recommend. Instead of putting pigs innards, you can use the pork casim (lean pork) plus not to forget the siling mahaba..

  12. Yum, dinuguan with puto! I especially love the puto part of this combo. And the sour thick sauce perfectly complements the sweetish, soft, and chewy balls of puto. Any ideas on where I can get Pangasinan puto on the East Coast? (The kind that’s made with no wheat flour?)

  13. in the visayas, or at least in my parents’ visayas, dinuguan is made only with intestines and liver. the innards are sauteed for a long time in lots of garlic and other spices to remove the lansa. oregano is the key spice. i have tasted other versions but they are always without oregano and often with fatty pork instead of just innards. i find fatty pork floating in a thin bloody sauce simply yucky.

  14. As a young child I’ll eat dinuguan but usually I pick the meat and skipped the innards and just dip puto on the blood stew. Mostly because sometimes I tag along whenever my mom buys the ingredients and she has to buy it as soon as the market opens. That’ll be like four or five in the morning. I’m not sure how she cooks it, but I know she buys two kind of blood, one is coagulated and the other one isn’t. The coagulated blood, she boils, cuts up in cubes and then later on added to the stew. So along with the innards you have blood cubes. I’ll spare you the details on how she cleans the innards too, makes my stomach churn each time.
    When friends, have the dinuguan cravings, I’ll cook some but a bit differently, definitely no innards and just pork and blood . Asian markets here in the US sell the uncoagulated blood, I think they add a bit of vinegar to the packaging already. I’ll remember to read the food lable next time. I use pork belly because it has fat in it, I just cut back on the fat if I think there’s too much fat in it already. Cut the meat into bite size pieaces, simmer in water with celery salt(a blend of salt and grounded celery seed),crushed pepper and little bit of oregano, reduce the water until the meat cooks in its own fat. That’s the only thing I do differently with my meat. Saute garlic and onions, add the cooked meat and add the pork blood, vinegar, salt, pepper to taste, jalapeno peppers in lieu of siling mahaba, add water if needed. I add a bit of sugar if it gets too vinegary in taste. Definitely lots of tasting and adding of this and that until I think I get the right one. Then of course serve with lots of puto and rice. I hope that helps.

  15. i never liked dinuguan growing up in cebu because the taste was too strong. maybe because it was purely innards or maybe the blood was not fresh. my mother-in-law changed all that. she cooks her dinuguan with all meat and liver only. she also adds chopped usbong ng sampalok, lots of garlic and sili espada. because she turned me onto dinuguan, i have now learned to eat the original dinuguan with the innards and all. i have to say,the orig tastes better when done well. we had a cook from nueva ecija who cleaned the innards well especially the stomach lining. the only meat she uses is the batok aside from the stomach,intestines,etc. and the blood had to be fresh. with all the garlic and sampalok leaves, there was no smell or aftertaste whatsoever. sadly she is no longer with us. i don’t have the guts to cook the orig version. even while doing the “meat and liver” version, i still can’t stand the smell of raw blood as you pour it. now, whenever i crave for dinuguan, i just go to via mare.

  16. Same here! I haven’t eaten dinuguan since my “single digits.” Its the blood, liver (hate the taste and texture) and innards (guts! eeew) combination that turns me off. But I do remember that puto and watered-down dinuguan sauce was yummy. Any suggestions for a “version” that I could try to get over my aversion?

  17. the dinuguan the wife makes is purely pork meat as i have uric acid issues. i have tasted the version cooked with sampalok and it’s just as tasty. they call it “tinumis”

    consider yourself privileged. there are religious sects that prohibit eating blood. so i would enjoy it if it wasn’t prohibited in yours. :)

  18. i use black pudding when making dinuguan, don’t know where to get fresh blood and don’t know how to handle it……of course it’s not the same as the original, but it’s close enough for now :) …. and no innards as well just pork meat…..

  19. I’m sorry to hear about your dinuguan phobia. I love dinuguan! Its one of my favorite Filipino dish next to sisig, bopis and bicol express. Yeah I know that its made of innards and pig’s blood, but in my defense I don’t look how its prepared and I have no plans on learning how to cook it! I believe that when I actually learn or see how its prepared I would like it as much. I mean why ruin a good thing right? Hopefully you’ll get over your phobia soon!

  20. i guess you wont win should you ever enter the Fear Factor game show….pakainin ka lang ng dinuguan surrender ka na. as for me, dugong pinoy talaga ‘to (no bragging about it). i love balut (the older the chick the better) and i love dinuguan. i tried cooking it at home but i just cant seem to get the malapot at maitim consistency that is so bisaya dinuguan just like the way my nanay cooks it. they said there’s a technique on how to cook the bisaya dinuguan. can somebody share that technique with me? my dinuguan came out good as my husband would attest to that. and its not gross even if they consist of the pig’s innards as long as you buy it from a respectable marketplace and you wash it at home pretty good too.

  21. Ahhhh….my mouth is watering just looking at the pictures. It’s been nearly a year since I last ate proper diniguan and now you’ve triggered a serious craving.

  22. Never tried it… never will! But I’ll take the puto anytime. Sorry, I’m adventurous with food but dinuguan is where I draw the line. It’s just my personal choice. It’s good you’re trying to overcome your fear. I just haven’t found the need to face it.

  23. we all must’ve heard the “be sure it’s clean” warning….but who can tell what’s clean in all that blackness? love it though….but only my mom’s.

  24. MM, if you were marooned in an island and the only choice of food is either dinuguan or balut, which one would you choose?

  25. Get over it, Mom’s dinuguan NEVER contained any innards as she had an aversion to intestines, etc. It was made out of chopped pork and YES, chicken or pork blood from a newly slaughtered animal. I’m not crazy about morcilla or blood pudding or dinuguan and the stuff is highly overrated I think, but it does help use up offal and blood so all that is left is the oink.

  26. Actually, its the blood and the innards that are a problem…I figure if you are just going to eat chicken or pork with blood sauce then you must really like the taste of the blood sauce but I ain’t too keen on that either… Corinne, I would pick dinuguan over balut I think, hmmm, seems this is not a universally loved favorite either…

  27. when my lola kills a chicken, she catches the blood using a platito with bigas. After the blood sets, she includes it in coooking either in pospas or tinola.

  28. my mom uses pork for this….no innards…maybe because it imparts an unlikely smell after it is cooked…she uses banana leaves to “mash” the blood before adding it…don’t know why though…

    i notice she also prefers beef blood from pig because it is not so much malapot afterwards and the color is brownish….unlike pig’s blood where it is black after cooking…

    used to be my fave….haven’t eaten it in a long time…ako ay “fishetarian” na…hehehe…for healthy reasons only though…

  29. my recommendation for your dinuguan phobia: buy Via Mare’s instameal version of dinuguan : ) -it should still be available at Rustan’s supermarket.

  30. wow! i really miss reading your blog marketman! sayang. we make really good dinuguan using only pork liempo and around 6 pairs of pigs’ ears. we don’t like using the innards too much. it has this maanggo aftertaste that really kills the experience of eating good dinuguan. i tried selling our dinuguan freshly made only at 2a.m. for the morning sunday market but the people in my village are really kurips. since we they’ve been long-time family friends, they expect us to really pour on the dinuguan if they’re buying it. it costs only a mere p50! and that’s with the microwavable plastic tubs. arg. we stopped, aside from getting really grouchy from being puyat and with such a super slim profit margin and end up with no dinuguan ourselves…we stopped. yah, it’s a pretty tiring thing to cook at 2 a.m. and bring all the thingies to the sunday market and stay cheerful and sane until it gets sold.

    anyway, try out dinuguan without the innards. ok? it’ll be super yummy and a bit healthier too. until the next post! cya.

  31. hehehe you remind me of my dad. nung bata pa ako and i had this laceration on my forearm, he couldn’t carry me to a hospital! He would faint right away if he did.

    i love dinuguan but rarely eat it.

  32. My Dad made PREMIUM dinuguan using beef brisket. That was the only dinuguan I could eat — little cubes of glorious tender beef with buttery fat. He died several years back and haven’t had dinuguan since — because no one I know makes it that way…. I just don’t know where to source blood but man, I’d love to make it the way Dad used to..

  33. Seems like most people would only eat dinuguan cooked by a family member..or the best dinuguan is one cooked by a family member…usually the mom or lola…and the best dinuguan doesn’t include innards. The sili espada…is that the one used in sinigang? It gives a very good flavor to dinuguan unlike the short but hot ones.

  34. wow a dinuguan post really got a lot of comments. chrissy, we have the same aversion. your description is right on! the grainy liver, slimy innards… eecch. sorry folks. heehee.

  35. HI! No aversion here! I usually cook a large batch for dinner,then whatever leftover dinuguan we have, I put in the fridge. No one touches it because people in our house like their dinuguan hot. Me? I have it cold for breakfast! Yummy! Cold dinuguan as palaman for my hot pan de sal!!!

  36. You couldn’t make my dad eat “black” dinuguan. My mom did a version were the soup was clear. It only had pork bits and blood bits. The soup was a little blander that the dark one but this is the dinuguan I grew up with. Never found out how she did her version. Does anyone know how to make dinuguan this way?

  37. we can buy two types of blood in the market, one is a liquid called Puro for dinuguan and the other is liquid with big solid chunks for batchoy.

    we cook 2 versions of food with blood. One is dinuguan and the other is batchoy. not like the bacolod version but more like Sinuam na baboy.

    I love batchoy. cooked like chicken tinola but using pork(ribs are better). sangkucha in sliced luya, garlic and onions. season wtih patis. when the pork is tender, put the blood chunks in until they set. resist the urge to mix. when set, add siling haba and lots of kinchay then pour rice washing over it. Wait until it boils. Serve with lots of rice and patis with sili. I could eats this everyday.

    some put miswa but I prefer it without it.

  38. hi MM, i’m a newbie here. i decided to post coz i cant resist the very interesting topic. i hope you conquer your phobia. i’d like to suggest try tinadtad. it is like dinuguan but instead of using innards, you can use beef tenderloin. as the name suggest, tatadtarin ang meat.you can do it your self or ask the butcher in the market to do it for you. the meat should be coarser than gound meat. sautee it in garlic, onions, tomatoes, onion leeks and chillies. season it with patis and put some bayleaf. before adding the blood, mash it thouroughly. it would be a lot easier if you use your hands or better ask somebody to do it for you for safety purposes :) My old folks secret for a really good dinuguan or tinadtad is cooking the blood thoroughly before adding the vinegar. doing so will remove the fishy and yucky after taste of the blood. you can also put chopped petsay (tagalog) or dahon sili.

  39. another suggestion i forgot to mention, you can use tamarind or even the instant tamarind in pouches used in sinigang , in replace of the vinegar. it is easier and more convinient to use but just as good. :)

  40. kit, thanks for those suggestioons, I have recently eaten a morcilla with difficulty (Spanish blood sausage) and a dinuguan with lots of vinegar (which I wasn’t fond of). But the suggestion with beef tenderloin is highly intriguing…so thanks for that! I love tamarind so maybe that will work nicely as well!

  41. i really luv dinuguan their really good… i like the way my mom cooks it but i wana try to cook 1 myself…. all i need is the recipe nd how to cook it

  42. I also like dinuguan! Very much that even as a child I could eat it on its own- no puto or rice; I’d order for some if I know it’s on the menu; I even ate some when I was pregnant (didn’t get scared that my baby would turn dark as what they say, haha!). Have met an uncle only once during a visit to my grandparents’ place and when we met again some 20 years after he prepared dinuguan beacause he remebered me liking it. I wasn’t even aware that people would remeber me for liking dinuguan! I just remembered I was once told by my mom not to just eat dinuguan anywhere or when I dont know who prepared it for health reasons. hahahha! Have tried so many versions of dinuguan but didn’t like them all. So far I have cooked once and realized it isn’t really very difficult to prepare. It’s just a matter of the ingredient’s availabilty. Just got turned off for a while when the blood wasn’t cooked yet. you know when it turns from red to greenish to gray and thankfully it turned black! My son eats it until he found out that there is blood on it!

  43. I love dinuguan. It’s mysterious chocolatey color and somewhat thick consistency and sourish taste make me as hungry as a vampire. However, I dislike dinuguan that is reddish brown (I don’t know what other cooks do or add–or does the quality or type of blood used have something to do with it?).

  44. Yum! dinuguan is really good paired with PUTO. anyone has tasted dinuguan with COCONUT MILK?… it tastes batter!

  45. Without an extra plate to place the puso, I dropped it into a bowl of dinuguan and chopped the puso directly within the bowl. Hehe..tasty spoonfulls of chopped puso/rice and dinuguan.. Unfortunately, I also chomped on one of the camouflaged labuyo sili I chopped/dropped in earlier..Haaaaaaaahhhhh! Mouthfull of fire! Manang, bugnaw nga sparkle-up beh..Palihug dali-a!

  46. All of you have to get over the “Fear factor” of eating one of the most delicious delicacy of our Filipino heritage. Innards, guts, liver, whatever; it’s all good! That’s what makes this dish so great. Blood?, who cares. I’m sure all of you had eaten steak before from rare to well done – guess what?, it has blood in it. Dios mio, napakasarap no?! You know it taste really good and as far as the tiyan, bituka, it’s all disguised underneath that dark sauce. Mmmmm, gotta go, I have some dinuguan waiting for me. Sige kain tayo!

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