Jessica Soho and Her Fabulous Pinakbet… :)


After shooting at the Kitchen Herbs Farm last Monday for the upcoming episode of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho this Saturday, January 15, 2011, I flew to Cebu early Tuesday and then back to Manila that same day. When I arrived in Manila Tuesday evening, I got a text from the producers of KMJS requesting a face to face interview with Jessica Soho the following morning, Wednesday. Unfortunately, I had a very minor surgery scheduled for Wednesday, so an interview was simply out of the question. Thankfully, the operation went smoothly, quickly and with minimal after effects and I felt much better by Wednesday night, albeit on painkillers and with a rather swollen left cheek, so I agreed to do the interview on Thursday afternoon. The venue would be Farmer’s market, one of the best markets in all of Metro-Manila, in my opinion.


I was cool as a cucumber until the lights were switched on and the cameras started rolling. Talk about sweating buckets. What is it about camera-titis that causes your sweat glands to go into overdrive? :) Or at least that is my strange reaction to being filmed. Thankfully it wasn’t longer than 12-15 minutes under the bright lights and it was all over. Ms. Soho was extremely nice, incredibly easy-going and obviously someone who absolutely adores her food.


At the end of the shoot, she had a wonderful gift for me, some of her homemade pinakbet, based on her lola’s recipe… and let me tell you, it was FABULOUS. As soon as I got home after the shoot, I had some pinakbet straight out of the plastic container and it was still a bit cold from an earlier stint on ice or the fridge, but still amazing. We heated half of the portion and ate it with leftover rice and EVERYONE in the house thought it was a superb version of pinakbet.


The dish had lots and lots of pork as well as garlic and tomatoes. The veggies included tiny ampalaya (bitter gourd), talong (eggplants) and normal sized okra. Lots of of patani (fava beans) and a few siling mahaba (finger chilies). The sauce was plentiful but not watery, almost a bit like a gravy, though not quite as thick as that. It was excellent. An explosion of texture and flavor in the mouth, clearly reeking, but not overwhelmed by the fish bagoong, and while salty, it was a very good melting pot of flavors from just barely bitter to some sweet and salty… The texture was softer than I normally cook our pinakbet, but the mushiness worked well with the dish. And imagine if it had been straight out of the kawali!!! It had a LOT of pork, hence leading our crew back home to say it was really an ulam or viand with meat and veggie in one dish. Superb with lots of rice. Many thanks JS for the unexpected treat. Since we both have strict policies of not accepting freebies whenever possible, I’d like to think of this as a “trade or barter” for the tiny jar of mangosteen brandy sauce which I sent over earlier in the week. It’s wonderful when folks have perfected a dish and share it generously with others… If you want to see and hear more about the farm visit and the market interview, you’ll have to watch the “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” program this Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 8:30pm. I understand that Anton of Awesome Planet, Lori of Dessert Comes First and Marvin of Burnt Lumpia will also be featured in the same segment. :)


77 Responses

  1. I can tell a great ILOCANO pinakbet when I see one! The loads of pork, the tomatoes, the patani, the local ampalaya and the mushiness says it all. Oh, it brings back memories of my grandmother’s version too. For me, this always beats the salty, bagoong version of the Tagalog pinakbet.

    ps-MM, from what part of Ilocos does Jessica’s family come from?

  2. I can tell a great ILOCANO pinakbet when I see one! The loads of pork, the tomatoes, the patani, the local ampalaya, finger chilis and the mushiness. Oh, it brings back memories of my grandmother’s version too. For me, this always beats the salty, bagoong version of the Tagalog pinakbet.

    ps-MM, from what part of Ilocos does Jessica’s family come from?

  3. congratulations marketman! look forward to seeing you on telly this weekend. Can i suggest further? if you have left over chicharon from your chicharon chronicles, beat it to crumb size on your mortar and pestle, sprinkle it on the KMJS pinakbet and viola, pinakbet to die for literally and figuratively speaking. make sure you have standby aspilets and amlodipines to ward off from bp surge hehe.

  4. MM, I like Farmer’s Market too because I find the place very clean and less stinky compared to the other markets. The downside though is that it seems their prices are more expensive – at least compared to the palengke in Pasig. :-(

  5. Looking forward to the Jessica Soho’s show this Saturday. Told my whole “angkan” about it so we will surely be glued in front of the TV that night.

  6. Yes! I will surely watch that episode! Although I watch KMJS every Sat. my excitement doubles each time my favorites are featured in the show. I’m excited na, I wish it’s Saturday evening na! :)

  7. I think Jessica mentioned in one KMJS episode that her family is from La Union…she also cooked that pinakbet specialty of hers in the same episode.

  8. I like the selections available at Farmers, but they seem to have the most masungit tinderas I have ever come across! I don’t have regular sukis, but that’s more because I get turned off with their kasungitan that I don’t bother returning to them. Does anyone else have this odd problem with Farmers as well?

  9. Yup… that’s GI, as in genuine ilokano, pinakbet. i love my pinakbet the day after, with hot rice, or sinangag. Yummmmmmmyyy!!!!!!

  10. hello MarketManila. I’m a follower of your blog and this will be the first time I’m going to make a comment. The Pinakbet of Ms. Jessca Soho really looks fantabulous!!! Here in Nueva Ecija, our version of Pinakbet is the same but we added some shredded tinapa, lots of pork, bagoong halubaybay (bagoong Balayan) and a generous amount of chicharon (not crushed) and we omit the ginger. I think that when Ilocanos cook their Pakbet, they add some ginger right? Please correct me if I’m wrong. heehee! More power MM.

  11. For a food lover(especially after the holiday food overload)I have to say you look very fit and healthy as always. Please share with us your secret. Do you exercise daily?

  12. Happy new year, marketman! while pangalatok/pangasinense is the dialect(some say it’s a language), majority of pangasinenses speak and/or understand ilocano. there are more ilocano speaking pangasinenses than pangalatok speaking pangasinenses. did that make sense? hehehe

    my point being, ilocanos and pangasinenses might cook “pakbet” similarly. the two are also from region 1.

    i would also like to think that pangasinan pakbet tends to use “monamon” or bagoong na isda(brown color) more than “aGamang”(shrimp paste).

  13. Farmer’s Market may have the best choice, but I recently bought some limes there that cost 80 pesos per kg. The same limes cost only 40 pesos in Balintawak.

  14. Yes, I do agree that Farmer’s Market is pricier… but there are few markets with the choices in fruit, vege, seafood under one roof in Manila… and late into the day at that. When we shot that interview, I scored SUPERB reef fresh tangigue, spotted wonderful dapa and fresh tawilis. In the veggie section, chinese herbs and kaffir lime leaves, and in the fruit section some healthy looking makopa. mabuhay, yes, I gather the cooking is similar. Betchay, these photos are flattering. My doctor tells me I am 20 pounds overweight with a high cholesterol count among other unfavorable blood numbers… so I am going to have to shave off the extra weight and keep it off. I suspect since I am relatively tall, I look less fat even when just under 200 pounds… :)

  15. actually, she’s from la union. she’s my uncle’s classmate during high school. met her when they had a reunion in my uncle’s house way back 2009.

  16. The fruits in the first picture looked AWESOME! And so does Miss JS’s pinakbet! though i really can’t over my trauma of ampalayas! remember my tita calling me into the kitchen and shoving (I mean it… as in forcefully shoved) freshly squeezed and PURE ampalaya juice into my gullet when i was a wee lad who had chicken pox.. apparently it helps heal the chicken pox and take relieve you of the stress of worrying about lingering pox scars. blech! xp

    BTW MM! love the ever changing colors of your rubber shoes! (or aren’t they?) :)

  17. I also like Farmers Market; I’d rather look around there than go around malls.
    I can imagine the taste of Ms. Soho’s pinakbet. I know someone from Pangasinan whose pinakbet has the same attributes as you depicted in your post.

  18. it has been years since i had a decent pinakbet with patani. I also love the proportion of pork to the greens.

  19. It’s like how my mom cooks her pinakbet – with lots of pork! – which is to actually please my non-vegetable loving brother :) She adds bunga ng malunggay or seed pods to her pinakbet, yum yum.

  20. Someone once told me…”I am not fat, i am UNDERTALL.” i thought that was funny. the pinakbet looks awesome. i somehow can not get the hang making a good pinakbet, i get my fix of pinakbet from my ilokana friend. will check out jessica soho’s show on the internet.

  21. MM, GMA advertised JSKM about an hour ago and ….. you’re there!!!!! the whole teaser lasted about a minute and you were in almost all the shots shown. ohhhh, i’m so waiting for this saturday’s episode.

  22. I was going to comment that it looks like you’ve overcome your jitters in front of the camera by looking at the photos, but then i read the whole blog and uh-oh you still have “camera-titis”? I guess that term is acceptable as there is still no official latin name for this phobia. Anyway congratulations MM as the the whole nation is starting to notice your relevance as a food blogger. Somebody please upload this episode in youtube so we can watch.

  23. What’s not to like!!! The blog and the responses is like sitting down to such a fun and happy conversation.

  24. Farrah is right Jessica’s real mom is from La Union, Agoo if I’m not mistaken (Her mom died early and she grew up with her dad and a nice step-mom). Pangasinan is not so far from La Union, people from La Union actually go to Dagupan a lot.

  25. What’s with the shoe comments? Hahaha, it’s so pinoy… And how do you even notice them, when I have a huge screen on my desk and I can barely make out the shoes… :) tonceq, if you are referring to two recent posts on the JS show, yes, I have two different pairs of rubber shoes on… ariel, sunflowii, the shoes in this post are an old pair (5+ years) of Merrell all-terrain shoes, available at SM, and good for clambering up mountains and crossing shallow streams, as if I do any of that. :) They are one of my favorite sneakers. I think the shoes tonceq are referring to were in the previous post on the Tagaytay segment and those were a pair of Adidas sneakers, with neon yellow laces, a great find at 40% off retail at an outlet store while on a trip earlier this year.

  26. MM, you are getting more visible lately, less back shots. So genuine ilokano pinakbet does not have kalabasa/camote and sitaw?

  27. Meg, definitely no kalabasa, but yes, they do use sitaw. Ms. Soho explained that she didn’t like putting sitaw as it made the consistency of the dish a little more watery than she preferred. Gosh, I have never come across kamote in pinakbet before…

  28. hello again MM! about your comment that you never come across a pinakbet with kamote, here in Nueva Ecija we add kamote on our pakbet. It gave a sweet contrast on the salty bagoong isda. My husband’s aunt even add some cabbage on her version of pinakbet plus hagod or the bunga of malunggay.

  29. Oh I am so excited to watch KMJS tonight! I love pinakbet with kamote, my mom used to cook like JS pinakbet but with kamote,malunggay pods and some young ginger too.

  30. MM, that’s an awesome way to start the year — being featured on Jessica Soho’s program. Sayang, I will miss that episode where you are featured as I am right now in Bangkok slaving away for a workshop on Monday. I hope I find it in the GMA website’s archives when I get back. I will be grateful to anyone posting the link to that episode later.

  31. Wow sarap! Hope to taste it because I really love cooking and of course EATING, hahahaha. Congratulations you are really a professional.

  32. I am proud to say that pinakbet is truly a 100% Pinoy (viand) food. Many have already tried a variety of ways on cooking pinakbet — with even added veggie ingredients like kalabasa (squash) sometimes camote (sweet potato) and kangkong (morning glory – that’s according to my grade three teacher). I could even see sometimes sigarilyas (wing-beans). It is however surprising to note that there NO more great-tasting pinakbet than that of ours, Ilocanos. I’ve tasted several of these but my mom’s pinakbet is incomparable.
    To Marketman: Godspeed and more blogs to come!

  33. yeah..i love food and i really love this episode..

    thanks maket manila man!!!..

    two thumbs up for you!!

  34. if there’s camote to pinakbet, it’d be more like diningding na? or inabraw? not sure which of these two has camote….and yes MM, it’s good that you’ve had many features on TV these days…

  35. sarap nman ng pinakbet…..dagdagan m p ng segarilyas at ang sahog ay inihaw n bangus…………saaarappp!!!!!!

  36. just watched ur episode at KMJS! being a food blogger is so much fun… you need to spent time creativity,money and knowledge.. KUDOS Mr.Joel!!! U did it well…

  37. i’m proud to say that jessica soho is our kababayan, a genuine ilocana.that’s why she can cook the authentic recipe of pinakbet.using the tiny bitter gourd (round ones) with patani to make the sauce thick and bagoong. that’s how we do it here in the ilocos region.

  38. This is the 1st time to visit your blog after i watch on Jesica Soho….and after i saw your blog i think i will start to follow you co’z i love to cook & make blog also…

  39. js’s pinakbet must be soooooo good ! i love this dish and for a non-ilocana like me, i’d be very interested to find out how this is prepared. perhaps you may be able to ask her if she could share how it’s done ? hope that’s not asking too much. :-)

    all the best marketman !

  40. hi there, MM. it does look like a very good pinakbet. and coming from a jessica soho, it is indeed a privilege for anyone who receives something like this – that she prepared herself. and hearing from her that she is a follower of your blog. woah!

    since i started cooking and looking for recipes on the net, here is where i find it more “homey”. aside from just being a blog, it is a community as well. like you said, we all learn something here. i have nothing against blog sites with advertising but i do hope that this site will remain free from advertising.

    PS. if you like merrell shoes, i know someone who can get a 20% off even for new items.

  41. trax, thanks for the tip on Merrell, frankly, they last a good 6-7 years, so it’ll be a while before I need to replace them. :) As for the “community” feel, I do like it, and that’s why I try to keep the discussions going in a positive light, despite the occasional rant and controversy. Folks who comment regularly on this blog are like guests at MM’s dinner table… almost everything is open for intelligent discussion, within reasonable bounds…

    As for new visitors to the site, many thanks for dropping by. Since 8:40pm on Saturday, a whopping 45,000 visits have occurred in less than 15 hours, nearly bringing the site down as folks coursed through new and old posts. This is second only to the traffic after the No Reservations Philippines episode was aired a couple of years ago. And considering this was a Saturday night to Sunday morning (traditionally the slowest time on the blog) I am shocked by the reach of the JS program…

    cuci, Jessica Soho posted her heirloom family recipe for pinakbet on the GMA site, you may want to get it there. v, you appear to be coming from the U.S., because the IP you use courses their traffic through a U.S. based server. becky, they edited out 99% of what I said, and practically all of the comments in Filipino… yikes.

  42. I watched the episode of Kapuso Mo, Jesssica Soho last Sat.,Jan. 15, and I really like the show very much! I am a lover of PINAKBET! I really love to eat! try to taste also PORK PINAKBET. It’s not the usual pinakbet of the Ilocanos. Aside from bagoong, my NANAY(as I called the carinderia owner),adds tomato sause and other spices to her dish,PORK PINAKBET. It is a SUPERB dish!

  43. After I read it on your previous post, I really bugged my boyfirned that we should watch this episode of KMJS. I enjoyed it a lot. By the way, MM the Pinakbet Miss Soho generously shared with you has been featured before. I just forgot when it was aired but it was shown along with the episode that the Jamby Madrigal also cooked an heirloom recipe.

  44. iwatch the episode i almost eat the food in the tv…..joke hahahahahaaha but i always say that food isso yummy and “saraaaapppp” yourblog is so fantastic jazell…….

  45. waaaah! pareho kami ni jessica, marketmanila lang ang binabasa kong food blog. hehhe. kudos marketman! God bless u more!

  46. hi MM, im so proud of your site, I even introduced it to my MOM, although she has not touched a computer yet. Congrats again… keep it up. I may not always post comments, but I am definitely present in your dinner table everynight =) More posts and reviews to come.

  47. Just watched your episode at Kapuso Mo. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your passion.

  48. I’m intimidated with pinakbet cooked the Ilocano way. It’s so lovely I can eat a big bowl of it. I already have the palayok but just have to find time to buy really good quality fresh veggies in our place to give justice to the pinakbet. :)

  49. Hello MM!i dont even know about you before until i watched your episode in KMJS
    kasi every sunday nanonood talaga ako. You’re great

  50. Hi MM! I was teeming with pride while watching the segment last Saturday! I want to shout to the world that I AM A GREAT FAN of all the featured bloggers :)

  51. My mother’s pinakbet tagalog version is cooked with alamang isda, the vegtables half-way cooked, and with “soooooo bitter ampalaya” i must say… While  my Aunt’s (dad’s side) pakbet ilokano is cooked with bagoong isda (homemade),  veggies so soft with mashed sweet kamote and chunks of bagnet with hint of ginger and she made the ampalaya not bitter but bit sweet even with seed on it… Aunt said she have to soak the sliced ampalya with water-salt. I Told that trick to my mom but didnt work. And my dad cooked his version with leftover lechon. I love my dad’s and aunt’s version

  52. sana dapat punta rin kayo dito sa Cagayan to get our good recipe in pinakbet masarap kaya ang pinakbet ng ilocano dito sa may Santa. Ana, Cagayan, Valley. at marami ring mga beauty spot na dapat maipakita sa buong mundo.

  53. HI Mr. MM. I”m a bit confused. Is Patani – Fava beans or Lima beans??I bought this Patani from Salcedo Market. I told her it’s Lima beans (because it’s flatter and the skin is thinner) but she says it’s Fava Beans.



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.