A Taste of Home: My Favorite Pork Menudo Recipe

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As a mom and a writer, I often find myself drawn to dishes that not only nourish the body but also the soul. One such dish that holds a special place in my heart is the classic Filipino pork menudo. This hearty pork stew is a beloved staple in many households, and for good reason – it’s a comforting blend of flavors that evokes warm memories of family gatherings and home-cooked meals.

Growing up in Marinduque, an island known for its rich culinary traditions, I was fortunate to witness firsthand the art of preparing menudo literally from pig to table. Occasions such as birthdays and weddings, when men would gather round for the butchering, cutting, up to preparing the “sahog” and cooking. The backyard would come alive where the aroma of sautéed garlic, onions, and tomatoes would fill the air.

History of Filipino Pork Menudo

The history of Filipino Pork Menudo itself is deeply rooted in the country’s colonial past and the fusion of culinary influences from different cultures. The name “menudo” is derived from the Spanish word “menudencias,” referring to the use of small pieces of meat and offal in the dish. The Spanish colonizers introduced tomato-based stews to the Philippines in the 16th century, which served as the basis for the Filipino menudo.

Over time, Filipino cooks adapted the Spanish recipe to suit local ingredients and tastes. They replaced offal with pork, a more readily available meat, and incorporated vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. The addition of tomatoes, which were not native to the Philippines, gave the dish its distinctive reddish color and tangy flavor, setting it apart from its Spanish counterpart. The use of soy sauce and pork liver in some versions of menudo is believed to have been influenced by Chinese cooking techniques and flavors. Very diverse, eh? Nowadays, pork menudo has become an iconic Filipino comfort food, often served during special occasions, celebrations, and family gatherings. Among the triumvirate of tomato based dishes that we have inherited from the Spaniards (Afritada, Caldereta, etc), the pork menudo is the most common in my opinion. Karinderias would have it at any day.

There a lot of regional or family variations to pork menudo. While the core ingredients remain the same, some add ingredients like raisins, green peas, or hotdogs, reflecting the creativity and diversity of Filipino cooking. It’s also a source of arguments in social media lol.

As a mom, I find great joy in sharing this treasured recipe with my own family. There’s something incredibly satisfying about watching my children’s faces light up as they take their first bite, savoring the rich flavors and tender morsels of pork. This is my eldest’s favorite and leaving this here for him when he decides to cook it himself.

So, without further ado, here’s my tried-and-true recipe for the ultimate pork menudo, a dish that will transport you straight to the heart of the Philippines with every bite.

Pork Menudo Recipe


  • 1 lb pork belly or pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon or calamansi juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or puree
  • 1 cup water or pork broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 potato, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons green peas (optional)


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork cubes and brown them on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, sauté the onions and garlic until fragrant and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the diced tomato and cook for another minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Pour in the soy sauce, lemon or calamansi juice, tomato sauce, and water or broth. Stir well to combine.
  5. Return the browned pork to the pot, along with the bay leaf, black pepper, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the pork is tender.
  6. Add the potato, carrot, and bell pepper to the pot. If using raisins and green peas, add them as well. Continue simmering for another 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  8. Serve hot over steamed rice, and enjoy this comforting taste of home with your loved ones.

Bon appétit, and may this pork menudo bring you as much joy and comfort as it has brought to my family over the years.

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