Tabungao Recipe

Discover the perfect Tabungao recipe – a symphony of tamarind, pork, and veggies. Dive into Filipino flavors with our step-by-step guide. Let's cook!



  • Cuisine: Filipino
  • Category: Soup
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 6
  • Calories: 350 calories

About Ingredients Instructions Video Servings Tips Substitutes

Tabungao, a traditional Filipino dish, is a delectable soup that showcases the vibrant and diverse flavors of Filipino cuisine. The heart of this dish lies in its tamarind-based broth, which imparts a tantalizing tanginess, perfectly complementing the richness of pork and the freshness of an array of vegetables.

To prepare Tabungao, pork ribs or pork belly are simmered until tender, creating a savory base. The tamarind pulp, soaked and strained to extract its juice, adds a distinctive sour note, elevating the entire dish. The inclusion of vegetables like string beans, eggplant, radish, and water spinach brings both color and nutrition to the table.

The culinary journey of making Tabungao involves a meticulous process, from sautéing onions and garlic to adjusting the seasoning with fish sauce or salt. This meticulous attention to detail ensures a harmonious blend of flavors, making each spoonful a delightful experience.

Whether enjoyed as a comforting family meal or served during special occasions, Tabungao encapsulates the essence of Filipino cooking—simple yet flavorful, hearty yet nuanced. Its roots in Filipino cuisine make it a cherished dish, celebrating the rich culinary heritage of the Philippines.


Dive into a culinary adventure with our Tabungao recipe! Experience the vibrant flavors of Filipino comfort food – a tantalizing blend of tamarind, pork, and fresh vegetables. Your taste buds are in for a treat!


  • 500g pork ribs or pork belly, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 cup tamarind pulp
  • 1 bunch string beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized radish, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bunch water spinach (kangkong), separated into stalks and leaves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fish sauce or salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil for sautéing
  • 1.5 liters water

Method Instructions

  1. In a pot, bring water to a boil and add the pork ribs or pork belly.
  2. Simmer until the meat is tender. Remove any scum that rises to the surface.
  3. While the pork is cooking, soak the tamarind pulp in warm water for about 15 minutes. Squeeze and extract the tamarind juice, then strain to remove seeds and fibers.
  4. In a separate pan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until fragrant.
  5. Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the pot with the boiled pork.
  6. Pour in the tamarind juice and add more water if needed to achieve the desired soup consistency.
  7. Put the sliced radish, string beans, and eggplant into the pot. Simmer until the vegetables are almost tender.
  8. Season the soup with fish sauce or salt according to your taste preference. Adjust as needed.
  9. Just before serving, add the water spinach stalks and leaves. Cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables are completely tender.
  10. Serve hot and enjoy your flavorful Tabungao soup with steamed rice.

Recipe Video


This is a video about Tabungao.

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Recipe Tags: Tabungao, Tabungao Recipe, Recipe


Serving Tabungao is a delightful experience, and it's traditionally enjoyed as a complete meal. Here's a simple guide on how to serve Tabungao:

  • Rice: Tabungao is typically served with steamed white rice. The soup's rich and flavorful broth pairs perfectly with the neutral base of rice, creating a satisfying and balanced meal.
  • Accompaniments: Place a bowl of fish sauce on the table along with sliced red chilies and calamansi (Filipino lime). Diners can customize the seasoning of their soup by adding a squeeze of calamansi and a drizzle of fish sauce according to their taste preferences.
  • Garnish: Garnish the Tabungao with fresh cilantro or chopped green onions just before serving. This adds a burst of freshness and a hint of herbaceous flavor to the dish.
  • Side Dishes: For a more elaborate meal, consider serving Tabungao with a side of grilled or fried fish, providing additional protein and texture to the dining experience.
  • Family-Style Presentation: Serve Tabungao in a large communal bowl or individual bowls, allowing everyone to partake in the shared experience of ladling the soup onto their plates. This communal approach is a common practice in Filipino dining, fostering a sense of togetherness.
  • Hot and Fresh: Tabungao is best enjoyed hot and fresh, straight from the stove to the table. The warmth of the soup enhances the dining experience, especially on cooler days.


  1. Tamarind Pulp Quality: Choose good-quality tamarind pulp for a robust and authentic flavor. If using fresh tamarind pods, ensure they are ripe and plump.
  2. Pork Selection: Opt for pork ribs or pork belly with a good meat-to-fat ratio. This will enhance the richness of the soup.
  3. Vegetable Freshness: Select fresh and vibrant vegetables. Crisp string beans, firm eggplants, and a tender radish contribute to the overall texture and visual appeal of the dish.
  4. Balancing Flavors: Adjust the level of sourness by controlling the amount of tamarind juice added. Taste the broth as you go and find the right balance with fish sauce or salt.
  5. Communal Dining Experience: Serve Tabungao family-style for a communal dining experience. It's a wonderful way to share not only a meal but also the joy of cooking and eating together.
  6. Customizable Seasoning: Provide additional fish sauce, calamansi, and sliced red chilies on the table. This allows each diner to adjust the seasoning according to their taste preferences.
  7. Garnish Creatively: Experiment with different herbs for garnish. Cilantro, parsley, or chopped green onions can add a burst of freshness and elevate the visual appeal of the dish.
  8. Accompaniments: Consider serving Tabungao with a side of steamed jasmine rice or garlic fried rice for a complete and satisfying meal.
  9. Preparation Efficiency: Prep all your ingredients before starting to cook. Having everything ready will streamline the cooking process and ensure that each component is cooked to perfection.
  10. Leftovers: Tabungao tends to taste even better the next day as the flavors continue to meld. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove for a tasty meal.

Ingredient Substitutes

If you find yourself missing certain ingredients for Tabungao, here are some potential substitutes:

  1. Tamarind Pulp: If you don't have tamarind pulp, you can use tamarind paste or concentrate as a substitute. Alternatively, you can use calamansi or lime juice for a citrusy twist.
  2. Pork Ribs or Pork Belly: Chicken can be a good substitute for pork. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks work well to provide a similar richness to the broth.
  3. String Beans: Green beans or snap peas can be used as substitutes for string beans. Just ensure they are fresh and crisp.
  4. Eggplant: Zucchini or squash can be a replacement for eggplant. They will absorb the flavors of the broth and add a satisfying texture.
  5. Radish: Daikon radish or regular radishes can be used interchangeably. You can also consider turnips as an alternative.
  6. Water Spinach (Kangkong): Substitute with spinach, bok choy, or kale. These leafy greens offer a different but equally delicious taste.
  7. Fish Sauce: Soy sauce or tamari can be used instead of fish sauce for a vegetarian version. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preference.
  8. Cooking Oil: Any neutral cooking oil such as vegetable oil or canola oil can be used instead of the suggested oil for sautéing.


Embrace the warmth of Filipino hospitality with each spoonful of Tabungao. May your culinary journey be filled with joy and shared moments at the table. Happy cooking!

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