Tabungaw Recipe

Discover the authentic flavors of Tabungaw with our easy-to-follow recipe. Immerse yourself in the taste of Cordilleran tradition. Try it today!



  • Cuisine: Filipino
  • Category: Soup
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 5
  • Calories: 300 calories

About Ingredients Instructions Video Servings Tips Substitutes

Tabungaw, also known as Pinikpikan, is a distinctive Filipino chicken soup that holds deep roots in the traditional cuisine of the Cordillera region. What sets Tabungaw apart is its unique preparation method, showcasing the rich cultural practices of the Cordilleran people.

The dish involves a meticulous process where the chicken is initially boiled halfway, imparting a distinct tenderness to the meat.

To enhance the flavor, the chicken is often rubbed with etag, a type of smoked pork, contributing a smoky undertone that elevates the overall taste.

As the preparation continues, aromatic elements like ginger, garlic, and onions are added to the pot, infusing the broth with savory notes. The culinary journey culminates with the introduction of vibrant vegetables, including sliced papaya and sayote, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. The finishing touch comes from chopped spring onions, imparting a fresh and crisp element to the soup.

Tabungaw is more than just a dish; it embodies the cultural identity of the Cordilleran people. The tradition of singing the chicken over an open flame to remove fine hairs and the use of indigenous ingredients like etag showcase a connection to the region's history and heritage.

As it simmers in pots across households, Tabungaw not only satiates hunger but also preserves a culinary legacy, making it a cherished part of Filipino gastronomy.


Dive into the savory allure of Tabungaw (Pinikpikan)! Uncover the secrets of this Cordilleran masterpiece with our step-by-step recipe guide. A culinary adventure awaits!


  • 1 whole native chicken (about 1.5 to 2 kg)
  • 1 bundle of Etag (smoked pork)
  • 1 medium-sized green papaya, peeled, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 medium-sized sayote (chayote), peeled and sliced
  • 1 bundle of spring onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 2 thumbs ginger, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method Instructions

  1. Clean and remove the feathers of the chicken. Singe over an open flame to remove fine hairs.
  2. If you have etag (smoked pork), you can rub it on the chicken. It gives a distinct smoky flavor. If not, proceed without it.
  3. Place the chicken in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the chicken.
  4. Boil the chicken until it's halfway cooked. Skim off impurities that float on the surface.
  5. Add ginger, garlic, and onion to the pot. Continue simmering until the chicken is tender.
  6. If you have etag, you can add it now. This will infuse a smoky flavor into the chicken.
  7. Add sliced papaya and sayote. Cook until the vegetables are tender but not overcooked.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust according to your preference.
  9. Add chopped spring onions for a fresh and savory flavor.
  10. Tabungaw is best enjoyed hot. Serve it in a bowl and enjoy this flavorful traditional dish.

Recipe Video


This is a video about Tabungaw.

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Recipe Tags: Tabungaw, Tabungaw Recipe, Recipe


Serving Tabungaw involves presenting this traditional Filipino dish in a way that complements its rich flavors and unique preparation. Here's how you can serve Tabungaw:

  • Hot and Fresh: Tabungaw is best enjoyed piping hot. Serve it immediately after cooking to ensure that the flavors are at their peak. The warmth of the soup is not only comforting but also enhances the overall experience.
  • In Bowls: Ladle the soup, along with chicken pieces and vegetables, into individual serving bowls. Make sure each bowl gets a generous portion of the broth, meat, and vegetables.
  • Garnish with Spring Onions: Before serving, sprinkle a handful of freshly chopped spring onions on top. This not only adds a pop of color but also introduces a fresh and crisp element to the dish.
  • Accompaniments: Tabungaw pairs well with plain steamed rice, enhancing the meal's heartiness. Serve a bowl of rice on the side for those who prefer to enjoy the soup with this staple Filipino accompaniment.
  • Share the Etag: If you've included etag (smoked pork) in the recipe, consider placing some extra pieces on a separate plate. This allows diners to savor this unique element on its own or combine it with the soup.
  • Family Style: For a communal dining experience, place the pot of Tabungaw at the center of the table. Let everyone serve themselves, creating an atmosphere of sharing and togetherness.
  • Enjoy with Condiments: Some individuals enjoy adding a dash of fish sauce or a squeeze of calamansi (Philippine lime) to their individual servings for an extra layer of flavor. Have these condiments available on the table for those who prefer customization.


  1. Use Native Chicken: Whenever possible, opt for native or free-range chicken. Their meat tends to be more flavorful and robust, adding depth to the broth.
  2. Singe the Chicken Carefully: When singeing the chicken over an open flame, do it carefully to remove fine hairs without burning the skin excessively. This step contributes to a cleaner and more appetizing appearance.
  3. Etag for Smoky Flavor: If you can find etag (smoked pork), consider using it for a distinct smoky flavor. Rub it on the chicken during the cooking process to infuse the dish with a unique taste.
  4. Skim Impurities: While boiling the chicken, regularly skim off impurities that rise to the surface. This helps maintain a clear and flavorful broth.
  5. Adjust Seasoning Gradually: Season the soup gradually and taste along the way. Remember that the etag, if used, adds saltiness, so adjust the seasoning accordingly to avoid over-salting.
  6. Vegetable Freshness: Choose fresh and firm vegetables. Overcooked vegetables can affect the texture of the dish. Add them at the right time to ensure they are cooked but still retain a slight crunch.
  7. Serve Hot: Serve Tabungaw immediately after cooking while it's hot to enjoy the fullness of flavors. This dish is particularly comforting when served fresh.
  8. Garnish with Fresh Spring Onions: The addition of freshly chopped spring onions just before serving provides a burst of freshness and a pleasant contrast to the savory broth.
  9. Accompany with Condiments: Place condiments like fish sauce or calamansi on the table for those who prefer to add a personal touch to their servings.
  10. Experiment with Presentation: Feel free to get creative with the presentation. Using traditional Filipino serving dishes or adding a decorative touch can enhance the overall dining experience.

Ingredient Substitutes

While traditional recipes often have their unique set of ingredients, you can make some substitutions in Tabungaw based on availability or personal preferences. Here are a few ingredient substitutes:

  1. Chicken: If native chicken is not available, you can use regular chicken, but try to choose free-range or organic options for better flavor.
  2. Etag (Smoked Pork): If you can't find etag, you can substitute it with smoked bacon or smoked sausage to add a smoky flavor to the dish.
  3. Papaya and Sayote: If green papaya or sayote is not accessible, you can use other vegetables like zucchini, carrots, or green beans. While the flavor may vary slightly, it still adds a delightful element to the soup.
  4. Spring Onions: In place of spring onions, you can use chives or leeks for a similar mild onion flavor and a touch of freshness.
  5. Ginger: Fresh ginger can be substituted with ground ginger or ginger paste. Adjust the quantity according to your taste preferences.
  6. Fish Sauce or Calamansi: If fish sauce or calamansi is not available, you can use soy sauce as an alternative for a savory element. Lemon can also substitute for calamansi.
  7. Native Ingredients: If certain indigenous ingredients are hard to find, focus on maintaining the core flavors and adjust with locally available options.


Indulge in the cultural richness of Tabungaw—more than a recipe, it's a journey through Cordilleran tradition. Share, savor, and make memories in every flavorful spoonful!

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