Cover Watermelon sinigang from Manam

Sinigang is finally getting the attention it so greatly deserves! These are the different kinds of sinigang that every Filipino knows and loves

Taste Atlas recently ranked our very own sinigang as the top contender for international vegetable soups! The renowned travel and food guide rated it a 4.8 out of 5, having beat out Turkey's mercimek çorbasi (lentil soup), and Lithuania's saltibarsciai (cold beet soup). 

Sinigang, which is a Filipino soup or stew, is a popular recipe that's distinct in its strong flavour profile. It is characterised by a strong, sour taste, often associated with tamarind (sampalok); though of course, tamarind isn't the only souring agent used in this time-honoured recipe.  Much like the cuisine in general, sinigang is versatile, with a different take from every household.

Generally, sinigang can be classified according to two different ways: the soup base or souring agent used ("sinigang sa") and the meat or vegetable that is cooked through the soup base ("sinigang na"). The most popular variations of "sinigang na" include manok (chicken), baboy (pork), baka (beef), isda (fish, usually bangus or milkfish), and hipon (shrimp). Some like to mix different kinds of meat together—especially seafood—and throw in shrimp, crab, and squid altogether.

Of course, vegetables are also a popular alternative (as it was for Taste Atlas). This recipe is usually hallmarked by local greens such as sitaw (string bean), okra, kang-kong (water spinach), or the like. 

Check out some of the "sinigang sa" variations below!

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Sinigang Sa: Sampalok

This is perhaps the most famous kind of sinigang base. Though it's still preferable to use fresh tamarind (sampalok) in any recipe, this kind of sinigang is so popular that many people can find it as a pre-packaged mix at the supermarket. 

Sinigang Sa: Mangga

The Philippines is known worldwide for its sweet, golden mangoes—and it's no surprise that we use it in our sinigang as well. Of course, the mangoes used for this recipe are the unripe ones, which offer the dish a distinct tropical flavour, adding pungent zing to a beloved soup dish. 

Sinigang Sa: Bayabas

The Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade linked Mexico and Manila during the time of Spanish colonisation. One of the many things that the Filipinos were introduced to at this time was the sweet guava fruit. Locals became such a fan of it that they made it into a sinigang base. Now, sinigang sa bayabas (guava) is a popular dish that's often cooked at home or at traditional Filipino restaurants. 

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Sinigang Sa: Kalamansi

Alongside ubekalamansi has got to be one of the most distinctly Filipino ingredients out there. Known as the Philippine lemon, the kalamansi is a dish-side staple, often used to add richness to a variety of foods such as arroz caldo (rice porridge) and pansit (noodles). It's so ubiquitous that even local Japanese restaurants serve it alongside sashimi! With this kind of popularity, it's no surprise that people have used it as a souring agent for sour, citrusy, and refreshing sinigang

Sinigang Sa: Pakwan

Who doesn't love a good, juicy slice of watermelon? Filipinos certainly love it! So much so that this sweet fruit has been turned into a main ingredient for sinigang. This adds a touch of sweetness to an otherwise sour recipe, giving it a perfectly balanced taste flavour. 

Sinigang Sa: Miso

Though miso is a Japanese ingredient, Filipinos have found a way to turn it into a delicious fusion recipe. It's often paired with seafood, and is usually cooked with salmon (not necessarily bangus or milkfish). 

Because sinigang is so flexible, many other chefs and creatives are coming with their own take of the recipe. Nowadays, there are more avant-garde styles of sinigang being cooked up. It wouldn't be unheard of to try sinigang sa ube (purple yam), or even sinigang with strawberry! It's really all about instilling that Filipino creativity into the kitchen where new taste flavours are constantly evolving—and proving to the world that we truly have some of the best cuisine. 

Read more: Weaving The Threads Of Filipino Heritage

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