Pork Bulanglang is a refreshing sour soup made with pork belly, guava, spinach, and gabi. This Kapampangan version of sinigang is delicious, comforting, and perfect with steamed rice.
As you probably know, we moved from Southern California to Texas at the end of last year. We’re happy about the change and love the overall culture here, but sourcing ingredients for the blog has been frustrating so far.
The nearest Asian supermarket is 20 miles away, and it is not as well-stocked as the Filipino grocery store I go to in SoCal. Just an example, we’ve been in Texas for six months, and I have yet to find sitaw!
On a positive note, there seems to be an abundance of tropical fruits here probably because of its sub-tropical climate. I can go to any supermarket and have access to boatloads of papaya, star fruit, dragon fruit, mango, and guava!
And what does a Kapampangan do with boatloads of juicy guavas? Make pork bulanglang, of course. 🙂
What is Bulanglang
While bulanglang in other regions refers to a type of boiled vegetable dish flavored with fermented fish or bagoong, it is for us Kampangan the collective term for the different kinds of sinigang na bayabas. This sinigang variant can made with pork, shrimp or milkfish, and traditional includes kangkong, puso nang saging, and gabi.
In contrast to the sharp tang of the more popular tamarind-based version, Kapampangan bulanglang is delicate tasting with a subtle note of sourness and a slight hint of sweetness from the fruit. Delicious on its own or served with steamed rice, it’s a comforting soup to enjoy on a cold rainy day yet can be equally refreshing during hot Summer months.
Tips on How to Make Pork Bulanglang
- I like pork belly with ribs in my sinigang but feel free to swap a leaner cut such as pork shoulder if you like to trim some of the fat.
- I use Mexican cream guavas which are small in size and have thin pale-yellow skin, creamy white flesh, and soft, edible seeds. Some varieties of the fruit have harder seeds and thicker flesh so you might have to peel them and cook longer.
- The seeds are not something you’d want to bite into in the soup but they do carry flavor. In a bowl, combine the scooped seeds with about a cup of water and mash with the back of a spoon. Strain in a fine-mesh sieve, discard the seeds and add the extracted juice to the pot.
- Use a mix of almost ripe and still green guavas for a good balance of sour and sweet fruit taste.
- 2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 7 cups water
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 bunch kangkong
- 1 pound (about 10 to 12 pieces) fresh guava
- 8 pieces gabi, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
- salt to taste
- In a pot over medium heat, combine pork and water. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that floats on top.
- When the broth has cleared, add onions and fish sauce.
- Lower heat, cover, and continue to cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until pork is tender. Add more water in 1/2 cup increments, if needed, to maintain about 6 cups.
- Meanwhile, cut into guavas into halves and using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds.
- In a bowl, combine guava seeds and the remaining 1 cup water. Using the back of a spoon, mash to extract pulp and strain in a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve the guava juice and discard the seeds.
- Trim about 2 inches from the kangkongs stalks and discard. Cut kangkong into 3-inch lengths, separating the sturdier stalks from the leaves. Wash thoroughly and drain well. Set aside.
- Add gabi, sliced guava, and the guava juice to the pot and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Add kangkong beginning with the sturdier stalks and then the leaves. Continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot.