It seems like each Philippine province—sometimes, even each family—has its own version of this beloved bloody stew. With all these adaptations, it’s become a huge chore to trace exactly which place gave birth to this dish.However, historians agree on one thing: dinuguan (pork blood stew) started out as a poor man’s stew. Back when dinuguan was born, lechon was strictly for the upper class to enjoy because of its hefty price tag. The lower class, many of whom worked in the households of those enjoying the lechon, would have to make do with the pork innards and other rejected parts—including the blood—of the butchered pig. They took these and put Filipino ingenuity to work.
How dinuguan is prepared has evolved and branched out since then, but the base recipe remains the same: Sauté minced ginger with garlic, onions, and chilies; add the innards, and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes in pork stock, laced with lemongrass stock. Season with salt, cracked black pepper and, of course, vinegar. When the innards are tender, pour in the pig’s blood and stir continuously for a couple of minutes until the blood thickens. Adjust the seasoning, and your dinuguan is done!
Of course, don’t forget to serve your dinuguan with its perfect partner: puto.
As mentioned, different versions have sprung up all over the Philippines. Here are the more popular ones:
Unlike the dinuguan that Tagalogs and Ilonggos are used to, Ilocanos’ version of this favorite Filipino dish is dry, oily, and on the crunchy side. (A little bit like the Crispy dinuguan that’s been making the rounds of Pinoy restaurants lately.) Dinardaraan still uses pig meat and innards, though. Ilocanos deep-fry the pig’s (thoroughly cleaned) intestines, plus a bit of pork loin and fat to keep things chewy. Some Ilocanos like their dinardaraan soupy, like how Tagalogs prepare theirs. Others prepare their dinardaraan with the pig’s blood curdled to a paste.
Northern Mindanao—“Sampayna or Champayna”
Apart from the usual ingredients—pork intestines, liver, and blood—sampayna also uses pork lung (cut into cubes) and banana heart. Similar to the dinardaraan of Ilocos, preparing sampayna involves frying the innards in their own oil until they get a little crispy. Which is when you cut them up into bite size and mix with the other ingredients. Like the Tagalog dinuguan, the blood sauce of sampayna is more soupy than dinardaraan’s
Pampanga’s version of pork blood stew incorporates a beloved Pinoy street food: cubes of blood. Tid-tad has a runny sauce and takes its bloodiness to the next level—cubes of solidified blood are mixed in with the usual pork innards. Of course, everything is cleaned and boiled thoroughly before being tossed into the stew pot. Tid-tad is a much beloved dish in Pampanga that it’s served all throughout the day—you can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, merienda (mid-day snacks), or dinner!
Perhaps the healthiest version of dinuguan there is, Batangenos’ sinunggaok has distinct differences from the version Tagalogs are used to. For one, sinunggaok uses only pork meat, none of those innards. Also, Batanguenos use tomatoes, not vinegar, as the souring ingredient of their sinunggaok. Finally, chunks of green papaya are tossed in (pleasantly adding fiber to the dish).
[If you’re into soup, also check out 6 perfect Pinoy stews for rainy days.]
As if to emphasize the star ingredient of this dish, Cebuanos like to say it twice (“dugo” is Filipino for “blood”). There are several versions of dugo-dugo within Cebu itself. Some versions add cubes of solidified blood, just like in Pampanga’s tid-tad. Other versions omit the pork liver from the dish, as liver sells at premium prices and they would rather use it solo for other dishes. In these versions, the innards are chopped so finely down to the millimeter, so that the end result is a pork blood stew without the recognizable ingredients.