Pinapaitan is a very popular dish in the Northern Part of the Philippines more specifically in Ilocos Region, the original dish consists of goat and ox innards and its meat flavoured with bile, tamarind and chillies. This is not for the faint hearted as this will be up in the ranks of the strangest dishes together with Haggis, Eskimo Ice Cream, Blood Pudding, Frog Sashimi and Maggot Cheese.

Pinapitan came from the word “pait” which means bitter which in turn uses the animal bile liquid as the flavouring agent. I remember I spent my college days in Baguio (The Summer capital of the Philippines) which is in the northern region and one of my friends Uncle always cook this dish and I really love it, it’s good for cold season specially in Baguio which is relatively cold compared to other parts of the Philippines.

Today in where I live it is hard to get the ingredients specially the bile that’s why we need to improvise some ingredients and in this case we will be using bitter gourds as the bittering agent. By using the improvised ingredients it’s easy to serve it to non-Filipino guests as it would look less like an episode of Fear Factor for them.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 600g ox tripe, cleaned, cooked and sliced into small pieces
  • 250g beef heart, sliced into small pieces
  • 250g beef liver, sliced into small pieces
  • 250g beef brisket, sliced into small pieces
  • 3 pcs medium sized bitter gourd, seeded and sliced into large chunks
  • 1 big packet sinigang mix (tamarind mix)
  • 1 to 1.5 liters beef stock
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 whole garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb size ginger, crushed and sliced finely
  • 2 medium size red onion, chopped
  • 6 green finger chillies (siling haba)
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • fish sauce
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • oil
  1. Marinate liver for 30 minutes in vinegar then set aside.
  2. In a pot sauté garlic, ginger and onion in oil.
  3. Add all meat ingredients except for the liver, stir fry for 1 minute until some brown colour appear on the meat.
  4. Add beef stock, bitter gourd and chillies (do not slice). Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Drain the vinegar out of the liver.
  6. Remove the chunks of bitter gourd and place them on a blender, blend well.
  7. Place blended bitter gourd into a fine sieve or a muslin cloth, run some hot stock on top while draining directly on the pot, this will get the maximum bitterness of the bitter gourd while making the soup clear.
  8. Add sinigang mix and liver simmer for additional 10 minutes
  9. Flavour with fish sauce (according to your taste) and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Some bittering agent used apart from beef bile that I heard of but not yet tried are fish bile and coffee.


13 Responses

  1. Hmm, it’s just hard to make the word innards sound appetizing. I give you kuddos for trying.

  2. mjskit says:

    My mother used to make tripe in many, many ways. Sometimes it was good and sometimes, not so good! This dish with the brisket and beef stock actually looks good. Sounds rich with flavor.

  3. Kristy says:

    This one isn’t for the faint of heart. There are some interesting ingredients in there. 😉

  4. Carolyn Chan says:

    Wow you aren’t kidding when you say it isn’t for the faint hearted…

  5. I have had a beef heart sitting in my freezer for eons, unsure what to do with it. Pinning!

  6. Harold Liban says:

    My immigrant parents came from Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, and Angadanan, Isabela Provinces in the Cayagan Valley of Northern Luzon, Philippines. They were indigenous Gaddangs, not Ilocano. I want to emphasize “Gaddang”, my indigenous ancestral tribe’s name, because whenever I was asked by new Filipino friends where my parents came from and I tell them, they instinctively think I’m an Ilocano, the dominant group of people in those provinces since after 1860.

    My father’s profession was cooking, at our family home (mom cooked at home too). My father was the best known cook among the Gaddangs during his lifetime in San Francisco. When I was a young boy in the 1940s growing up in San Francisco, I used to accompany my father to shop in Chinatown for fresh pork, beef, freshly dressed chickens (father selected the ones he wanted from a cage of chickens) at the only butcher shop he preferred where bile, and blood were also sold, and other markets for fresh Chinese vegetables. At home father always cooked Papaitan (I think the word Pinapaitan is an Ilocano word) and that’s the way father pronounced it without the letters “Pina”. The best description I recall was the kind of tripe father used in his Papaitan which looked like tiny black finger-like protrusions, as in a floor carpet. This black tripe cut in small strips cooked with bile and his special seasonings always turns out to be a tasty treat (masarap). I acquired the bitter taste for papitan, and the taste of bittermelon (an Asian / Filipino vegetable called “Ampalaya”) since my childhood days into adulthood when father was still alive. I’m not certain if my siblings liked papaitan, but I know they do like ampalaya. When I used to tell my children what that black meat was, they made a distorted face cringing at the thought of me eating animal innerds. I have tasted other cooks papaitan, but none as good as my father’s recipe. Since my father’s death in the 1970s, I haven’t eaten any Papaitan. My wives didn’t like it either, only me.

    Chef Pol Nepomuceno, Chef Andy Adra, First Cook Pete V. Liban my father was one of three cooks at the world reknowned Shadows (Bavarian) Restaurant on Upper Montgomery Street, were all Filipinos cooking the German Cuisine.

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