Exploring bold Flavors with a twist in every bite. A delicious journey you won’t want to miss! #FoodAdventures. Savory and zesty pork and tendon stew with a twist! Try this unique recipe with a citrusy kick.
Pata Linaga is a beloved dish hailing from the culinary-rich regions of Bacolod and Iloilo. Everyone in these parts has their own unique way of preparing it. At its core, it’s a simple yet soul-satisfying soup, where pork hock is simmered in a fragrant broth enriched with spices and aromatics. What sets it apart is the way the collagen from the pork hock melts into the soup, creating a lusciously thick texture that’s reminiscent of the finest ramen broths—your mouth thickening with delight as the collagen caresses your lips.
Enter Salam-ukan, a word that translates to “nabulunan” or “gagged” in Filipino. It’s a delightful dish that traces its origins back to Boyet Susvilla’s mother, who created it and passed it down to her family. Today, it graces the menu of their restaurant, also aptly named Salam-ukan, with multiple branches in and around Iloilo City.
This flavourful journey began in 1969 when Boyet’s mother started selling the dish. In 1981, his sisters took over the shop when she decided to retire. Seven years ago, Boyet decided to join the tradition by selling his own rendition of the dish. The original recipe cantered around cooked pata (pork hock), but Boyet elevated it by adding cow’s meat, intestine, heart, tendons, tripe, lime juice, and a secret blend of herbs and spices. The result is a bowl of soup that’s comforting, zesty, hearty, and bold, simmered to perfection over six long hours.
While it may not have gained the same fame as batchoy and molo, salam-ukan stands on its own as a delightful, comforting dish. It carries a bolder, spicier flavour profile compared to traditional nilaga, thanks to its rich mix of pata, cow’s meat, intestine, heart, tendons, and tripe. These ingredients are lovingly cooked for hours, infusing the broth with a symphony of Flavors, secret herbs, and spices. But here’s the twist—there’s an unexpected ingredient that adds that extra oomph: Mountain Dew.
The introduction of the lime soda was purely accidental, a result of a clumsy spill during Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 when Boyet took charge of cooking the nilaga. Surprisingly, it brought an irresistible zest to the dish that has since become a signature element of Salam-ukan’s recipe.
Salam-ukan Pata and Linaga, located along Locsin Street in Bacolod City, boasts a unique take on the traditional beef stew soup, Nilaga. It’s a harmonious blend of sourness and saltiness that sets it apart from other Nilaga dishes. The meat is tender beyond imagination, making each spoonful a delightful experience.
I, personally, have yet to try this culinary gem, but after watching numerous videos and reading about it, I couldn’t resist attempting to recreate it at home. The online knowledge gathered from those who have savoured its Flavors guided me in crafting my own version. While it may not be the exact recipe, I can attest that this dish is the epitome of comfort food—savory, thick, not overly rich, meaty yet tender, slightly spicy, and subtly sweet. It’s the perfect companion to a steaming bowl of rice, and it’s sure to warm your heart and soul with every spoonful.
In a small saucepan, heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil over low heat. Add the annatto seeds and stir until the oil turns a vibrant red colour, then remove from heat. Strain, discarding the seeds.
In a large pot, sauté garlic and onions with the prepared annatto oil over medium heat until fragrant and onions are translucent.
Add the beef tendons and sauté for a few minutes to infuse them with the aromatic Flavors.
Pour enough water to cover both the tendons and pork hock. Add the celery, lemongrass, and whole red chillies. Season with salt and black pepper.
Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the pork hock to the same pot. Pour in the 250 ml of Mountain Dew and top up with water to fully submerge both the tendons and pork hock.
Cover the pot and bring it to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for an additional 2-3 hours, or until the pork hock is tender and the tendons are almost melting. Keep an eye on it and add more water if needed to ensure everything is submerged.
Remove the lemongrass and whole red chillies.
Stir in the lemon juice and fish sauce. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or fish sauce as needed.
Serve the Pata Linaga in bowls, making sure to include a piece of pork hock, beef tendons, and a ladleful of the flavourful broth. Garnish with additional red chillies for extra heat if desired.