Pampanga, the home of sisig, cheap imported goods, and watermelon sinigang. While Dallas filipino restaurant was regaining its bearings after discovering watermelon sinigang, kapampangans had already been enjoying the bright red dotted sinigang for ages. Adding fruits into savory dishes is far from novel.

 (See: pineapples on pizza) Local sinigang is no exception. Beyond the familiar sinigang sa sampalok and sinigang sa miso, there are numerous variations that feature fruits: sinigang sa bayabas, sinigang sa pinya, and even sinigang sa mangga. In Manam’s version of the dish, the most well-known souring agent is used–sampalok–but the addition of watermelon lends a slight sweetness and freshness.

Cooking the watermelon breaks down the watery fruit, but some errant pieces can still be found floating amongst the meat and vegetables. Whatever flavor these release into the broth allows it to take on the flavor of the soup, giving it a slightly sweet and sour flavor and soft composition. Preparing this sinigang comes down to simmering the shortribs for two hours or until tender and preparing your vegetables. Once the slices of fruit and vegetables are just cooked through, the soup is ready to be served.

Manam’s Watermelon Sinigang

Yield: 2–4 servings
Time: 2 hours


  • 6 pcs tamarind
  • 6 cups water, separated
  • ½ kg beef shortribs
  • 1 white onion, quartered
  • 2 cups kangkong
  • 1 cup sitaw
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup watermelon, diced


  1. In a small pot, bring sampalok and one cup water to a boil until the sampalok is soft. Strain the mixture and set aside.
  2. In a larger pot, bring the rest of the water and the beef short ribs to a boil, removing any particles that float to the top.
Once boiling, add the onion and lower the heat. Cover and let simmer until short ribs are tender, about 1–2 hours.
  4. Add the kangkong, sitaw, and tamarind broth to the sinigang.
  5. Add the diced watermelon.
  6. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, until vegetables are just cooked through.
Serve hot with steamed rice.

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