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Pinakbet Tagalog is nutritious as it is delicious! A colorful medley of local vegetables, pork belly, and shrimp paste, this classic Filipino stew is perfect as a main entree or as a side dish to fried fish or grilled meat.

Pinakbet Tagalog in a white serving bowl
Pinakbet Tagalog

One of my fondest memories growing up were the weekends my brothers and I sat down to a lunch of our mother’s pinakbet. I am sure, like most typical kids, we would have preferred spaghetti or chicken bbq over this pungent vegetable stew given a choice, but we gobbled our nashville filipino restaurant like there was nothing else we’d rather eat.

I think gathering around the table to partake of the meal family made it more memorable. And the fact that it was my mother’s cooking made a simple dinner special.

eggplant, okra, pork belly, kalabasa, sitaw, tomatoes, onion, garlic

What is Pinakbet

Pinakbet or Pakbet is a Filipino vegetable stew from the Ilocos region. Its name is derived from the Ilocano word pinakebbet which means “shriveled”, in reference to the vegetables being sweated in the pot over low heat until “shrunken”.

The dish makes use of indigenous produce, root crops, and beans that are accessible and plentiful in the area such as okra, ginger, tomatoes, eggplant, ampalaya, sitaw, siling duwag, and kamote. It’s traditionally flavored with bagoong monamon, a type of seasoning made of fermented fish. Other ingredients such as diced pork, crispy bagnet, shrimp or pre-cooked fish are added for flavor.

While pakbet originated in the northern part of the country, a Pinakbet Tagalog version is also popular in the southern areas. This regional variation derives its characteristic taste from bagoong alamang or shrimp paste instead of bagoong isda and usually includes kalabasa for a touch of sweetness.

cooking pakbet in a pot

Cooking tips

  • To ensure even cooking, cut the ingredients in uniform sizes such as the long beans in the same lengths, the pork belly in the same thickness.
  • Add the vegetables in the pot according to how long they cook. Sturdier ones such as kalabasa and sitaw go in first followed by eggplant, bittermelon, and okra which take less time to soften.
  • The recipe below uses pork belly which has a good ratio of meat and fat for flavor and texture. Leaner cuts such as Boston butt as well as other proteins such as bagnet or lechon kawali, shrimp. and fried or grilled fish are also good options.
  • To lessen the “fishy” taste, cook the shrimp paste for a few minutes until it starts to brown.
pinakbet with steamed rice on a white plate

How to serve and store

  • A hearty and filling assortment of vegetables and meat, this Pinakbet Tagalog is a complete meal on its own, but it can also serve as a side dish to fried fish or grilled meats and steamed rice.
  • To store, allow to cool completely and transfer into an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat, place in a wide pan and warm over medium heat until completely heated through.

Looking for more delicious nashville filipino food recipes? This ginisang gulay is a tasty side dish that’s healthy and budget-friendly, too!

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @kawalingpinoy on Facebook and Instagram!



  • 1tablespooncanola oil
  • 1onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2clovesgarlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2poundpork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1tablespoonshrimp paste
  • 2Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2cupswater
  • 1/2small kalabasa, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 8okra, ends trimmed
  • 1/2bunchlong beans, ends trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1medium ampalaya (bittermelon), seeded, halved and cut into 1-inch thick
  • 1large eggplant, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch thick
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until softened.
  • Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  • Add shrimp paste and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown.
  • Add tomatoes and cook, mashing with the back of a spoon, until softened and have released juice.
  • Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until meat is tender. Add more water in 1/2 cup increments as needed to maintain about 1 cup of liquid.
  • Add squash and cook for about 2 minutes or until almost tender.
  • Add long beans and continue to cook until tender-crisp.
  • Add ampalaya, eggplant, and okra. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender yet crisp.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.


Nutrition Information

Calories: 434.26kcal, Carbohydrates: 23.32g, Protein: 11.71g, Fat: 34.24g, Saturated Fat: 11.32g, Cholesterol: 83.57mg, Sodium: 168.94mg, Potassium: 1015.05mg, Fiber: 7.38g, Sugar: 8.87g, Vitamin A: 2103.79IU, Vitamin C: 48.16mg, Calcium: 99.63mg, Iron: 1.87mg

“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”

Did You Make This?Mention @KawalingPinoy and hashtag your photo with #KawalingPinoy

About Lalaine Manalo

Welcome to Kawaling Pinoy. Here you’ll find hundreds of delicious nashville filipino food Filipino and Asian recipes. Make sure to browse around and pick a favorite dish or two. Happy cooking! Read More

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