How To Cook The Best Pork Nilaga

To have a fresh new appreciation for a dish, you need to discover how it’s made. Most of the time, we take most of the dishes we eat for granted. Yes, we certainly can appreciate how delicious it is, but that’s it! We eat, and we leave the dining table, and that’s the end of our connection with the dish. 

“Connection?” you might ask, but before being branded here as being too dramatic and exaggerated with the dishes, let me tell you that, yes, it is necessary, and of course, the better way to connect with a dish is to learn how to make it! And viola, we bet that you will have a constant connection in every dish that you make. Just continue reading, and we’ll give you an easy recipe that you’ll learn for the rest of your life. Out of all the recipes in the whole Philippines, this one will make you a master chef in no time.

nilagang baka in a plate with spoon
(Photo Credits to: deporecipe)

 This pork dish is one of the recipes you will constantly search for whenever you think of Filipino cuisine. It has the perfect taste that comforts you whether it is a rainy or sunny season, but it is more loved by the people when it is rainy, especially when it is served hot. Many Filipinos are away from the country. We always heard from everywhere that they already missed their home country’s cuisine. It is also why many people offer different versions of their recipes to show to the world and their kababayans to see and try. If you’re in a foreign land or here in our country, the Philippines, I bet to disagree, You’ll never regret learning how to make this dish. Many recipes are out there but come on, we can’t wait for you to try our version. You’ll constantly and literally bring this perfect dish anywhere, and it will be appreciated by many.

What Is Pork Nilaga?

How do we differ and stand out from neighboring Asian countries in terms of food culture? Boiled pork, also known as Nilagang Baboy, is one of the most famous dishes in the Philippines. It originated from European and American countries.

pork nilaga with fish sauce and chilies

This dish was derived from its sibling dish, boiled beef broth. Apart from that, this dish is much more budget-friendly, whereas the latter choice is considerably more costly, it requires a shorter preparation time. The meat in the dish is supported by other budget-friendly ingredients such as cabbage and Saba banana. You’ll get the Pork and sweetness’s meatiness, and the two mentioned main ingredients’ healthy vibe.

pork nilaga in a white bowl with chilies
(Photo Credits to: yummy)

Besides, there’s a delicious, savory broth with a hint of peppercorn. Its taste is constant as always. 

This classic dish represents the people’s skillful hands in producing a well-crafted dish derived from neighboring countries. It also shows the dish’s ability to adapt to different weather conditions and still leaves the people’s taste buds satisfied. Remember to not be too excited. Avoid sipping its liquid right away, and your tongue may get burned.

Easy, Yummy and Top Variants

We mentioned that the dish we are talking about could be an alternative to Nilagang Baka as it is more budget-friendly than the latter. In addition to this, it can be made in different variations too. You can constantly crave this delicious dish without the risk of eating the same ingredients repeatedly. There will be no significant change in their recipes, just changing the main ingredient. Here are a few to take note of. List it and try it some other time as well.


nilagang baboy with kalabasa in a bowl
(Photo Credits to: kawalingpinoy)

Kalabasa variety tweaks just one ingredient, the Saging na Saba. Just make sure to avoid those rotten ones. It provides a new twist for the boiled meat without ruining the harmony of the whole dish.

Even without the Saba providing the necessary sweetness, the squash smoothly fills the gap by providing a new flavor and a ‘mashy’ consistency without overpowering the other ingredients.


nilagang pork ribs in a white bowl
(Photo Credits to: simply-food-recipes)

This variety uses loin ribs as a substitute for the usual meat being used. This part is located at the rib cage next to the spare ribs of the pig. If you think that this cut is called ‘baby back ribs’ because it came from young pigs – then you’re wrong.

Easy and Great Troubleshooting Techniques

Let’s face it, your unwavering loyalty to your recipe book won’t always guarantee the results you’ve been expecting: results that can impress. We tried so many recipes in the past, yet; we also failed many times. 

We know how exciting it is, especially if it’s your first time to make this famous dish, to taste the dish you’ve ‘labored’ so hard. 

But there are times that problems can arise when you least expect it – and we know how frustrating it is, but what separates a fine chef from the average one is how they deal with unexpected headaches. Recipes are only guides; basic troubleshooting will save you.

So we’ll give you a list and improve your troubleshooting skills with these important tips in saving a troubled pork dish.

What if it tastes too bland?

Have you ever realized how wonderful salt can be? With just a little pinch, it can literally pull out all the ‘hiding’ flavors hiding deep in your boiled meat’. If your dish comes out too bland, then a little pinch of salt is all you need to let the hiding flavors rush throughout the dish. Just avoid putting too much salt at once. Just figure it first and then add little by little.

Most people make this common mistake of picking the wrong condiments to solve the ‘bland problem’ that only makes their boiled pork worse.

What if it tastes too salty?

If the salt is the savior of a super bland dish, what if this ingredient backfires and now plays a villain in a too salty dish?

Then it’s potatoes’ time to save the day! ‘Wait, what? What would it do with my Pinoy Boiled Pig’s Meat, you might ask. You don’t have to actually include them when you serve the dish to your guests. 

Their purpose is to act as a “sponge” to sip the excess saltiness in your boiled meat.

Cut a couple of these added ingredients in chunks and pop them in the pot. Let them sit for a while and remove them before serving.

Too salty? What if the latter trick doesn’t work?

If soaking up slices of potatoes doesn’t work, maybe it’s time for vinegar and sugar to take over.

The tartness of vinegar and the sweetness of sugar can certainly balance your boiled meat’s saltiness. 

This a tricky balancing act, we must warn you. If not used properly, Vinegar and sugar may completely ruin your ‘soup,’ so add these ingredients gradually – and with care. No one’s asking you to dump large amounts of vinegar and sugar in one go. The secret to achieving a perfect balance is to add, then taste, then add and taste again. Repeat this process until the over saltiness fades away.

Trivia: Benefits of Vegetables and such

This dish has three main ingredients: Pork belly, Saba Banana, and Cabbage, and they are loaded with so many nutrients that have various benefits for our bodies. With a hot bowl of this dish, you’ll surely shout ‘Happy Body’ instead of a mere ‘Happy Tummy.’

Despite knowing that this dish is delicious and tasty, did you know what these three main ingredients can offer?


pork belly on a plate
(Photo Credits to: raiseitkilliteatit)

The next thing we will say will surely make you have a second (third, fourth, or even a fifth) thought. According to a study, pork belly is now considered the 8th most nutritious food in the world. 

This will come as a total surprise for everyone, but of course, this fact is not an excuse to have a daily dose of meat slabs on your dining table. No, no, no. Just a reminder, make sure their color is a healthy pink color. Avoid buying meat that has an unhealthy color like brown or grey hue.

Moderate consumption of this part of meat will benefit your DNA and liver. Also, it helps create energy that will enable your body to be more efficient in various activities. It also provides much-needed B vitamins and minerals for the body.


one bunch of saba banana over green banana leaf
(Photo Credits to: bountyfood)

Saba Banana is packed with so many nutrients, like B vitamins, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron. Also, avoid consuming much of this fruit. To be safe. This wonder fruit also helps improve the body’s digestion, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, regulate circulation, enhance metabolic processes, and provide all these nutrients and benefits. May we remind you that we’re talking about just one fruit here?


half and shredded cabbage over chopping board and knife
(Photo Credits to: irenamacri)

This cruciferous vegetable can improve your heart and bone health, stabilize blood pressure, prevent inflammation, improve immunity, protect your skin, and maintain your sugar level. Cabbage also has a surprising ability to lower your risk of developing colon, prostate, and lung cancer. Practice picking the finest cabbage in the market and avoid selecting troubled cabbage that you cannot eat later. 

Also, it prevents free radicals from damaging our cells because of its vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which have antioxidant properties that contribute to the overall protection of our cells.

Good Tips


Without a doubt, this dish is one of the easiest dishes to prepare here in the Philippines. Its recipe seems like a piece of cake but don’t get fooled by it.

Aside from religiously following its step-by-step process, what really sets the finest boiled meat from the average ones is the meat’s tenderness (which some people tend to forget). 

When making this dish, the first thing you need to focus on is meat tenderness. Make sure to allot enough time for the meat to become tender, and this requires a quarter of an hour or more than an hour of simmering.Aside from the taste, it is the meat’s tenderness that will determine this specific dish’s success.

Best Served With

Yummy Fish Sauce with Chili Oil 

Expect that whenever a Boiled Pig’s meat is served on the table, a typical Asian would always hover and scan the whole dining table for some little saucers containing ‘patis’ or fish sauce with chili peppers. 

Right from the very start, Boiled Pig’s Meat soup is one and only loyal partner that complements its taste. Arguably, no one does it better. The soup kind of dish is already a complete package, but the ‘fish sauce/chili’ duo improves its taste even more. If our taste buds can only cast their votes, nothing could dominate the poll of our Boiled Pig’s Meat finest companions than the patis/chili dynamic duo.


It is not a new idea that we love rice. This is why Filipinos knew many recipes for viands. For us Filipinos, this is our mastery. Usually, we have one viand to partner with our favorite rice, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare another viand to compliment the rice and help it not be too dry. As we’ve mentioned before, you’ll never regret trying to make this dish. Just a few tries, and we’re sure that you’ll also master this all-time favorite dish! Visit Eat Like Pinoy for more delicious recipes!

Visit Eat Like Pinoy for more delicious recipes!

top view of nilagang baboy with saba banana and pechay, green beans and cabbage
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5 from 2 votes

Superb Pork Nilaga Recipe

Perfect dish for a rainy season and cold weather. Another variation of pork stew complemented with various vegetables.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Best Nilagang Baboy Recipe, Best Pork Adobo Recipe, How to cook the best Nilagang Baboy, Nilagang Baboy, Pork Recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 135kcal
Cost 5$ – 20$


  • 1 lbs Pork Ribs or Shoulder cut into cubes
  • 1 liter Water
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 pc Onion cubed
  • 2 pcs Banana (Saba) sliced and peeled
  • 7 pcs Green beans (Bitsuelas) sliced
  • 1 pc Cabbage whole, sliced
  • 1 bunch Pechay


  • Heat a pan, then put the pork ribs or shoulder, pour water into the pan. Cover and bring to boil.
  • While boiling, skim all the scum of the pork.
  • Add the salt, ground black pepper, and onion. Cover and cook for 45 to 60 minutes or until the pork is tender.
  • Then, put the banana and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the green beans, cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the cabbage and pechay. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Ladle soup and meat in a bowl. Serve with fish sauce and steamed rice and enjoy!


Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 3684mg | Potassium: 785mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 9383IU | Vitamin C: 95mg | Calcium: 241mg | Iron: 3mg
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