Pinakbet, a hearty Filipino stew, is made with perhaps the most motley medley of vegetables ever gathered together in one pot. Traditionally, you’ll encounter string beans, eggplant, calabaza squash, okra, tomato, and bitter melon.
The interesting array of vegetables not only contribute a variety of texture, from the gelatinous silkiness of the okra to the fresh crunch of the string beans, but also an appealing range of colors. Think of the deep purple of eggplant and the vibrant orange in the flesh of the calabaza squash. As one would imagine, the flavors are just as dynamic.
This vegetable stew from the Ilocos region of the Phillipines is irresistibly complex.
Now, imagine it with pork. The Original Barrio Fiesta of Manila in North Hills serves up a great pork pinakbet variation.
Tender chunks of pork belly permeated by bagoong, a salty fermented shrimp sauce, mingle with the other ingredients to infuse a savory, sweet, pungent, earthy, acerbic, and briny carnival of tastes. The bagoong also lends the stew a pink tint.
Pinakbet pork is probably one of the most interesting and flavorful Filipino foods I’ve had since discovering balut and dinuguan years ago, only sans the duck embryo and pork blood. If you are fond of Filipino cuisine, pinakbet is a sure bet.
The Original Barrio Fiesta of Manila, 16150 Nordhoff St., North Hills, (818) 920-3900