Everything You Need To Know About Menudo

This meaty Filipino ulam dish not only packs a lot of flavor; it's so easy to make!

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From parties to street-side restaurants, you'll most likely find menudo on the menu. Filipinos love a to feed a crowd, and this chunky and flavorful pork stew not only uses relatively cheaper ingredients; it is easy to make, especially for a big group of diners (or a small group of big eaters).

What is Menudo?

a hearty searving of pork menudo in a white bowl
Filipino pork menudo is a pork and liver stew in a tomato-based sauce.
Photo by Majoy Siason
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Menudo is a Filipino tomato-based pork stew made with small, chopped pieces of pork, pork or beef liver, diced potatoes and carrots. Some recipes also include bell peppers and sliced hotdogs. The part of the pork used in this versatile dish can vary; while kasim or pork shoulder is the most commonly used part, any other meaty part of the pig can also be used, like lomo or pork loin, liempo or pork belly, and pigue or pork ham.

The name "menudo" hails from the Spanish word "menudo", meaning "small," most likely because one of the defining characteristics of the Filipino pork menudo is the way that the ingredients are cut: all in bite-sized pieces that are no bigger than an inch.

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How to Cook Menudo

The Filipino pork menudo may be a stew, but because of the small cut of its ingredients, it doesn't take as long to make as other stews, which usually take hours to tenderize the meat.

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To cook menudo, start off by sautéing garlic and onion in a saucepan, over medium heat. (Add bell peppers at this stage, too, if adding). When the onions are translucent, add the pork and keep stirring to cook evenly; you'll want the meat to brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Then, add tomato sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and water. Stir to mix, and then add bay leaves. Cover and simmer until the pork is tender. Add the liver (and sliced hotdogs, if its addition is preferred) and simmer until the liver is cooked, about five minutes. Lastly, add the diced potatoes and carrots. Simmer, stirring occasionally to avoid the sauce from burning on the bottom of the pan, until the vegetables are softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

How to Serve Menudo

a cup of white rice served with menudo on a white plate
It's hard to enjoy menudo without rice!
Photo by Shutterstock
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Menudo is a popular Filipino ulam or viand, which means that it is usually served with hot rice. It's a no-frills dish that uses economical ingredients, which is why it's commonly served in carinderias and Filipino roadside food stalls. It can also be part of the menu during big celebrations, but usually, it's an everyday lunch or dinner dish that can be made easily at home.

Yummy Editor Tip: Aside from serving it with hot steamed rice, you can also use garlic rice. If you want to make it a breakfast meal (or just want to give your menudo meal extra oomph), serve it with a sunny-side-up egg with crispy sides

Menudo Recipes

Filipino menudo is most commonly made with pork, and while its tomato-based sauce is tangy, salty, and tempered by a bit of sweetness, its signature taste is completed by the mellow bitterness of liver and the earthy hint of bay leaves. Like many Filipino ulam dishes, each household or cook has a different ratio of these ingredients, and there will be variations in flavor and taste, even among homes in the same area.

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Here's our classic pork menudo recipe, and here's a video on how to make menudo!

Regional Menudo Recipe Variations

1 Batangas-style Menudo - Batangas

batangas style menudo with green peas in a white serving bowl
You know you're going to have second servings of this flavorful Batangas-style menudo.
Photo by Roselle Miranda

This version of menudo has less sauce, but by no means does it have less flavor! Aside from the usual pork menudo ingredients, Batangas-style menudo also has raisins and green peas.

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Here's how to cook menudo, Batangas-style.

2 Waknatoy - Marikina City

Marikina menudo with sliced sweet pickles in a white bowl
This Marikina menudo dish has a special ingredient!
Photo by Riell Santos

Waknatoy is Marikina City's version of menudo. It is made the same way as the classic pork menudo, but it also has Vienna sausage, chorizo, and red bell peppers. However, what makes it unique is its tangier and sweeter flavor due to the addition of sweet pickles!

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Try this Waknatoy recipe.

3 Menudo Sulipeña - Pampanga

flatlay of menudo sulipena in a clay dish with a bowl of rice on the side
Menudo Sulipeña stands out on this list, not only because of its taste but because it's actually made with oxtail!
Photo by Lilen Uy

While this traditional Pampangueno dish shares the same name as the common pork menudo, it cannot be more different. Instead of small pork chunks and liver, menudo Sulipeña is an oxtail stew. Unlike pork menudo, it also has ham, chorizo de bilbao, chickpeas, and red bell peppers. It's still tomato-based, but the sauce is enriched with tomato paste and brandy.

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Try this menudo Sulipeña recipe. You can also watch how to make menudo Sulipeña here.

4 Ginamay or Ginagmay - Cebu Province and Visayas

menudo with green peas in a big blue bowl, also called ginamay or ginagmay in cebu and visayas
Menudo is called ginamay in Cebu or ginagmay in the Visayas region.
Photo by Shutterstock

Ginamay is what Cebuanos call menudo, and it can also be called Ginagmay in other Visayan regions. It is similar to the pork menudo of Luzon; the only difference, aside from the name, is that Ginamay or Ginagmay can sometimes also have green peas.

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Other Menudo Recipe Variations

Just because menudo is most commonly made with pork doesn't mean it's the only meat you can use to make this delicious crowd-pleaser! Here are other ways you can make menudo:

• Chicken Menudo Recipe (Watch how to make it here)

• Beef Menudo with Hotdogs Recipe

• Tokwa Menudo Recipe

Pork Giniling na Menudo Recipe/ Ground Pork Menudo Recipe

• Spicy Menudo Recipe (Watch how to make it here)

Tips for Making the Most Flavorful Menudo

menudo in a white bowl topped with a single red chili
You can make your menudo spicy!
Photo by Bianca Laxamana
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1 Don't be afraid to play around with the flavoring agents.

Just because it's tomato-based doesn't mean that you can only make menudo with tomato sauce. If you want a stronger tomato taste, use tomato paste. Want a flavor boost? Aside from seasoning your menudo properly, you can also enhance the flavor of your menudo by adding ingredients inspired by regional menudo recipes, like pickle relish or, if you want to make your menudo more savory and aromatic, add a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

2 Don't like pork liver? Substitute with other meat livers or liver spread.

It's hard to achieve the earthy undertones of menudo without using liver, but not everybody enjoys eating it. If the problem lies in pork liver, you can switch it out with beef liver; note, however, that while beef liver can be milder in taste, it can become more bitter than pork liver when it's overcooked.

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If you simply don't enjoy eating chopped liver of any kind, you can use liver spread instead! This way, you get the flavor, but don't have to pick out the liver from your menudo.

3 Make sure to cut your ingredients into small, uniformly-sized pieces.

We're not saying this just for aesthetics (although this is an important reason too): chopping your menudo ingredients into uniformly-sized pieces cuts down on the total cooking time. Smaller pieces cook faster, and this is why menudo is such a convenient meal to make. Even though you're adding your veggies later and cook faster then the meat, it still pays to make them evenly sized, too. This way, potatoes and carrots will also soften at the same rate together.

Menudo Storage Tips

ground pork menudo in a big serving bowl with a bowl of rice and salt and pepper on the side
You can easily make big batches of menudo (like this ground pork version) and enjoy it later!
Photo by Daks Angeles
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1 For short-term storage, simply let it cool and refrigerate.

In fact, menudo is one of those dishes that taste better the day after. Letting the flavors marinate and deepen overnight before reheating it and adding it onto piping hot rice makes for a mouthwatering menudo meal.

2 Menudo freezes well.

What makes menudo such a convenient ulam dish is how easily you can make big batches of it. What if you've made too much? No problem! Freeze it in serving-sized containers and you can simply reheat it when you need a quick but filling ulam. You can keep menudo frozen indefinitely, but to be safe: consume it within two weeks!

3 You can reheat in the microwave; just keep it covered!

Convenience is the name of the menudo game... and what can be more convenient than popping your chilled or frozen menudo in the microwave? To reheat using a microwave, make sure you've stored your menudo in a microwave-safe container and adjust the cover to be slightly ajar. This will allow the menudo to heat up without sucking in the cover making it hard to open, but it will keep your microwave clean from sauce splashes in case it simmers and boils.

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For frozen menudo, it's best to defrost it in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours. But if you don't have the time, you can still use the defrost or lowest setting of your microwave. This helps it to heat up more evenly than using higher heat settings. Make sure to stir the menudo after every round of heating once it begins to thaw. Of course, if you don't have a microwave, you can always transfer your menudo into a pot and reheat it on the stove.

Trivia about Menudo:

Mexican menudo served in a flat bowl
This Mexican menudo is a traditional soup made with tripe and a chili pepper-based broth.
Photo by Shutterstock
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• There is a Mexican menudo that cannot be more different from Filipino menudo! Filipino menudo is a stew made with pork and liver chunks and a tomato-based sauce while Mexican menudo is a traditional soup featuring beef tripe and a red chili pepper based-broth. It is herbier and spicier than the Filipino menudo as it includes oregano and cumin as well.

• Did you know that there's a boy band called Menudo? Menudo was a Puerto Rican boy band that jumpstarted singer-songwriter Ricky Martin's career. It was formed in the 1970s, and they were so popular that they even had their own TV series and movie. 

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