Traditional Filipino Pork Bopis recipe with heart, lung, and pork fat
Bopis is a dish made with pork’s heart and lungs. You read that correctly!
This is a familiar dish as a pulutan (snack) at any drinking party in the Philippines.
However, since Filipinos eat everything with rice, bopis also found its way to the humble Filipino dinner table.
This pork bopis recipe, though its main ingredient isn’t that accessible in, say, a supermarket, is a very easy dish to cook.
This article will talk more about bopis, its origins, recipes, and other related information.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Pork bopis recipe and preparation
- 2 Filipino Pork Bopis recipe
- 3 Bopis cooking tips
- 4 What is bopis?
- 5 How to eat bopis
- 6 FAQs
- 7 Takeaway
Pork bopis recipe and preparation
You can get pork’s heart and lungs at the butcher shop or at the town’s meat market. You can also try to get them from the supermarket; just ask the staff if they have some!
Don’t worry, it’s not as complex as it seems and I’ll share the secret to tasty bopis: lemongrass and bay leaves to remove the strong scent from the offal.
I will follow the bopis recipe with tips on how to make it even better and ways to substitute ingredients that may be hard to find.
Filipino Pork Bopis recipe
- canola oil
- ½ kg pork heart
- ½ kg pork lungs
- 300 g pork fat skin on
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 1 knot pandan leaves
- 3 cups vinegar
- 4 pcs bay leaves
- 7 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large red onion minced
- 1 cup pork stock
- 1 large red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 tbsp siling labuyo or cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp annatto powder dissolved in 3 tbsp stock
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- green chili pepper for garnish
- In large pot, add pork fat, heart, and lungs, lemongrass, pandan leaves, 1 cup of vinegar, 1 tbsp salt, and enough water to cover the meat.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove meat, let it cool, then dice finely. Set aside.
- In a heavy frying pan, heat oil and sauté garlic and onions until translucent.
- Add the chopped meat, siling labuyo (or cayenne pepper), and bay leaves. Stir fry for 3 minutes.
- Add bell pepper, 1 cup of vinegar, and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer on high heat until sauce thickens.
- Add more vinegar if you want a more sour taste.
- Add the annatto powder mixture, then season with fish sauce and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
- Simmer for 2 minutes, then place in big bell peppers and garnish with green chili pepper. Serve with hot rice.
For the fish sauce, you don’t want to get any old fish sauce, but this original flavor of patis.
Include this pork bopis recipe in your to-cook list and be ready for any surprise drinking party.
You can also try our bangus sisig recipe if you’re still looking for pulutans.
Bopis cooking tips
Bopis is a unique recipe, to say the least. There are a few things you should note before cooking the meal.
Clean out the lungs
First of all, if you’re using pork, the lungs should be well cleaned before you start the recipe. They have a very strong odor and cleaning in advance will keep this under control.
If you’re eating out, the cook will clean the lungs in advance.
Home cooks can do it themselves by simmering them in wine, vinegar, or a combination of lemon, grass, annatto, and pandan.
Mince the meat well
When preparing the meat, it’s important to make sure it’s minced well. This will ensure that it has the fine texture that those who eat bopis have come to expect.
It should be cooked in a wok at high heat so the garlic and onions are sautéed until browned.
You may also add chili, vinegar, carrots, or stock, depending on the taste you’re going for.
Simmer for the right consistency
Next, you’ll want to simmer the meat to the desired consistency. Some prefer their bopis to be liquidy while others like a drier taste.
The longer you simmer, the drier it’ll be.
Once it’s at the proper consistency, you can add salt, pepper, and siling labuyo chilies to taste.
Many people also flavor bopis with annatto, which is an orange flavoring made from the seed of the tropical Bixa orellana tree.
Its taste can be described as spicy, tangy, and peppery. It’s often used to flavor beer in Filipino bars.
Find ideal taste balance
You must also make sure your bopis has a balanced flavor.
Here are some ways to ensure it has the ideal taste:
- Don’t make it too sweet: Some people try to counter the bitter taste of bopis by adding sugar. However, if you add too much, you’ll make the bopis too sweet. Fortunately, you can bring back the balance by adding vinegar and a pinch of salt.
- Too spicy: Bopis is usually spicy, but if it’s overkill for diners with more of a mild palette, you can counter the spiciness by adding sugar.
- Too salty: Bopis tends to taste good with a dash of salt, but if you add too much and it becomes too salty, try adding a little bit more of everything else to balance things out.
Substitutions and variations
There are many variations of the pork bopis recipe, so feel free to experiment with different ingredients.
For example, you can use chicken organs or beef offal instead of pork, or try using different types of peppers for a more unique flavor.
Tomato may also be added to the stew if you want a slightly acidic flavor.
You can add different vegetables and fruits like carrot, pineapple, ginger, bay leaves, bell peppers, radish, and kinchay.
You can also add coconut milk and annatto water to make it have a nice color. These are the possible ingredients that can be added for variety, depending on personal preference.
The usual suspects for seasoning and chilies like salt and pepper can be substituted in this recipe as well as fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, broth, and bird’s eye and finger chilies (both known as siling haba).
Spices, ingredients, and cooking methods vary widely from region to region when it comes to this mouthwatering dish but they are fairly similar.
The most popular variation of bopis is Kapampangan Pulutok.
Spices, ingredients, and cooking methods vary widely from region to region when it comes to this mouthwatering dish.
Putulok, which means “pumuputok” in Tagalog, is aptly named because of the popping sounds the meat makes while sizzling in the pan.
The natural oil from the meat is released as the Bopis are fried in the pan until the sauce has disintegrated. Therefore, this version has a more concentrated flavor and a crispier texture.
In the Southern region of the Philippines, people also add pork spleen and kidneys to their bopis but this doesn’t really change the taste.
What is bopis?
Bopis refers to a Filipino dish of pork or beef lungs and heart sautéed in tomatoes, chilies, and onions.
It’s Spanish in origin and is often served with alcoholic beverages and eaten as a bar snack, similar to tapas. It can also be eaten as a meal when accompanied by wild rice.
For most Americans, BOPIS is an acronym that stands for “buy online, pick up in-store”. They may not realize it’s also the name of an unusual Filipino dish with a spicy kick.
Origin of bopis
There are many different theories about the origin of bopis. Some people say that it was invented by Chinese immigrants who came to the Philippines in the 1800s.
Others say that it was created by Filipino farmers who needed a way to use all of the parts of the pig.
But the most likely background of this dish is Spanish. Bopis is a Flipino dish with Spanish origins.
However, the Spanish connection is difficult to trace back, so it’s hard to establish exactly when and where it started in the Philippines.
In Filipino culture, it’s often associated with evil spirits who shapeshift to become monster-like creatures that eat internal organs.
No one knows for sure where bopis came from, but everyone agrees that it is a delicious dish!
How to eat bopis
Bopis is best served as a pulutan. This means that it should be eaten as a snack with beer or other alcoholic drinks, similar to tapas.
When eating bopis, you should use your hands to tear the meat into small pieces. You can then dip the meat into a sauce made of vinegar, soy sauce, and chili peppers.
Basically, you can serve bopis as an appetizer before other main dishes or as a main dish alongside rice of all types.
Bopis is an unusual meal to eat, but here are the ways it’s best enjoyed:
- With rice: Bopis is often served with hot rice. The rice helps absorb the meat’s odor and strong aftertaste.
- With fried fish: Bopis goes well with the saltiness of fish. Just make sure the fish isn’t too salty.
- With fish sauce: Fish sauce helps counter bopis’ dominantly salty taste.
- Beer: Bopis is often served with beer and other alcoholic beverages. This may be because people have to be a little tipsy to work up the nerve to try the dish!
How to store bopis
Bopis should not be stored in the freezer at all or the texture just won’t be good once it thaws.
Instead, if you have leftover bopis, you can put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When reheating, don’t use a microwave. Place the bopis in a pan and reheat it that way but be sure to stir constantly to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
Some other similar dishes using offal and organs are (pork) sisig and dinakdakan.
Sisig is a Filipino dish made from pig parts that are usually not eaten. These include the head, liver, and heart.
The meat is marinated and then grilled or pan-fried. It is then chopped into small pieces and served with a sauce made from vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and chili peppers.
Dinakdakan is an Ilocano dish made of pork blood and innards. The meat is cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic until tender. It is usually served with rice.
All of these dishes are made with pork blood and innards. They are all cooked in a similar way, and they are all usually served with rice.
Where to eat the best bopis in the USA?
You can try bopis at restaurants in Los Angeles like Kubo, or in Portland at Tambayan restaurant.
Many smaller Filipino restaurants might have this dish on the menu but the best way to taste it is to make it at home.
Where can you eat the best bopis in the Philippines?
There are many places that serve bopis in the Philippines.
If you decide to visit the country, here are a few recommended restaurants that make the best bopis:
- First Colonial Grill: Located in Legazpi City, The First Colonial Grill doesn’t have much of a social media presence. But their outstanding customer reviews have put them on the map. In addition to their great bopis dish, people can’t get enough of their terrific ice cream.
- Waway’s: Waway’s is another restaurant located in Legazpi City. It’s known for serving authentic Bicol food and it offers a lunchtime buffet that has spicy milk-cooked specialties, kare-kare, and tempura vegetables.
- Archipelago 7107: This restaurant is located in Pasig, Philippines. It’s so well-liked, you may have a hard time getting in the door. They’re known for their superior bopis, as well as their wide variety of delicious rice dishes.
What is Bopis street food?
The street food version of bopis is the same as the regular dish. It can be bought from a food stall and it’s served on top of a bed of steamed white rice.
You should also get some beer or a cocktail to go with it – it helps the food go down easy. Most of the bopis from street vendors is spicy so be prepared!
Once you clean the organs to remove any unpleasant odors and combine them with delicious vegetables and condiments, this dish can compete with any stew!
Bopis is definitely an unusual meal and it isn’t for the faint of heart.
The good thing about bopis is that you can always make it spicier by adding all kinds of spicy chilies and peppers – this masks the flavors of the offal.
Will you be brave enough to take the plunge?
Rather have something everyone is sure to like? These 3 Filipino Dishes are among TOP 100 World’s Best!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.