Pinapaitan ~ Lasang Pinoy!

The first Lasang Pinoy event is here, and it is to commemorate Ninoy Aquino Day. I am ignorant to political details so I wouldn’t be able to tell you much about the background of Philippine politics that catapulted Benigno Aquino Jr. to legendary status. To most Filipinos, he is akin to JFK to Americans. Most Filipinos will remember where they were and what they were doing that fateful day 22 years ago when Ninoy Aquino was gunned down at the airport, his feet not having even the chance to once more touch the homeland he would die for. He had become a symbol of hope from the corrupt dictatorship of then president Marcos.

I was just concluding my first year in college in 1983, and while the assassination shocked and horrified me, the ensuing revolution filled me with pride to be Filipino. You can say these times were bitter sweet for us. So I offer an Ilokano dish that is both bitter and comforting.

Pinapaitan, roughly translated as bitter meat, gets its bitter taste from beef bile. It is an acquired taste, certainly; but I think it aptly reflects the times subsequent to the assassination. Sometimes we were ashamed to be Filipinos to have a government so corrupt and insecure that it could not see the needs of its people, then we became filled with pride at the integrity of the masses who took to the streets in order to preserve democracy in their country, all in the name of peace and love. Pinapaitan is sort of like that. The bitter taste assaults your taste buds, then as the soup reaches the back of your throat the sourness and saltiness counters the initial assault and the mingling of flavors and warmth of the soup comforts you, reaching deep to caress your sinuses, then your mind lets you know, it’s ok….that little spice makes you see colors once more. You realize the possibilities and can’t help but want for more.

Here’s what you need to transform:

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2 tablespoons of Oil
6 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 whole Onion, chopped
1 inch of fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced
1 pound Beef Tripe, pre-boiled and sliced
1 pound boneless Beef, sliced thin
1/2 pound Beef Liver, sliced
1 teaspoon Beef Bile
2 tablespoons of Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 chili peppers (optional)
Lime (optional)

Parboil the tripe in a pot full of water with a dash of vinegar until tender. Cool, and slice accordingly. In a bowl, marinade the sliced beef liver with the 2 tablespoons of vinegar.

Heat oil in a pot and sautee the garlic, onions and ginger until fragrant. Add beef and stirfry for a few minutes. Add the tripe and enough water to cover, about 5 to 6 cups. Simmer until the beef is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the liver soaked in vinegar. Cook for a few minutes more until the liver is tender. Add the bile and chili pepper if you are using them, and cook a couple minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Ā Note:

I started by adding just half a teaspoon of the bile and tasted it before adding more. You can add more or less depending on your liking. My dad would probably add more than a teaspoon of bile were he cooking this. He likes his pinapaitan to “bite”. At the table, I again adjust the seasonings by adding a squirt of lime or lemon for an added zing, and more chili for added heat.

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26 comments on “Pinapaitan ~ Lasang Pinoy!
  1. eva says:

    i am ilocana but I don’t know how to cook pinapaitan. I will try this recipe. thanks.

  2. Tess says:

    My dad can cook pinapaitan good. It’s always been one of my favorite filipino food. I really don’t know what comes with it and the only thing i know is bitter and sour good. A friend of mine cooks this and she used bittergourd juice to replace bile and it doesn’t make any difference. Really good! Try.

  3. JMom says:

    Hi NUR, thanks for dropping by. That’s right, Filipino dish is for all Pinoys šŸ™‚ Your grandma’s version sounds delicious. Actually, I think I just saw one just as you described, on another food blog.

  4. NUR says:

    Hello jmom

    Awesome! Your recipe is a heck easier than what I normally prepare, but eading through it, I would assume it tastes just as bittery nice…

    I’m not Ilocano, but who cares right? Lahat tayo Filipino…

    My grandma actually prepares a similar one (Visayan version) with just a hint of the apdo and heavy on the vinegar and spices. It almost tastes like paksiw… Oh man! I miss lola’s cooking!

    Go easy on the cholesterol though guys… šŸ™‚

  5. JMom says:

    hi infinity, I’m not sure exactly where you can find beef bile in Virginia, but I would start by finding a Filipino/Oriental market. They usually come frozen so check the freezer section.

    If you can’t find one in your area, find a reliable butcher and request it via special order. Here in N.C., hispanic markets have been on the rise and they usually carry all parts of the beef. I learned the word for bile in Spanish is “bilis”. If they don’t have it right then, ask them to procure it for you next time they order from their butcher.

    Good luck! If you find it, make sure to leave a comment here for the next person looking for beef bile in VA šŸ™‚

  6. infinity says:

    wHERE CAN I FIND a beef bile here in virginia. please advise me where to order or buy

  7. Anonymous says:

    I first saw beef bile for sale in Seattle Wa. at Uwajimaya a very large asian market. This had to be over 8 yrs ago. Ever since I had been searching and wondering what in the world would someone do with beef bile. The other day I came across your site and there it was Lasang Pinoy! Finally at last I had my answer. Thank you! Your recipes are great. To learn and experience another cultures food helps make the world a bit smaller and bring us all closer together.
    Great Job.

  8. schatzli says:

    PS I was talking to this Ilokano guy here at the port and we discussed after the crusing season we will meet up and party, I told him to find a way we can have this dish! aba nag taka pa sa request ko si manong hahhaa

  9. JMom says:

    Hi Ting! Yes, hubby has tried this, but he’s not a big fan, although he has developed a taste for ampalaya. He says he prefers the dinuguan to this.
    šŸ˜† I think I have heard of your father’s version! I have uncles who have been known to use the same method, especially after a few bottles of ginebra šŸ˜‰

    Hi Stef! Thank you šŸ˜€ I hope you do try it. Just be conservative with the bile at first.

  10. JMom says:

    Hi Sis! Yeah, she told me too šŸ™ Oh well, it was a good exercise for me to cook this. My version is ok, but for some reason pop’s just tastes so much better šŸ™‚

    Hi Marketman! Yes, it is really a learned taste. But like my lola always says, a little bitterness makes everything else in life a little sweeter.

  11. stef says:

    hi jmom, sorry, ngayon lang naka-comment. i LOVE your post, i’ve had pinapaitan LONG ago but i don’t even remember what it tastes like anymore. can’t wait to try your recipe!

  12. ting-aling says:

    Just wondering, does hubby want this?

    I think my father uses something else to make it bitter but I’m not going to put others off..hahaha. I use that too..especially with “kambing”

  13. Marketmanila says:

    What a nice way to make bitter better! I can’t say I am a big fan of bile but this may just do it for me. If I can get into ampalaya…perhaps pinapaitan too?! Thanks.

  14. Omom says:

    Would you believe Mother just brought over a container of pinapaitan…guess it’s left-over from the batch you and pop made and she froze it. Glad to have it today since I have a cold and am in need of comfort food.

  15. JMom says:

    Hi Sassy! Yes, I learned this the hard way. The first time I tried cooking it, I poured it from the container instead of spooning it in. Was that bitter!!! You can put as much or as little as you want with a spoon. My dad always likes his super bitter, so I end up adding more vinegar and hot sauce to counter it.

    Hi Jeyc! here’s a napkin, wipe your lips. hehe!! šŸ˜€

  16. JMom says:

    Dexie! I was surprised too, how easy it is to make. I always depended on my Papa to make it too. Now I can make it like I like it šŸ™‚

    Hi Celia! I think you should be able to find bile in London. My uncles there always cook this at parties. Kung gusto mo I’ll ask them where they get it.

    Stel! Really, laging ubos ang bile diyan? Baka maraming ilokanos diyan sa inyo, huh? Is your ma ilokano too? Or just papaitan lover? šŸ™‚

  17. JMom says:

    Hi Sha! I should have known, being the honorary Ilokana that you are, that you’ve already had this dish šŸ˜€

    Hi Joey, thanks! It does grow on you, doesn’t it? I still can’t get my hubby and kids to eat it though, so the rest of the pot is in the freezer. My emergency stash šŸ™‚

  18. JMom says:

    Hi Karen! Thanks šŸ™‚ This idea came to me while in CA as it was one of my requests for my dad to cook for me. I meant to photograph the process, but you know how it is, I got busy chitchating, and forgot all about it. So, I had to recreate the recipe when I got home.

    They actually sell bile at the filipino store, frozen. But, I didn’t get there on time the store had closed when I went the other night. So…I went to a Mexican meat market (carniceria), and found it there. I also learned a new word, in Spanish, bile is calles “bilis”. Galing, no?

  19. jeyc14 says:


  20. Sassy Lawyer says:

    Naku, matagal ko na gusto gumawa nito. But I worry too much about adding the wrong amount of bile (the idea used to repulse me until I tried a friend’s version of the dish). So, ganun pala… half a teaspoon muna. Unti-unti dagdag… Thanks for the tip.

  21. drstel says:

    JMom, now i know why the beef bile disappears as soon as it is delivered, there must be a bunch of pinapaitan aficionados around here.
    thank you, i’ll give it a try. i also have to ask ma if this was one of her secret stash recipes. she never offered it to us eh!

  22. celia kusinera says:

    This is one of my husband’s favourite. I hope I can make it but don’t know where to get beef bile around here. šŸ™
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, Jmom.

  23. dexiejane says:


    Papa would be so surprised to learn I NOW know how to make this. thanks JMOM šŸ™‚

  24. joey says:

    Hi JMom! I like the way you compared life during that time to your pinapaitan…masterful metaphor! It was definitely an “acquired taste” for me. I went from disliking it to liking it…it really grows on you in exactly the way you described šŸ™‚

  25. schatzli says:

    you will never believe this… I had my first pinapaitan in Greece, majority of the Filipinos there are of from the Ilocano region… kung di naabot ng Greece di ko rin malaman ang Ilocano culture!

    Good post JMom pinapaitan nga ang life noon!!!

  26. Karen says:

    JMom, wow! Your interpretation for pinapaitan is so apt! This is indeed a good dish to exemplify the Filipino condition at that time, and even the present.

    I love pinapaitan! The first time I tasted a very authentic and memorable version was in Batanes and I will always want it thick and very bitter.

    Do they sell bile there or did you have to order it in advance?

    Thanks for participating!

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