My husband’s grandparents called this dish “adobong may bagoong,” a description quite apt because that’s what it is—pork adobo cooked in bagoong. Others boil the pork first, then add the bagoong. Other versions of this dish use less bagoong; his mother used more. No matter how it is cooked, one thing is certain: binagoongan is best eaten a day or two after cooking, and always with lots of newly cooked rice to mop up the sauce.
When we were building Havenhill in Oct 1987-Apr 1988, my husband and I, with our toddler in tow, spent weekends at the construction site. Lunch was always picnic-style, on a folding picnic table laid out under the shade of a caballero (fire tree). Our ulam was either adobo or binagoongan because both dishes keep well without refrigeration. I packed our lunch in banana leaves or, when pressed for time, in a three-tier stainless-steel fiambrera (tiffin box). Rice went in the bottom-most tier; the ulam, in the middle, and the sidings (fresh tomato and salted egg for the adobo, sliced mango for the binagoongan), in the top.
Binagoongan | Stewed Pork in Shrimp Paste
- 1 kg pork liempo belly, sliced into 1½-inch chunks
- 1 cup vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic crushed, divided
- Pinch salt
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup uncooked bagoong shrimp paste
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 2 siling haba finger chiles
- 2 eggplants sliced and fried (optional)
- 2 green mangoes peeled and sliced (optional) for serving
- Combine pork, vinegar, half of the garlic, and the salt in a bowl. Marinate for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Heat vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Stir-fry remaining half of the garlic for 30 to 45 seconds until golden and fragrant. Stir-fry onion for about 1 minute or until soft. Stir-fry tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes until mushy. Add shrimp paste; cover and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until cooked through.
- Stir in the pork with the marinade; cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until pork juices have seeped out and vinegar has boiled. Add water to cover; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer covered for 45 to 60 minutes until pork is fork tender. Add brown sugar and chiles; cook for 2 minutes.
- Serve with rice and a side of fried eggplants or green mangoes.