The Happy Home Cook: La Paz Batchoy: Soup Worthy of Celebration

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Iloilo is a Philippine city in the central island of Panay, located in the Western Visayas Region. It had the distinction of being called “Queen City of the South,” because of its continued loyalty to the Spanish crown during the Philippine revolution (Nowadays, the title likely refers to Cebu City, also in the Visayas Region). Each year in January, the city celebrates one of the most colorful and joyous festivals — the Dinagyang. The event started in 1967 when a replica of the image of Santo Niño (Child Jesus) was first brought from nearby Cebu. The image, accompanied by devotees from Cebu, was enthusiastically received by the people of Iloilo. Since then, the occasion was, and continues to be, celebrated with a parade, street dancing, costume competitions and all-day merrymaking. See photo collage, courtesy of “My Bay Kitchen” (the book)  photo contributor, Justin Queyquep.
The Dinagyang (Photo courtesy of Justin Queyquep)

The Dinagyang (Photo courtesy of Justin Queyquep)

La Paz is a town in Iloilo and is known in the culinary setting for its unique and tasty soup dish called “batchoy.”  The dish was concocted in the La Paz market in 1938 by Federico Guillergan, Sr. The soup’singredients include egg noodles, slices of pork, liver and other pig innards.  When served, it is garnished with green onions, roasted garlic and ground pork rinds.  For this recipe, I purposely omitted other pig innards (spleen, heart, kidneys), except the liver.

There are many reasons to visit Iloilo, but what better reason can one think of other than celebration?  Dinagyang and La Paz Batchoy, both.

La Paz Batchoy (Photo by Rene Astudillo)

La Paz Batchoy (Photo by Rene Astudillo)


1  package (1 lb) egg noodles
1/2 lb pork, cut into 2-inch thin strips
1/3 lb pork liver, cut into small cubes
1/4 lb chicken breast, cut into 2-inch thin strips
1/4 lb shrimp, shelled with tail on
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
1/3 cup sliced onions
1 tbsp brown sugar
5 cupsbeef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps roasted garlic bits
1 cup crushed pork rinds
1/3 cup chopped green onions


In large pot, heat olive oil in medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender.  Add pork, liver and chicken pieces and sauté for about one minute. Pour the beef broth and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat to medium. Add shrimp paste and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low. Add shrimps. Let simmer for two minutes.  In the meantime, prepare the noodles according to the package instructions.  When ready to serve, place the desired amount ofcooked noodles  in a soup bowl. Spoon in the desired amount of pork, liver, chicken and shrimp.  Pour in hot broth into the bowl and let stand for about a minute.  Garnish with green onions, roasted garlic bits and pork rinds. Optional: Crack a fresh egg on top of the soup.

Rene Astudillo

Rene Astudillo

Rene Astudillo is a blogger and a marketing consultant.

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