pinakbet a paria, bitter melon stew

Here's another bitter dish that defines the Ilokano, and what else but the paria itself and this is done with a famous Ilokano "brand"--pinakbet. Yes, pinakbet a paria, the bitter bitter melon made into pinakbet. This is one Ilokano dish that's somehow a test to prove one's mettle on "enjoying" what's bitter is better. This is real bitter, and genuine Ilokano bitterness aficionados prefer it this way. Just as they love the wild version of it. Just as they love papait as is.  This is it, when you want a really bitter intake. But mind you, after the bitterness, there's this inevitable sweet aftertaste courtesy of its condiments, the tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and of course, bugguong!

Paria for sale: Php30.00 a kilo.

First, this is how sliced my paria, length-wise, in quarters, with young seeds and pith intact. Ilokano-style, yeah, baby!

Ready to go! With the obligatory kamatis, lasona, bawang, laya, and bugguong (not shown).

I put in the tomatoes, et. al. first at the bottom of the pot (sorry, metal pot here, would have been nice and better if it's a banga, an earthen pot). And then I poured in the bugguong juice. No water, please. The succulent tomato and the bugguong will suffice, it will have a great broth soon when it commences to cook.

See, it's done! It's that simple. Do not overcook, else your paria will be uneatable. When overcooked, you might not stand its bitterness, and it's so mushy, I tell you. Just cook for about 20 minutes. Simmer a bit if you want just a little thicker broth. The aroma is so great it wafts around, and out there in the neighborhood that they know you're making pakbet again, and guess so, they'll be green with envy and might expect a padigo (sharing of viand)!

Here's it, pinakbet a paria, come, let's eat! Goes very well with your rice, newly cooked or leftover. Me, I put in a teaspoon of cooking oil in my rice to pair with this favorite Ilokano dish. It's so delicious, the bitterness is just so sweet!

What's more bitter, err, better than this? This is just so yummy, I consumed three platefuls/servings of rice--pitiful me, for I'm controlling rice intake now 'coz I'm overly conscious of my only ab, heheh! But what the heck, I did it for love--for the love of beloved paria! And for the fact that once again, I manifested and proved my being an Ilokano!


  1. nagimasen manong! Napudot nga inapoy ken nasamet nga rungiet ket nabsugen!

  2. Dayta ti talaga nga Ilocano!!!