The Philippines’ sinigang has been cited as the world’s No. 1 vegetable soup according to an international food and lifestyle website, besting 161 other dishes from different countries.
Taste Atlas on Monday shared a list showing sinigang as the top vegetable soup with a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
The local dish was closely followed by Skābeņu Zupa from Latvia, Ogbono soup from Edo in Nigeria, Kürbis Suppe from Burgenland in Austria, and Fagiolata from Italy – all rated 4.7 stars.
According to Taste Atlas, sinigang is a Filipino soup that is flavored with the sampaloc, the fruit of the tamarind tree. Another local sour fruit, guava, can be used to flavor the broth.
Sinigang is usually made with the following vegetables: radish, tomato, onions, eggplant, green pepper, water spinach (kangkong), long beans (sitaw), oil, water, and salt. Some might choose to add okra, taro (gabi), ginger, or fish sauce.
“The basic broth usually consists of rice washing, with the addition of a souring agent,” Taste Atlas wrote. Souring agents and ingredients can vary per region and household – aside from tamarind and guava, calamansi, santol, unripe mango, and kamias can be used.
Ging Abogado Chaves, who manages the family-owned Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center with her daughter Saz Chaves Eullaran, said they use local ingredients for their sinigang.
“Yes, we serve sinigang – shrimp, fish and pork with vegetables for our resto – we use sampalok flavor but we can also use for the sour taste – eba ( also known as Bilimbi, Cucumber tree, Tree Sorrel or Kamias) and green mangoes.”
“Not much difference from our take on our sinigang served at our restaurant, “said Saz, who now also runs her own restaurant, RibsnBibs. “But just a thought on making it different could be the use of guava fruit or guava paste to give it an extra kick . It’s an added cost plus guava fruit is seasonal.”
Most Filipinos add protein – pork, beef, chicken, fish, orshrimp – to the dish.
“With its sour lightness perfectly matching the harsh tropical heat of the country, sinigang is a unique soup that is a true representative of Filipino cuisine,” Taste Atlas wrote.
Sinigang is traditionally served hot and steaming as a main dish, with rice as its accompaniment. It is an often seen dish at special occasions such as birthdays or weddings, and over time, as the dish became more popular, there were new variations that used guava or raw mango instead of sampalok and each region developed their own version of the popular soup.
“At Cucina Higala, we are using green mango to make our sinigang soury,” said Joe Jake Almodobar, restaurant manager. “Vegetable ingredients are as follows, Kangkong, Okra, String Beans, Radish, Eggplant, Finger Sili and Ginger.”
Chef Joanna Yu of the popular Boy Zugba (styled as Kusina Bisaya) which now has many branches all over the country said their Sinigang Ulo sa Salmon sa Miso and Sinigang na Baboy are their most popular soups.
“Our Sinigang Ulo sa Salmon sa Miso has a sinigang base with miso for umami flavor,” Joanna shared. “Our Sinigang na Baboy also uses our local pineapple as souring agent.”
Mesa Cagayan de Oro at Centrio Mall likewise uses the ubiquitous pineapple with guava as the souring agents for its Sinigang na Baboy.
On the other hand, Fat Chef Restaurant takes still another twist to the global favorite with its Sizzling Sinigang-Beef Short Plate in Sinigang Gravy.
With its sour lightness perfectly matching the harsh tropical heat of the country, sinigang is a unique soup that is a true representative of Filipino cuisine.
In a separate list for best rated soups in general, sinigang na baboy or pork sinigang also tops with a 5 star rating, in a tie with Sopa de caracol, a seafood soup from Honduras.
Meanwhile, under the most popular category, sinigang placed 19th among over 160 vegetable soups from all over the world with 67 reviews as of writing.
Ukraine’s Borscht was hailed the most popular with more than 500 reviews as of writing. It has a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5.
TasteAtlas recommends three Filipino restaurants that serves the best sinigang in Metro Manila: Locavore, which uniquely serves it as a sizzling dish; Sentro1771, whose Sinigang na Corned Beef is truly formidable, and Fely J’s in Makati.
In Cagayan de Oro, you can take a Sinigang Food Crawl to savor and appreciate the various local twists on this global favorite with Chali Beach Resort and Convention Center, Cucina Higala, Boy Zugba, Mesa Cagayan de Oro and Fat Chef Restaurant.
In 2019, Taste Atlas included kare-kare, lechon, and crispy pata as part of the Top 100 Best Traditional Dishes In The World list of the year.
Taste Atlas is an online gastronomic database that promotes the local culinary culture of countries all over the world. The website contains over 10,000 specialty dishes, drinks, recommended restaurants, and local ingredients for anyone to check out before an international trip.