Pork Nilaga

Nilaga is a soup recipe that originates from the Philippines and is commonly prepared with beef. But since I am not a beef-eater, this is my own recipe designed to suit my personal preferences. If you are encountering cold weather, have a hang-over or in need of a thick and rich soup, then save this recipe!


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 white onion
  • a thumb of ginger root
  • 500g of pork bone (rib, spine, shoulder, knuckle, etc.)
  • 2-3 white potato or cream potato
  • 5 big leaves of wombok (aka. Nappa Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage)
  • Salt
  • 3 pieces of Bay leaf
  • Pepper or chili (optional)
  • Water

Why pork?

I recommend using pork, instead of beef, because pig anatomy and physiology is similar to humans making them an ideal animal model for human health and easier to digest (Walters & Prather, 2013). In addition, pork is very rich in collagen, which is essential for skin, joint and muscle health (Wang, 2021). Finally, pork bones are very rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, which are vital nutrients for joint health and assisting in the relief of joint pain or osteoarthritis pain (Singh et al., 2015). For these reasons, I recommend selecting pork meat that is still attached to the bone. These pork parts can be pork chops, ribs, the spine vertebrae, pork knuckle, are the few of the many.


Step 1: Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil on high-heat.

Step 2: While the water is boiling, slice your pork into cubes. Make sure to get everything as evenly sliced as possible.

Step 3: Afterwards, to prevent contamination from meat ingredients and vegetable produce, wash your knife.

Step 4: Once knife is cleaned, then smash the garlic and chop; followed by chopping the onions; and smashing then chopping the ginger.

Step 5: By this time, the water should have boiled and then you lower to a medium heat then add the pork.

Step 6: After 8 to 10 minutes, the pork would have turned from a pink hue to light shades of greyish brown. By this time, there would be some merky brown shades at the surface of the water, which is blood coming out of the bone. You may scoop and dispose of this but for added flavour, you can also let this be. At this stage, add the garlic.

Step 7: Once the garlic has softened, after about 2 to 3 minutes, then add the onion.

Step 8: Once the onion has turned a bit translucent, after about 3 to 5 minutes, then add the smashed ginger and cover the pot to bring everything to continued boil.

Step 9: To prevent contamination between vegetable ingredients, wash your knife.

Step 10: Then wash, brush-scrub, peel, and then slice the potatoes. The potatoes should be cut into cubes – a similar size as the pork so that everything will cook evenly.

Step 12: Place the chopped potatoes into a bowl filled with water to prevent browning since this ingredient will be resting until added later.

Step 13: Afterwards, to prevent contamination from meat ingredients and vegetable produce, wash your knife.

Step 14: Next, wash the wombok (aka. Chinese Cabbage) leaves thoroughly by rubbing the leaves with your hands to remove any soil residue or unwanted microbiological substances.

Step 15: Grab your knife and slice the heart (thick white section of the wombok) and separate it from the body (the green leaves).

Step 16: Then horizontally slice the heart and rest in a bowl, then horizontally slice the body and rest in a bowl.

Step 17: After 20 to 30 minutes have passed, add the potatoes and bring to a boil.

Step 18: After the potatoes have boiled for 10 to 15 minutes, add the wombok heart and bring to a boil.

Step 19: The wombok heart would turn from white to shades of translucency after 6 to 8 minutes, depending on how hot your pot is, when this happens, add the wombok body and bring to a boil.

Step 20: Once the wombok body has turned more translucent, crush by hand and add the bay lead and salt (as well as the pepper or chili).

Step 21: Bring everything to a boil for 3 to 6 minutes.

Step 22: Then serve immediately (or allow the soup to sit and steep in the pot for 6 to 12 hours and then eat – which will be a thicker and richer flavour).

Let me know how you enjoyed this recipe in the comments below!


Singh, J. A., Noorbaloochi, S., MacDonald, R., & Maxwell, L. J. (2015). Chondroitin for osteoarthritis. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 1(1), CD005614. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD005614.pub2

Walters, E. M., & Prather, R. S. (2013). Advancing swine models for human health and diseases. Missouri medicine, 110(3), 212–215.

Wang H. (2021). A Review of the Effects of Collagen Treatment in Clinical Studies. Polymers, 13(22), 3868. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223868