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Pesang Manok (Filipino Chicken and Vegetable Soup)

As a child, Edwin's mom told him, "If you want to eat, you should cook it yourself." And that's exactly what he's been doing ever since.

Pesang Manok (Filipino Chicken and Vegetable Soup)

Pesang Manok (Filipino Chicken and Vegetable Soup)

Pesang Manok

Pesas are traditional Filipino soups made with ginger, cabbage, and potatoes. The most commonly known pesa is pesang isda (fish pesa), in which fish is the protein and ginger is added primarily to mask the fishy taste.

Because chicken is cheap in the Philippines, it's commonly found in soup recipes—and so another variation of pesa is made with chicken. This version is called pesang manok (chicken pesa). It calls for the same basic ingredients as other pesas, although you can omit the ginger if desired.

There are many other soups that contain chicken in Filipino cuisine, such as tinolang manok, which uses green papayas as a vegetable.

But I consider pesang manok to be the easiest chicken soup to make because I always have the three main ingredients (chicken, cabbage, and potatoes) available in my kitchen.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

30 min

45 min

4-6 servings


  • 1 pound chicken legs or thighs
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 cabbage, quartered
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, add the water, chicken, onion, fish sauce, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and cabbage and cook for 10 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Season with salt and ground pepper as needed.


  • Skip the fish sauce and just use salt, if desired.
  • Substitute or add other vegetables, such as celery or bok choy.
  • Use fish instead of chicken, but add sliced ginger to mask the fishy smell.
  • Use canned chicken broth instead of water, but reduce the fish sauce (unless you're using low-sodium chicken broth).

Fish Sauce