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Tasty Filipino Sinigang (Sour Soup) Two Ways

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Kerlyn is a proud Filipina who loves to share her culture with others, including recipes and more.

Sinigang sa hipon (sour soup with shrimp)

Sinigang sa hipon (sour soup with shrimp)

Sinigang is a famous Filipino soup with a sharp, biting and tangy taste.

The term sinigang actually refers to a way of cooking that uses mainly tamarind, known locally in the Philippines as sampalok, as the main ingredient. It is the tamarind that gives this soup its signature sour taste.

Sometimes, Filipinos will use tamarind substitutes when preparing this nationally recognized dish. Substitutes might include guava, miso, bilimbi, kamias, commercially packed bouillon cubes or powder with tamarind flavor.

Vinegar is not used in sinigang. There is another Filipino soup called paksiw that does use vinegar.

Sinigang ingredients

Sinigang ingredients

Many Kinds of Sinigang

Sinigang is such a popular food in the Philippines that it has several varieties:

  • Sinigang na hipon: shrimp sour soup
  • Sinigang na bangus: milkfish sour soup
  • Sinigang na baboy: pork sour soup
  • Sinigang na tilapia: tilapia sour soup
  • Sinigang na baka: beef sour soup
  • Sinampalukang manok: chicken sour soup with tamarind leaves

Oftentimes, Filipinos refer to sinigang according to the main ingredient used to make the dish sour:

  • Sinigang sa bayabas: guava sour soup
  • Sinigang sa kamias: bilimbi sour soup
  • Sinigang sa mangga: green mango sour soup
  • Sinigang sa miso: miso sour soup
  • Sinigang sa sampalok: tamarind sour soup

Thus, Filipinos would call a dish sinigang na bangus sa bayabas when referring to a sinigang dish with milkfish and cooked in guava or sinigang na hipon sa sampalok when referring to a sinigang dish with shrimp prepared with tamarind.

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What to Expect in a Bowl of Sinigang

Sinigang is like a complete and filling meal in itself. In many small eateries and traditional restaurants in the Philippines, sinigang is served as both soup and main dish. Usually, the soup can be requested to be refilled many times and is best served while warm.

The soup typically contains either meat (pork or beef) or seafood (fish or shrimp).

It incorporates a medley of vegetables including tamarinds, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, yardlong beans (sitaw), water spinach (kangkong), radish (labanos), green finger pepper, okra and taro corns.

The main ingredients of the dish are often transferred onto a plate and then eaten with hot steamed rice.

Sinigang na Hipon (Shrimp Sour Soup) Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 3 green finger peppers
  • 1 kilogram shrimp
  • 12 pieces tamarind
  • 3 tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 bundle water spinach, cut into 2-cm length
  • 1 bundle yardlong beans, cut into 2-cm length


  1. Boil tamarind in water for about 5 minutes or until it becomes soft.
  2. Extract the juice of the tamarind and set the juice aside.
  3. In a pot set over medium heat, boil the tamarind juice, water, onion, tomato, and radish.
  4. Once the water is boiling and the vegetables are tender, add in shrimp, yardlong beans, water spinach, and green finger peppers. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Season the dish with fish sauce. If fish sauce is not available, sprinkle salt.
  6. Serve the dish while the soup is warm.

Sinigang na Bangus (Milkfish Sour Soup) Recipe


  • 1 large bangus (milkfish), sliced into serving sizes
  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced into serving sizes
  • 1 small piece ginger, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • salt
  • 1 sachet tamarind powder
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 bundle water spinach, cut into 2-cm pieces
  • 1 bundle yardlong beans, cut into 2-cm pieces


  1. In a pot set over medium heat, boil water with ginger.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add in milkfish, tomato, yardlong beans, eggplant, and onion. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add in tamarind powder and salt. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add in water spinach and cover the pot for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve the dish while the soup is warm.

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