Sinigang scores gold in soup Olympics

Published August 5, 2021, 9:50 AM

by Sol Vanzi

Filipino foodies all over the planet are rejoicing over the proclamation by TasteAtlas that sinigang is the best vegetable soup in the world. The ranking was made after experts compared sinigang with dozens of vegetable soups from all continents.

The pronouncement by TasteAtlas is bold and unprecedented but leaves several questions unanswered. First of all, sinigang is basically a sour soup with all kinds of ingredients, including pork, beef, chicken, fish, and yes, some vegetables. But to call it a vegetable soup is a misnomer.

As a gourmand myself, I am puzzled by the non-inclusion of such popular soups as gumbo and minestrone in the list of evaluated soups. And where was French onion soup? And sopa de ajos?

Filipinos do not consider sinigang as soup but rather as a main course. In many instances, it is the only course since it serves as soup, vegetable, and protein. In some households, the soup and vegetables are served in a bowl while the meat or fish is placed separately on a plate.

Filipinos do not consider sinigang as soup but rather as a main course. In many instances, it is the only course since it serves as soup, vegetable, and protein.

Sinigang’s versatility is what makes it difficult to classify. It can be fish, pork, beef, or chicken but it is hardly ever purely vegetables.

Sinigang also has a strict list of appropriate vegetables—eggplant, okra, gabi (taro), radish, sitaw (yard beans), and kangkong, but none of the upland chopsuey veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower.

There are also rules about which vegetable goes with what souring agent. Mustard leaves, for example, go well with sinigang sa miso.

All things considered, Filipinos do have a reason to rejoice but should go one step further: What about crowning sinigang as the best beef, pork, fish, chicken, and vegetable soup in the world?

 
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