Batchoy



Batchoy (also batsoy) usually refers to a noodle soup made with meat and innards associated with the district of La Paz in Iloilo City. Aside from the noodles, meat, and entrails, the soup contains pork cracklings, fermented fish paste (guinamos), scallions, toasted garlic, and perhaps an egg. There are differing accounts about its origin but it is very likely inspired by Chinese cuisine. Some contend the name comes from the term ba chui (??) which in Hokkien supposedly means "pieces of meat" (although a strict dictionary translation of the individual characters suggests a meaning of pure, select, or unadulterated meat or meat essence). Others credit Federico "Deco" Guillergan, Sr. for developing the dish in 1938 although Guillergan's version was originally a meat soup-the addition of noodles, innards, and cracklings would come later over the years as would the practice of serving accompanying piece of bread and later puto.

While La Paz batchoy is the most well-known, there are other versions. In Tagalog provinces another soup dish of meat and innards is called batchoy, but this batchoy Tagalog may have more similarities to tinola with the common inclusion of sayote and chili leaves in its broth and the absence of noodles in some preparations. Pork blood and siling pangsigang are other ingredients. The Ilocos region also has its own stew using innards called yusi that is sometimes referred to as Ilocano batchoy. It is distinguished by its use of gamet a seaweed ingredient.