Batchoy, My Brother-in-Law’s Way


I thought my brother-in-law said bok choy. He repeated: batchoy, a Filipino noodle soup dish that had its origin in Iloilo where he happens to be from. While it’s traditional to use pork organs, a pork neck bone was used instead. Combine that with spare ribs and beef bones with marrow, shrimp paste and brown sugar and simmer for a long time and the result was thick with gelatin and flavor, a tad funky from marrow essence. Any meat and fat were scraped from the bones and shredded.

He brought the broth, which he made at home, over to my other in-laws’ house in southern California’s San Gabriel Valley (where I stayed with my wife for the holidays) and made the rest of the batchoy, boiling the noodles (a thick pancit), frying roughly chopped garlic and pork cracklings, slicing green onions. I was expecting to eat a sandwich for lunch. What do you suppose I ate when the batchoy showed up?

Home-made cracklings

Home-made cracklings