Waknatoy, a dish with a funny name

Waknatoy, a dish with a funny name

Marikeños like to say that waknatoy is a dish unique to Marikina. Well, the name is unique to Marikina but the dish itself is not. Waknatoy is simply a variant of menudo. The only marked difference is the addition of pickles which gives waknatoy a sweet-tangy flavor. The rest of the ingredients are the same — meat (pork, most of the time), liver, potatoes, carrots, sausages, bay leaf and tomato sauce.

Story has it that this menudo variant had become so ubiquitous in Marikina roadside stalls that when offered to diners, they balked. A similar story says the name came from Chinese merchants.

And like everlasting, it is also always on the table of almost every family gathering. The Chinese settlers in Marikina during that time would always complain and say, “Ito na naman? Wak na ‘toy!” (This dish again? No, not this dish again!).

Surely, anything eaten too often can be boring. But waknatoy is a very tasty dish and I don’t mind eating it often — just not too often and certainly not everyday.

Waknatoy is also very easy to prepare. While most cooks will add diced pork to the sauteed onions, garlic and tomatoes, I prefer to pre-cook my pork by broiling it. Then, I dice it. When mixed with the rest of the ingredients and sauce, the pork retains its shape and texture — a slight amount of chewiness rather than turning too soft that the fat and meat disintegrate from stirring.


  • a whole slab of pork belly or shoulder, about 500 grams, oven roasted until golden and the rinds are blistered
  • 2 large sausages (red-tinged hotdogs or canned Vienna sausages are “traditional” but you can use any kind of sausage — I used Italian garlic), cut into one-inch cubes
  • 3 tbsps. of vegetable cooking oil
  • about 8 cloves of garlic (yes, a lot!), minced
  • a large onion, chopped
  • a large carrot, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
  • a large potato, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
  • 2 red or green bell peppers, cored and deseeded, and cut into slivers
  • 2 generous pinches of dried oregano (or the leaves from two sprigs of fresh oregano)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a can of stewed tomatoes, lightly crushed
  • 1/3 c. of sweet pickle relish
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsps. of raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 c. of mashed pork or chicken liver (or use canned liver spread)


  1. Dice the cooked pork into one-inch cubes.
  2. Heat the cooking oil in a pan. Add the garlic and chopped onion. Cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the pork, sausages, carrot and potato cubes, crushed tomatoes with their sauce, pickle relish, oregano and bay leaf.
  4. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the bell peppers and raisins, if using.
  6. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat to medium and boil gently, uncovered, until the carrot and potato cubes are done. Stir in the mashed liver (or liver spread) and continue simmering until the sauce has thickened.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 3

*Edited on October 17, 2012

Connie Veneracion

I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

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4 Responses

  1. Andrew says:

    i see that all the ingredients were used, except for the Liver spread. Can anyone fill me in one the signifigance of havnig liver spread if it is not going to be eused in the recipe? Or can someone tell me how to use the liver in this dish. I forgot to mention that even without the liver being used, it sounds very delicious and can’t wait to give this one a try.

  2. Natz SM says:

    Ms. Connie,

    I love your idea of using pre-roasted pork belly for this dish. I think I would try adding the chopped up roasted pork just a few minutes before everything is cooked…CRISPY WAKNATOY!!!

  3. Crisma says:

    Very funny name indeed for a good dish! Sabi na nga ba merong Chinese na may kinalaman sa roots ng name ng dish na ito… ;)

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