La Paz Batchoy. Photo from What’s up Dagupan?

Rainy season or not, a good old serving (or two) of batchoy is always a welcome idea. Batchoy is a noodle soup that is believed to have originated in Iloilo City—in La Paz district, specifically, which is why it is also known as La Paz Batchoy.

It’s a noodle soup made with pork entrails, crushed chicharon, chicken stock, beef loin, and local noodles called miki. With that many ingredients, it’s a meal on its own and it keeps you full for a while.

In cooking batchoy, it’s important to strictly follow the right proportion of the bone marrow and water for it to achieve the right thickness and consistency. The noodles used in this recipe are made from fresh egg noodles, which means it requires minimal cooking time. Sometimes, pouring hot broth over the noodles is enough to cook it.

When eating bachoy, like any other soup, it’s best to consume it while still hot. Others prefer to eat it as is, some like to eat it with pandesal, while others with rice (very Filipino!).

La Paz Batchoy. Photo from rapsa.ph

Batchoy’s origin remains a mystery or at the very least inconclusive, but there are documents referring to it as early as 1922. There are references to the dish being invented by a local entrepreneur from Iloilo, Federico Guillergan, who put up the famous Deco’s La Paz Batchoy Shop. Yet others say that the dish originated from the Chinese community in La Paz since the word batchoy likely came from the Hokkien Chinese term meaning meat soup.

Whoever invented the dish, he or she would be happy to know that, over the years, batchoy had gained popularity, perhaps beyond what the inventor had ever imagined. Today, it has become one of the more popular soup dish around the country, along with lomi, beef mami, beef pares, and bulalo. It’s pretty easy to find restaurants that sell them, too, with their own respective versions. But the authentic taste is the one that closely resembles the one from Iloilo.

Batchoy has become such a recognizable dish that it has even become a popular flavor of a very ubiquitous instant noodle company that sells its goods in mainstream supermarkets.