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Humbà, also spelled hombà, is a Filipino braised pork dish originating from the Visayas Islands of the Philippines. It traditionally uses pork belly slow-cooked until very tender in soy sauce, vinegar, black peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, and fermented black beans (tausi) sweetened with muscovado sugar. It also commonly includes hard-boiled eggs and banana blossoms.


Humba is derived from the Chinese red braised pork belly (hóngshāoròu, also called hong ma or hong ba) introduced to the Philippines via Hokkien immigrants, but it differs significantly from the original dish in that Filipino humba has evolved to be cooked closer to Philippine adobo, using a lot more vinegar. Humba also does not traditionally use rice wine, ginger, chilis, or five-spice powder; and it commonly use additional ingredients like banana flowers or pineapples, which are absent in the original dish. Regardless, traces of its Chinese origin is still evident in the primary use of fermented black beans (tausi), an uncommon ingredient in Filipino cuisine.[1][2][3]

Humba is sometimes inaccurately referred to as the "Visayan version of adobo", largely because of how humba became cooked closer to adobo over time. But they have different origins and refer to different dishes. Humba is a specific dish usually restricted to pork belly, while adobo is a cooking process that can be used to cook a variety of ingredients from meat to vegetables. In the central and southern islands of the Philippines, both humba and adobo exist and are not confused with each other.[4][5]


Humbà in pineapple

The defining ingredient of humba is the fermented black beans (tausi), without which it is basically just a slightly sweeter Philippine adobo. Like adobo it has many different variants, but it is relatively easy to prepare albeit time-consuming.[6][7][8]

The most basic humba recipe uses fatty cuts of pork, usually the pork belly (liempo). It is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns. The pork is then sautéed with the garlic. Once the meat is half-cooked and lightly browned, water is added with the rest of the ingredients along with fermented black beans and muscovado sugar (or some other sweetening agent). Banana blossoms may also be added. It is then allowed to simmer for a few hours until the meat is very tender. Alternatively, it can be cooked in a pressure cooker to cut down the cooking time. Hard-boiled eggs may be added before serving. It is eaten with white rice.[6][7][9][8]


Humba can sometimes be prepared with chicken, in which case it is more or less identical to Philippine chicken adobo, except for the use of tausi.[10] It can also be prepared with pineapples as the sweetener, which again makes it very similar to another Filipino dish, the hamonado.[9][11]

A similar dish to humba is pata tim, which is also derived from hóngshāoròu. But pata tim does not use vinegar or tausi and primarily use pork hock with péchay and mushrooms.[12]

See also