Papaitan - Gastro Obscura

Prepared Foods


The Filipino stew gets its signature bitterness from bile.

Papaitan is a thick, hearty stew, consisting of goat and sometimes beef. This includes the animals’ meat, innards, and bile. The latter ingredient adds a distinctly bitter flavor.

Filipino cooks make papaitan by steeping and boiling meat in a thick, hearty broth flavored with seasonings such as tamarind, chili, garlic, and, of course, bile. Because it’s often hard to find bile or gallbladders at the butcher shop, some chefs use bitter gourds to mimic its harsh bite. (Substituting bitter gourds also makes the dish a bit more approachable for first-timers.)

The dish is a staple among Ilocano families, who live in the northwestern part of Luzon. A hearty stew, it makes a fine pairing with a beer, especially during monsoon season.

Where to Try It