Dinakdakan: You Won’t Believe The Ingredient That Makes It Yummy

Dinakdakan is often mistaken as sisig. Well, it’s not sisig. Dinakdakan is a totally different dish from sisig. As a matter of fact, there’s a distinct difference between the two dishes. Read on and learn more about dinakdakan. 😀

Dinakdakan: What Exactly Is It?

It’s an Ilocano dish that has been around for the longest time. It’s also called warek-warek. The fact that it uses a unique but edible ingredient shows the ingenuity of the Ilocanos. (We’ll get to that unique edible ingredient soon. 😊)

Related Read: Dinakdakan Vs Sisig: What Will It Be For You?

Dinakdakan up close showing pieces of meat, chilies, and onions.
Yummy dinakdakan up close. 😃 Photo courtesy of Pit Stop Grill.

Dinakdakan is such a versatile dish. It can either be an appetizer or a main dish. For some folks, it can even be a “pulutan” dish as well.

Dinakdakan is such a versatile dish. It can either be an appetizer or a main dish. For some folks, it can even be a “pulutan” dish as well.

It’s a great dish to serve when you’re in the company of friends, enjoying a couple of bottles of beer. Since it can be eaten as a pulutan, a lot of folks mistake it as sisig. Again, it’s not!

It’s a great dish to serve when you’re in the company of friends, enjoying a couple of bottles of beer. Since it can be eaten as a pulutan, a lot of folks mistake it as sisig. Again, it’s not!

Another reason why dinakdakan is so versatile is the fact that it can be served chilled or hot. Bet you didn’t know that 😊

As an appetizer, you can serve it cold. You just have to cook the parts of the pig. Then mix with the other ingredients. Chill and serve cold. That is if you want it served that way.

As an appetizer, you can serve it cold. You just have to cook the parts of the pig. Then mix with the other ingredients. Chill and serve cold. That is if you want it served that way.

The Unique Ingredient

I asked an Ilocano friend of mine if the name dinakdakan had some kind of meaning. According to my source, dinakdakan refers to the parts of the face of a pig.

My source stresses the fact that the dish is not dinakdakan if it doesn’t have that unique but edible ingredient that’s coming from the pig’s face. 

My source stresses the fact that the dish is not dinakdakan if it doesn’t have that unique but edible ingredient that’s coming from the pig’s face.

A Very Simple Recipe

The recipe for this particular dish is very simple. It uses certain parts of a pig that are usually ignored. Hence, you can easily get the ingredients from the wet market.

The one thing about a dinakdakan recipe is the way it’s cooked. Despite its simple ingredients, it takes some time to cook it.

The one thing about a dinakdakan recipe is the way it’s cooked. Despite its simple ingredients, it takes some time to cook it.

To add more flavor to the dish, you need to marinate the pig’s face for an hour. Yes, one whole hour. Once it’s done, you need to grill it, which takes some time as well.

Take note that this is a regular home-cooked dish in a typical Ilocano home. It takes a lot of time to get it done. So much effort is put into cooking the dish.

Take note that this is a regular home-cooked dish in a typical Ilocano home. It takes a lot of time to get it done. So much effort is put into cooking the dish.

That’s just the way it is for any Ilocano. It’s natural for them to put some honest-to-goodness effort in whatever they do. 😊

Here Are The Dinakdakan Ingredients

Now, let’s get to the dinakdakan ingredients. The unique but edible ingredient of this Ilocano dish is the pig’s brain. According to my source, it’s not dinakdakan if it’s not cooked with a pig’s brain. There you have it …take it from a true-blue Ilocano.

Using the pig’s brain as an ingredient for this particular dish shows the creativity of the Ilocanos. Who would have thought you could eat a pig’s brain? Nonetheless, it is edible.

Using the pig’s brain as an ingredient for this particular dish shows the creativity of the Ilocanos. Who would have thought you could eat a pig’s brain? Nonetheless, it is edible.

pig's brain on a yellow plate.
You can get a pig’s brain from the wet market. As you can see, some of the pig’s brain is wrapped in plastic. There’s a good reason why you need to wrap it in plastic.

You can get a pig’s brain from the wet market and it’s very cheap.
Knowing that there’s pig’s brain in an authentic dinakdakan dish simply means it’s impossible for it to be sisig and vice versa. So, let’s stop the comparison between the two dishes. 😊
Here are the dinakdakan ingredients:

These are pretty simple ingredients. Take note that some recipes call for sukang iloko, which could serve as some kind of dressing.

Here’s How To Cook Dinakdakan

It’s previously mentioned that it takes some time to cook this particular dish. That’s because you need to marinate the pig’s face first for one whole hour. After that’s done, you need to cut them into small pieces so that you could easily grill them.

At this point, the pig’s brain has already been boiled.

There’s no need to worry about eating it raw since you’ve boiled it already. The only raw ingredients of this particular dish are onions, ginger, and chilis.

Dinakdakan on a green serving dish.
It takes a lot of time and effort to cook dinakdakan but it’s worth it. 👍 Photo courtesy of Pit Stop Grill.

So how do you cook the pig’s brain? As previously mentioned, you can start off by placing the pig’s brain in a small plastic bag. Don’t worry … a pig’s brain is pretty small. Hence, you just need a small plastic bag.

Once you have placed the pig’s brain into a plastic bag, boil it in a pan of water. You might be wondering why there’s a need to put the pig’s brain in a plastic bag. Well, the reason is pretty simple.

Keeping the pig’s brain in a plastic bag will keep it together. If it’s not in a plastic bag, it will end up all over the pan, mixed with water.

Keeping the pig’s brain in a plastic bag will keep it together. If it’s not in a plastic bag, it will end up all over the pan, mixed with water. That’s something you don’t want to happen since you need the exact texture of the pig’s brain to add to the dish.

Once the pig’s brain is cooked set it aside. Cut the grilled parts of the pig into tiny bits. Then add in the sliced onions, red and green chilis, and ginger. At this point, you can add in the pig’s brain. It will add that unique texture and taste to the dish. Sprinkle some kalamansi or lemon. Then add a dash of salt and pepper.

Dinakdakan in a green serving dish.
Here’s the finished product. This is super creamy dinakdakan, thanks to the super creamy texture of the pig’s brain.

There’s something about the pig’s brain that makes dinakdakan super yummy. It’s no wonder the original dinakdakan is made with it😀

The texture is not just creamy but very light. And the taste is superb. Even if you eat it the day after, the taste doesn’t change at all.

Day-old dinakdakan in a white cup.
This is the dinakdakan the day after. Although the creaminess of the pig’s brain is absorbed, the taste is still there. Thanks to the pig’s brain, this dish doesn’t dry up the next day.

Crispy Dinakdakan Without The Pig’s Brain

You can also make some crispy dinakdakan without the pig’s brain. Of course, it won’t be authentic but if you can’t find some pig’s brain or you simply don’t want to eat it, you can use some mayonnaise instead.

Just follow the directions mentioned above and add in some mayonnaise. If you want to make it a crispy dish, you can also cook it on a sizzling plate. This process of cooking crisy dinakdakan resembles sisig but it’s still not sisig. 

Just follow the directions mentioned above and add in some mayonnaise. If you want to make it a crispy dish, you can also cook it on a sizzling plate. This process of cooking crispy dinakdakan resembles sisig but it’s still not sisig.

Fun Facts About Pig’s Brain

BTW, did you know that a pig’s brain contains zero carbs? Yes, zero! Its basic nutrients are fat (9.5 grams) and protein (12.1 grams).

In terms of calories, there about 130 in 100 grams of pork brain. Unfortunately, it is high in cholesterol. Nonetheless, a pig’s brain is packed with vitamins such as C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12.

In terms of calories, there about 130 in 100 grams of pork brain. Unfortunately, it is high in cholesterol. Nonetheless, a pig’s brain is packed with vitamins such as C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12.
There you have it. You now know the reason why this particular dish can never be sisig and vice versa.
Have you tasted dinakdakan? Can you name a local restaurant that serves it?

9 thoughts on “Dinakdakan: You Won’t Believe The Ingredient That Makes It Yummy

  1. Avatar

    I have been learning a lot about Filipino food here on your site. Your cuisine is very interesting. Please share more. I am looking forward to reading more about your colorful cuisine.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    I am learning a lot here. I’ve always thought that dinakdakan was made with mayo. I had no idea about its origin. Thank you for enlightening me.

    Reply
    1. Avatar

      Where I live, there’s no pig’s brain. Sometimes I’m lucky to find pig’s face in the Asian Store but it’s not all the time. I use the belly part of the pig and mayo.

      Reply
  3. Avatar

    I was inspired to cook dinakdakan using pig’s brain. I was kinda hesitant in the beginning but I wanted to see how the original recipe tastes like. It tastes a lot different than mayonnaise. Even the smell is different and you are right because it’s a lot tastier with pig’s brain.

    Reply
    1. Mommy Snooky

      Hi, Rissa. That’s good to know. At first, I was a bit hesitant to eat the version with pig’s brain but I’m glad I did. It’s very good and very tasty.
      As I mentioned, it still tastes good and doesn’t dry up the next day. 🙂

      Reply

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