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Humba- foodwithmae (3 of 3)

Leyte Humba

Oozing with savoury, sweet flavours and melt in your mouth pork bites, here’s my Braised Pork Belly in soy sauce and vinegar with salted black beans, palm sugar and star anise. 

What is Humba?

Let’s get this completely clear, Humba is NOT Adobo! 

They both are braised with soy sauce and vinegar. Both have bay leaves and peppercorns. The differences between them are big in terms of flavours and ingredients used. Humba’s flavour profile is savoury and sweet. Meanwhile Adobo is balanced between savoury and sour depending on the region. In terms of ingredients, Humba has salted black beans and star anise. Humba has Chinese influences with the use of Salted black beans and sometimes soybean paste. My recipe did not have soybean for preference but you can certainly add it to yours if you like. Humba is from Eastern Visayas provinces of Samar and Leyte. As some of you might know my mama is from Leyte and I grew up there, so this dish is something both she and I have grown up with. 

Swap it!

Meat – I used pork belly with this recipe but you can also use pork shoulder or pig trotters.

Soy Sauce and Vinegar – I used the brand Datu Puti to get that authentic taste or use any Filipino brand soy and vinegar but if you really can’t find any, then any malt vinegar or any soy sauce you can find will do. However, it will differ a lot in taste.

Palm Sugar – this is what my family used so it’s what I’m used to. You may swap this with brown sugar. 

Peppercorn – I know this is not for everyone, you can use crushed pepper or grounded pepper too.

Top Tip

Marinating the pork overnight will help make your meat taste even more amazing. I definitely recommend marinating for as long as possible. Once you simmered your humba, reduce a sauce a little for that bold flavours.

Humba- foodwithmae (3 of 3)


500g pork belly
8 garlic cloves
1 small onion
100ml soy sauce
50ml vinegar
3-4 tablespoons palm sugar
4 star anise
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorn
100ml water
Banana blossoms (optional)
Cooking oil



Using a container with a lid, add chopped pork belly, half of chopped garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, palm sugar, star anise, bay leaves and peppercorn. Mix everything until the meat is covered with all the seasoning. Marinate for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge. 




Once the pork is marinated, take it out of the fridge and put it aside for later. In a pan, heat some oil, saute chopped onion for 1 minute, then add chopped garlic and then add the pork without the marinade. Cook the pork for 10 minutes while mixing them often. Next, add the marinade into the meat. Bring it to a boil on high heat.




Once it’s boiling, turn the heat to medium and put the lid on. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes to reduce the sauce a little bit. Or you can turn it off, by this point your humba is ready. 




Humba is best served with some boiled jasmine rice. 

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