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Papaitan, also called Pinapaitan, is an exotic soup dish with a bitter taste. Papaitan was derived from the Ilocano word "pait" or "napait" which means "bitter" or "bitter taste", respectively. There are many ways to produce the bitter taste in this dish like using the skin of the lemon fruit, juice of a bitter melon, bile of a fish, or coffee. In our particular recipe, we use the bitterness coming from the "goat" or "beef" bile. In Ilocos region where the ultra exotic and authentic papaitan can be found, the bitter juice extracted from the animal's bladder or by squishing the grass in the goat's stomach is used. Some folks don't like the bitter taste of this dish so they try to alter the "bitter taste" into "sour taste". Although this will also alter the very definition of papaitan, what they do is they sour the dish with sampalok, kamias, santol, sinigang mix flavoring, or extracted juice of tamarind.
Papaitan is one of the famous dishes of the Ilocanos which consist of different goat or beef innards such as tripe, liver, kidney, intestine, pancreas, and heart. Originally, the goat innards were used for this dish but because of the introduction of cooking variation and substitution, beef innards were also used used.
It was believed that this dish already existed among the Ilocanos before the coming of the Spaniards. History tells that the Spaniards were not much successful in their conquest of Ilocos region and because of this, they were not able to teach the Ilocanos most of their ways of cooking. The Ilocanos were the first ethic group to revolt against the Spanish rule in the Philippines, declaring Pedro Almazan as their "apo" or supreme leader. Series of Ilocano revolts followed under the leadership of Diego Silang and his famous wife, Gabriela. Papaitan, therefore, is one of the most authentic Filipino recipes long before Spain colonized the Philippines.
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