The great ‘tinola’ debate

Is tinola just chicken with water? Or do you just don’t know how to cook one? Netizens weigh in.

Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Knorr Philippines and was produced by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the production of this piece.

The great tinola debate has been going on for a while – at home, in the office, within inner circles. But in 2021 it has finally reached our Twitter feeds.

Haters of tinolang manok stepped forward and voiced their disgust for what they say is just “manok na may tubig” (chicken with water), soup that tastes like water with seasoning if not tasteless at all. Some would even say that the vegetables that usually go with it – malunggay and sayote (Or is it papaya? This requires another debate.) – are equallyboring.

They say that tinola just can’t be compared with the big leagues of Filipino soup dishes like sinigang and nilaga. Sinigang has even been awarded the World’s Best Soup by Taste Atlas. No award giving body has said the same for tinola.

On the other side of this debate are people who say that their most favorite food is their mothers’ tinolang manok. They were appalled to see these tweets slandering their comfort food. They never thought that tinola tasted like “chicken with water.” For them, it’s a top tier Filipino dish that could even surpass the beloved sinigang.

So, they posed a question (or more accurately, a serious accusation) to the tinola Haters: Maybe you or your mom just doesn’t know how to cook tinola?

Some even offered ways to properly cook tinola that might change the way some haters taste it. Make sure to use fresh chicken. Boil the chicken first and use the chicken stock as soup. Sauté the garlic, onions, and ginger before adding water (or chicken stock). Don’t add too much water. Add Knorr Chicken Cubes to complement the chicken and herbs’ natural flavors.

While it’s very normal for people to have different tastes – just like how some people taste soap when they eat cilantro while others taste a beautifully fresh herb that completes every great Vietnamese or Mexican dish – there’s merit in looking at how you cook your tinolatoo.

Unlike baking, cooking a dish can be done in many different ways to suit your palate. Try looking for different recipes of tinola, there are a lot out there, and who knows? You might have a change of heart for this homey Filipino dish.

Just don’t close your doors on tinola. Tinola is not the enemy. Tinola is on our side. As the neutrals would say, don’t pit a beautiful Filipino dish against another. They are there for us to enjoy with our cups full of piping hot white rice after all. –

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