Pinikpikan, More than Just “Tinola”
Pinikpikan is more than a dish, it is a tradition. To describe, pinikpikan is a not merely a chicken broth dish, rather, it incorporates the flavors which emanates from the preparation of the chicken. It’s texture and flavor would come from the smokiness of the burned feather and the coagulated blood. The traditional preparation of pinikpikan is not merely the “beating” of the chicken but also the “reading” of the bile and liver of the chicken. The “reading” of the bile and the liver is, from many years ago, believed to be an indicator of good luck, when the bile is visible it is considered to be a sign of good luck for any endeavor that the tribe may undertake.
The dish’ name “Pinikpikan” was culled from the word “Pikpik” which means the process of beating the chicken. To prepare the chicken beating it on its neck and under its wings is necessary to coagulate the blood and trap it so that when the chicken is butchered it would not be drained of its blood. Then after that the chicken is “bathe” in fire to burn off the feathers. The burning process is what gives the Pinikpikan or the chicken its smoky flavor. The chicken is then butchered and all edible parts are cooked in a broth incorporating it with the traditional “Etag”, a salted meat which are cured in an earthen pot. The “Etag” adds to the saltiness of the dish as well as its natural oil.
Most restaurants in Baguio City that serves “Pinikpikan” incorporates the well-known Baguio City vegetable the “sayote” or “chayote” as well as ginger for added flavor. Although the traditional preparation is different from the commercial preparation of “Pinikpikan” one thing is for sure, this dish is perfect during Baguio City’s coldest weather.