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Kaua‘i's Favorite Recipes

Pork and Squash (Tabungao) Soup

Type of Cuisine: Filipino
Provided By: Federico Acoba Jr.
Category: Local Favorite
From: Kekaha

Family Court Judge, Edmund Acoba, grew up in Kekaha, Kauaʻi, where squash/bottle gourd, or “tabungao” in Filipino, grew in abundance. One of his favorite dishes is Pork Tabungao soup. Judge Acoba learned to prepare this dish from his father, Frederico Acoba, Jr., who was an excellent cook. Judge Acoba frequents the Grove Farm Market to purchase his tabungao and other fresh vegetables.


2 lbspork -- cut into 1/2" cubes or as desired
5 - 6pieces chopped fresh garlic
2 tbssalt
2 tbspepper
6 -8 cupssquash or "tabungao" - sliced to desired thickness, removing skin, seeds and spongy interior. This squash species is also referred to as hyotan
5medium sized tomatoes, sliced
¼ cupcooking oil
1 bunchfresh watercress


  1. In medium-sized pot, add cooking oil and garlic -- brown garlic just a little
  2. Add pork, salt and pepper
  3. When pork is browned, cover pot, lower heat and allow to simmer to reduce pork juices
  4. When pork is almost fully cooked add sliced tomatoes. Simmer until tomatoes are reduced and pork is soft. Taste soup and add salt or pepper as needed.
  5. Add diced squash and simmer until 1/2 - 3/4 cooked. Remove from heat. Squash will continue to cook as soup is cooling.
  6. Optional: As soup is cooling, add desired amount of fresh watercress to soup
  7. Serve soup with a bowl of rice

Note: Do not add water. The pork, tomatoes and squash will make all the soup you need. If you want more soup add more tomatoes or squash.

Additional garnish: Shrimp paste -- diluted with the squash soup -- and used for dipping meat or adding more flavor each spoonful of soup and rice.

Recipe submitted by Judge Edmund Acoba