Ginisang Upo with Pork is easy to make yet big on flavor. This vegetable side dish made with tender-crisp bottle gourd and pork belly strips is also nutritious, tasty, and budget-friendly! It’s delicious on its own or with steamed rice. As you can see from the list of ingredients, this ginisang upo with pork is similar to the pancit upo I posted a few days ago, sans the rice noodles. Pancit and upo make a surprisingly delicious combination and I urge you to give the recipe a try.

But if you’d rather enjoy upo with steamed rice, I’m all for it! This upo guisado is not only a nutritious and delicious vegetable dish, but it’s also easy to make and budget-friendly, too. As a bonus, bottle gourd is a low-calorie vegetable clocking in at just 14 calories per 100 grams!

How To Choose Upo

Choose young bottle gourds that are firm to touch and have a smooth, light green skin free of bruises, spots, or yellow discolorations.
If the squash is young, the seeds are tender and edible. If more mature, scoop out the seeds and spongy interior as the seeds are too hard for consumption and the spongy flesh can turn mushy during cooking.

Cooking Tips

Cut the pork and the bottle gourd squash into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking.
The bottle gourd has a high water content so add liquid sparingly.
Take the vegetable off the heat a tad firmer than you like as it will continue to cook and soften in the residual heat.
Season generously with freshly-ground pepper. Bottle gourd has a pretty mild, delicate flavor and needs that little kick of spice to be extra delicious.

How To Serve

Serve this ginisang upo with pork for lunch or dinner with steamed rice and your choice of grilled meat or fried fish.
Store leftovers in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat to 165 F or in the microwave until completely heated through.


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 pound pork belly, cut into thin strips
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
2 medium upo, peeled and cut into strips (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
salt and pepper to taste

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