Apan-apan: The Dish Reflective of the Tradition of Ilonggo Farmers

Generally known as adobong kangkong in the Philippines, some regions in the country have different versions and name for the dish. In the Visayas region, adobong kangkong is called “apan-apan“.

apan-apan; photo courtesy of Joy Perono

In the Ilonggo and Hiligaynon dialect, “apan” means grasshopper. During the days when rice fields were still pesticide free, farmers would catch grasshoppers infesting the crops with their large nets. It is then cooked as an appetizer or “sumsuman” when farmers gather after a hard day’s work for a drinking session or as a dish for dinner with the family.

Today, apan-apan is now cooked with kangkong (tangkong in Ilonggo) stems and or with leaves simmered in sautéed bagoong alamang (“guinamos” in Ilonggo dialect), garlic, onions and native vinegar. Serve with hot steaming rice… a perfect meal of the day!

If you have not tried cooking this yet, try this version taken from Antique:


  • 2 cup river spinach (kangkong) stems
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste (bagoong alamang)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cooking oil

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Remove the leaves of kangkong so that only the stems are left. Cut stems 1 inch long. Set aside.
  2. Sauté garlic and onion.
  3. Drop the kangkong stems and bagoong alamang. Stir for a while, then add little water and bring to a boil until the stems are cooked.
  4. Add vinegar and sugar. Let stand for few minutes.
  5. Serve hot!

You can also add ground pork to this recipe.

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