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Filipino Sardines-Spinach and Tomatoes Soup: “Sabo Tacsyapu na!”

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This Sardines-Tomato and Spinach Soup is so good you’ll swear out loud. The Filipino soup’s name is an expletive in the Pampango dialect. But before I translate the swear word, let me tell you how a crisis brings out the best in everyone.  Storm Sandy hit us in the east coast and left such devastation. It also brought out the best soups from my pantry. We were caught off guard by the storm calamity  but I was not totally unprepared.

With the constant power outages, I quickly surveyed my pantry and found a gold mine in the cans of sardines I had received a while ago from my dear friend, Carmen. She had thoughtfully sent me a generous supply of sardines along with the Filipino cured meat products she makes.

I knew instantly I could whip up a good pot of sardine soup.  I  sautéed garlic, onions,  tomatoes and poured in the sardines, broth and spinach. After a quick boil  I had a simmering potful of sinfully good, tomato-flavored sardines soup. It is so amazing that the original recipe of this soup is a Kapampangan expletive that translates to “Soup! Son of a b—-!“. For those who are curious, , Pampanga, a province north of Manila, is known as the  culinary capital of the Philippines”. Yes, I swear this soup is that good! Served hot with the fragrant boiled jasmine rice, it was  splendid and swear-worthy!

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5 from 1 vote

Filipino Sardines-Spinach and Tomato Soup: Sabo Tacsyapu Na

This Filipino Sardines-Spinach and Tomato Soup is one of my go-to soups that's filled with a favorite ingredient : a can of sardines. My parents taught me the versatility of sardines and I've created different entrees, sides, soups or appetizers with it. This sardine soup is no exception. It is so good that the original name is a Pampango expletive, which translates to "Soup! Son of a b----!" It  drives home the point that this simple sardine soup is so good, you'll swear out loud after the first slurps. This recipe was inspired by the original one " Sabo Tacsyapu na!" from the cookbook 'Atching Lillian's Heirloom Recipes' by cookbook author Lillian M. Borromeo. This soup serves 2 if eaten by itself or if enjoyed with rice.
Cook Time13 minutes
Total Time13 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Soups
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Filipino Sardines Soup
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 48kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled; crushed
  • 1 whole onion sliced
  • 1 whole tomato sliced
  • 1 can (4 3/8 ounces or 124 gm) Spanish sardines in tomato sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
  • for serving: boiled rice


  • In a medium stockpot, over medium high heat, add the vegetable.
  • Saute the garlic, onions and tomatoes. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, till onions and tomatoes are soft.
  • Add the sardines and mix around in the sauté. Crush the sardines to make small particles and so it incorporates the flavors of the tomato-onion mixture.
  • Pour the broth. Allow to boil, then lower heat to a slow simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the spinach leaves, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes till spinach is soft. Serve piping hot with a bowl of boiled jasmine white rice.
  • COOK'S COMMENTS: For this recipe, I used a can of 'Martin Pure Foods Eat Fish Spanish Sardines in Tomato Sauce & Olive Oil', a gift from the brand.
  • *Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos and  recipe content I wrote, on your website,books, films, television shows or videos  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe or content on another website, video, news article,or media outlets mentioned above please ASK my permission, re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


Serving: 1g | Calories: 48kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2585mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2260IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


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    1. Thanks, Nami! This sardine soup was often served when I was a little girl, and my mom used smoked fish or salmon, or different kinds of fishes. It’s cheap and very hearty especially if served with lots of white rice. Thanks for the kind wishes ~ always a delight to hear from you!

  1. Just saw this post on my Facebook feed and gosh, it brought a smile to my face! My late grandfather (who hails from Pampanga) used to always say that expression. I never realized it was an expletive and always understood it to mean something like “by golly!”, LOL!

    Hope each day brings life closer to being back to normal after Sandy. 🙂

    1. Hi Jean! I KNOW what you mean. My late dad, who was very righteous, used to say the last 3 syllables of this phrase aloud each time something mind-boggling was discussed at the dinner table. As a child, I always thought it meant what you thought, too ~ ‘by golly’ ! So funny now that we look back at those times. Thanks for the kind wishes and blog-visit. I hope the same thing, too ~ that life normalizes especially for those who lost lives and homes. Thanks for coming by 🙂

  2. Yum! This is a really simple and tasty soup! I modified it and added a bit of ginger, a dash of franks’s red hot, and baby bok choy instead of spinach. Very tasty. Thank you!

  3. I made this last night and it was delicious! It’s really simple but definitely tasty. I added some ginger to mine and it was a good complimentary to the broth.

  4. Would it be possible to change the items which are in yellow to a darker color? The yellow is very difficult to read, and I don’t want to miss a single word. Just found your site and love the recipes. I am a senior, so perhaps that’s the reason its difficult to read, but a red, blue or orange sure would be great. Thank You. Grama

    1. Hi,Barb. Thanks for visiting my blog. The ‘yellow’ highlighted words are links to other blog posts which give additional information to the story or the recipe. You can simply link on the yellow word and it brings you to another of my blog posts. We will do our best to make it readable to you and the other faithful followers. Enjoy the recipes!

  5. I made this tonight and it was fantastic!! I didn’t have spanish sardines so i just used water packed ones and it was still delicious. I added cilantro and chili garlic sauce for some extra kick and it was all I could do not to eat the whole pot myself. Great recipe!

    1. As indicated in the recipe, I added fresh spinach leaves. You can improvise and any preferred green leafy vegetables available. Hope that helps. I’m happy you love this soup 🙂

  6. This is my go-to lunch recipe when I don’t know what else to make. So easy, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.

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