looloo’s Liempo Blind Taste Test (Feat. A Special Sauce!)

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It’s undeniable that Filipinos love pork. And one of our all-time favorite ways to enjoy it is by grilling it up and turning it into liempo! It’s tender, juicy, and flavorful, explaining why it’s served practically everywhere–at your lola’s house, in turo-turo joints, and even in upscale restaurants.

Liempo Blind Taste Test

But do you know the one thing that can make or break a slab of liempo? The sauce! Everyone has their own version, whether it be mixed with calamansi, onions, or chili, and it can really change up the way this well-loved dish tastes. But it’s not always for the better.

Which is why for this looloo Blind Taste Test, we bought liempo from different places in the metro and tried each one of them out with our all-time favorite liempo partner–Knorr!

While Knorr is used popularly as marinade, would it also be a great alternative dipping sauce for liempo??

The Rules

We would still be eating right now if we had included every single place that served liempo in this BTT. So we narrowed it down to just six popular Filipino restaurants in the metro:

  1. Mesa
  2. Fely J’s
  3. Reyes
  4. Dencio’s
  5. Sentro
  6. Gerry’s Grill

Liempo Blind Taste Test Judges

The judges, namely Gwen I., Pam L., Peanut D., and Roegan T. of the looloo crew, had the ‘difficult’ task of tasting all six batches of liempo. With blindfolds on for the entire BTT, they rated each one based on tenderness, juiciness, and fat to meat ratio. The lowest possible score for each category is 1 and the highest 5.

The Results

Liempo #1: Mesa Filipino Moderne

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Roegan T. Pam L. Average Score
Tenderness 4 5 4 4 4.25
Juiciness 4 4 3 3 3.5
Fat-to-meat Ratio 2 2 3.5 2.5 2.5

Mesa Liempo BTT

Mesa’s liempo impressed the judges with its tenderness, while it got average scores for juiciness. When it was time to rate its fat to meat ratio, everyone agreed that there was a bit too much fat in every slice.

Mesa Liempo BTT

After sampling the liempo with Knorr, they concluded that it would make for a good alternative sauce, especially if you’re looking for more flavor. “It gave the fat more taste. If you get a really fatty liempo, you’re better off with this sauce because it adds a nice balance of sweet and salty flavors to it,” said Peanut D.

Mesa can be found at these locations.

Liempo #2: Fely J’s Kitchen

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Roegan T. Pam L. Average Score
Tenderness 3 3 2 3 2.75
Juiciness 3 3 2 3 2.75
Fat-to-meat Ratio 3 3.5 3 4 3.375

Fely J's Liempo BTT

The judges felt that Fely J’s liempo could be improved a bit more in terms of tenderness, juiciness, and fat to meat ratio. According to Peanut D., it wasn’t as easy to cut into as the first one and that it could’ve used more fat because it was practically all meat.

Fely J's Liempo BTT

Good thing they enjoyed the liempo more when they dipped it in Knorr which added a touch of umami to the otherwise tasteless meat. “I liked it. It complements the meat. Because the meat on its own is a bit on the bland side and the sauce was a bit salty-sweet so it goes really well together,” said Pam L.

Fely J’s can be found at these locations.

Liempo #3: Reyes Barbecue

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Roegan T. Pam L. Average Score
Tenderness 4.5 4 4 4 4.125
Juiciness 4.5 3.5 4.5 4 4.125
Fat-to-meat Ratio 4 4 5 5 4.5

Reyes Barbecue Liempo BTT

Reyes Barbecue’s liempo got high scores for tenderness, juiciness, and fat to meat ratio. According to Pam L., chewing it wasn’t difficult at all, plus it was coated in quite a bit of oil which made it juicy. As for the fat to meat ratio, she said it was good because there wasn’t a lot of fat.

Reyes Barbecue Liempo BTT

When they tasted the meat with Knorr, the judges agreed that it was a great alternative sauce for this liempo because the flavors didn’t clash at all. In fact, the blend of sweet, salty, and savory flavors helped elevate the dish. “The meat is sweet and the sauce has a unique savory taste to it. They go really well together, said Pam L.”

Reyes Barbecue can be found at these locations.

Liempo #4: Dencio’s

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Roegan T. Pam L. Average Score
Tenderness 4.5 5 5 5 4.875
Juiciness 5 5 5 5 5
Fat-to-meat Ratio 4.5 5 4 4.5 4.5

Dencio's Liempo BTT

Dencio’s liempo got nearly perfect scores for tenderness, juiciness, and fat to meat ratio, earning itself lots of 5s and 4.5s. “The first piece I bit into was liempo heaven. It was very tender and juicy. The flavor of the liempo itself is also already very good,” said Peanut D.

Dencio's Liempo BTT

Dencio’s can be found at these locations.

Liempo #5: Sentro 1771

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Roegan T. Pam L. Average Score
Tenderness 2 2 2 2 2
Juiciness 2 2 2 1 1.75
Fat-to-meat Ratio 4 4 3.5 4 3.875

Sentro Liempo BTT

For the judges, Sentro 1771’s liempo could use some improvements in the tenderness and juiciness departments. They did, however, commend its fat to meat ratio, saying that it had just the right amount of both.

Sentro Liempo BTT

As for the liempo’s flavor with Knorr, everyone that thought it was a great improvement versus eating the meat on its own. The tamis-alat flavor of the seasoning was able to make up for everything the meat was lacking. “The Knorr managed to turn the liempo from just ok to pretty good,” said Roegan T.

Sentro 1771 can be found at these locations.

Liempo #6: Gerry’s Grill

Criteria Peanut D. Gwen I. Roegan T. Pam L. Average Score
Tenderness 4 5 5 4 4.5
Juiciness 4 3 4 4 3.75
Fat-to-meat Ratio 4 4 5 3.5 4.125

Gerry's Grill Liempo

Overall, Gerry’s Grill knows how to make pretty good liempo. The judges gave it decent scores for tenderness, juiciness, and fat to meat ratio, saying that it wasn’t too tough, nor was it too dry, and that it didn’t have too much fat either.

Gerry's Grill Liempo BTT

When they tried the liempo with Knorr, they thought it complemented the meat very well, giving it high scores of 4s and 4.5s. “The liempo itself doesn’t have much of a flavor so the sauce goes well with it, its distinct umami flavor coating and penetrating deep into the meat,” said Peanut D.

Gerry’s Grill can be found at these locations.

The Conclusion

Earning almost perfect scores for tenderness, juiciness, and fat to meat ratio, Dencio’s liempo has emerged the winner of this BTT!

Taste it for yourself to find out why the judges were raving so much about it. The liempos from Reyes Barbecue and Gerry’s Grill are worth trying out, too!

Liempo with Knorr Liquid Seasoning

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