Mang Tomas (Filipino Pork Liver Sauce) | Sauced

Josh Bousel

When I decided to do my mini-lechon, I wanted the full experience, which required the inclusion of a pork liver-based dipping sauce. This sauce is most recognized by its brand name, Mang Tomas, whose bottled version—"All-purpose Sauce"—is based on an original creation by the lechon producer Mang Tomas de los Reyes in Quezon City in the Philippines.

I admit I'm not much of an offal eater, and while I'm starting to venture into this territory, pork liver has been one of the things I really do not care for. Unfortunately this aversion manifested itself in the middle of cooking—after the onions and garlic were sauteed and the liver was added and simmering with brown sugar and vinegar. At this point my mind decided the smell of the liver was something to be avoided at all costs rather than coveted as a savory treat.

Based on my visceral reaction just a day before, I thought I would end up having nothing to do with the sauce later, but a day removed and a plate of crispy pork can make all the difference.

I dipped my first piece of pork belly in and fully enjoyed the sweet and tangy start to the sauce that had a creamy, coating texture. There was a distinct liver flavor, especially with the aftertaste, but it didn't really get to me the way past pork liver has. Instead it seemed like a fit pairing, especially when those porcine dips were alternated with another Filipino classic, spicy vinegar.