How to Make Special Vinegar Dip (Sukang Sawsawan)

Whether eating snacks or meals, Filipinos enjoy food with various condiments to enhance flavor. Also known as “Sukang Sawsawan,” the Special Vinegar Dip is one of the favorite condiments of Filipinos for its extraordinary flavor. This unique sauce is not just a condiment since it represents a rich, distinct, and refined taste of Filipino cuisine and culture. If you’re wondering how to elevate your meals, this Special Vinegar Dip recipe will not disappoint.

While vinegar sauces are widely used in Asian cuisine, this recipe is popular in the Philippines. Unlike other vinegar dip recipes, the Filipino version only uses vinegar. It doesn’t have soy sauce or black vinegar like the dip usually served with Gyoza and Chinese food. So this recipe tastes great with fried and salty Filipino foods, from Lumpiang Togue, Chicharon, and Lechon Kawali. The best thing about this recipe is you can make it with just a few ingredients.

The history of this traditional Filipino sauce can be traced back to the pre-colonial era of the Philippines. In addition, Filipino cooking methods and ingredients are inspired by condiments, such as vinegar dip sauces. Over the years, these sauces were developed thanks to the contributions of American, Chinese, and Spanish cultures. Therefore, the Sukang Sawsawan is a fine example of the Philippines’ rich history and cuisine, which remains rooted and plays a vital role in current Filipino cooking. But where did vinegar come from, and how was it invented?

Vinegar was derived from the French word “vin aigre,” which translates to sour wine or a wine past its time. The origin of vinegar can be traced back to Babylon in 5000 B.C.E. Back then, it was used for cooking, as a preservative, medicine, and drink to promote well-being and increase strength. According to the legend, the vinegar was discovered due to a wine forgotten in storage for a few months, resulting in fermentation and turning sour. It’s a combination of water and acetic acid, which is produced through a two-step fermentation method.

Vinegar was traditionally used for medicinal purposes in China, Greece, and the Middle East. It’s used to aid digestion and cough and as an antibacterial ointment to dress wounds. Today, it has various uses, such as medicine, cleaning, preservatives, condiments, and cooking. In the Philippines, vinegar is mainly used for cooking or as condiments. There are also different kinds of vinegar in the country, such as the Sukang Maasim (sugarcane), the Sukang Paombong (coconut water), and Sukang Iloco (basi wine).

Aside from the locally produced, there are other varieties of vinegar, like balsamic, rice, wine, apple cider, and malt. Anyway, you can use whatever vinegar you want for this recipe. Just prepare all the ingredients, and you’re good to go. If you want the sauce to taste even better, store it in a clean and tightly sealed container to prevent bacterial growth while fermenting.

You can ferment this recipe for at least a week to make it more flavorful. Afterward, you can use it as an appetizer sauce or a condiment for grilled meat and seafood. What’s more? It goes well with meat, from chicken, pork, and fish. The Special Vinegar Dip also complements many Filipino foods, such as Adobo, Lechon, Spring Rolls, and battered quail eggs. So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a shot to spice things up in the kitchen!

How to Make Special Vinegar Dip (Sukang Sawsawan)


  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 medium-sized cucumber chopped
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 chili chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped


  • In a small bowl, put all the ingredients.
  • Mix well then serve with your favorite fried or grilled food. Enjoy your special vinegar dip!


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