Menudo Vs Afritada: Can You Spot These Differences?

If you have seen Netflix’s “Guess that Ulam” challenge, you know that it is not easy to tell between a menudo and afritada. A lot of people mix these two dishes up; you are not alone! 

Still, if you want to impress other Internet users by guessing the right ulam, it is possible to pinpoint the subtle differences. Here, we have a detailed menudo vs afritada article featuring similarities, differences, and relevant FAQs for your reference. 

Keep reading.

Quick Facts


  • Type of meat and cut size: Longer and bigger chicken 
  • Type of vegetables/fruits: Carrots and potatoes 
  • Cooking method: Boiled and softened meat 


  • Type of meat and cut size: Bite-sized pork and liver cubes
  • Type of vegetables/fruits: Carrots, potatoes, raisins, bell peppers 
  • Cooking method: Fried meat 

Related: 30+ popular Mexican dishes

Menudo vs Afritada – A Detailed Comparison 

5 Similarities

  • Uses tomatoes

The first and most obvious similarity between the menudo and afritada is that they are a tomato-based stew. 

  • A Filipino favorite 

The second similarity is that they are both Filipino family-friendly classics. You can serve either stew on any occasion. 

  • Pairs with white rice 

Both these two recipes also share the same “company”: white rice. In other words, both stews go hand-in-hand with just-steamed, soft white rice. Though some modern variants, especially those in foreign countries, replace rice with bread. 

  • Cooking steps and standards 

Both types of stews start with sauteed garlic and onion using hot cooking oil. This gives them a flavorful taste. When cooked, the meat, either pork or chicken, has to be tender-soft. Leaves and spices are necessary to complete the dishes. 

  • Easy to find ingredients, prepare, and cook 

The materials are fairly inexpensive and not difficult to find. Plus, both are easy to prepare and cook. It is hardly possible to go wrong with these stews, even if you are new to cooking and are attempting the recipes for the first time. 

Here are a few recipes online that you can look through:

3 Differences 

  • Type of meat and cut size

A noticeable difference between menudo and afritada is the type of meat that is used. The latter uses chicken, while the former uses pork and, occasionally, liver. 

Another less noticeable difference is the meat’s cut size. The menudo’s chicken is generally a bit longer and bigger than the afritada’s pork and liver. 

More specifically, the pork and liver are bite-sized cubes. If you have the two stews side by side, you will see that the cut sizes differ.

  • Types of vegetables/fruits

While both include vegetables, the types used are slightly different. Potatoes and carrots are featured in either stew, but raisins and bell peppers are added for the afritada. Thus, you will find that a bowl of menudo is less “crowded” than a bowl of afritada. 

  • Cooking method 

To cook up a bowl of menudo, you boil. On the other hand, afritadas are fried. In fact, this is explained in the name itself, which is Spanish for “fry.” By the same token, you use a pot to make menudo and a wok or pan to make afritada. 

Below are some of the frequently asked questions that we get. Read through them to see if we answered any inquires you still have on this comparison. 

What Are Other Similar Ulams To Menudo And Afritada? 

Two other suprisingly similar stews to menudo and afritada are mechado and kaldereta. You may recognize these names from the same Netflix “Guess that Ulam” challenge. They are also household staples and go-to dishes for any occasion. Every Filipino growing up is familiar with these ulams. 

Even though they are very similar, some differences, aside from taste, exist for you to distinguish them: 

  • Mechado: This stew is distinctly fat-tasting. It is believed to have been inspired by Spanish culinary techniques. Mechado has savory-tangy flavors, unlike menudo and afritada. 
  • Kaldereta: This is a hearty stew with goat instead of pork. Like menudo, it includes livers. However, it is a bit thicker and less sweet. 

If you are interested in learning how to make these two stews, you can search for more information online, particularly on Youtube. 

What Are The Most Popular Add-ons For Menudo And Afritada Variants? 

Cheese is the most popular add-on for both menudo and afritada variants. It frequently appears in the United States. Other than that, sometimes, heavy cream, milk, or butter is added to the sauce. 

You will also find some versions that contain hot dogs and sausages, though they are usually not as common as cheese.  

Is Menudo A Mexican Dish?

There is a Mexican dish of the same name. However, the menudo that we have been referring to and juxtaposing with afritada is from the Philippines. 

Meanwhile, the Mexican version, also commonly referred to as “pancita,” has its distinct characteristics, as follows: 

  • It uses a cow’s stomach or tripe and broth that is chili-based. 
  • It is seasoned with lime, onions, cilantro, and oregano.
  • The broth is more liquidity than thick or paste-like. 

Mexican menudo is traditionally reserved for special occasions and larger gatherings. It is typical at weddings and is considered a natural remedy for hangovers. 

In addition, it is very time-consuming to prepare and cook. You can expect to shell out at least four to seven hours before the dish is ready to be served. Therefore, if you are not patient and willing to commit, it is best to avoid this dish. 

Congrats! You should now be able to apply what you have learned about menudo vs afritada to complete Netflix’s “Guess that Ulam” challenge!

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

Recent Posts