Good Honest Ilocano Cuisine
Taste Philippines Cuisine in Ilocos Norte with Bagnet, which is the Ilocano version of lechon kawali amd these are pork squares that are first boiled in a salt solution, then air dried, and then deep fried twice until they are crisp and golden. Destructive but delicious!
Batac empanada and miki have become provincial famous items. They are served literally everywhere from stalls and my favorite stall is outside the central market in Laoag City.
Empanada is made from garlic longanisa along with grated green papaya or mashed mongo or togue which are mongo sprouts. This mixture is wrapped in annatto colored dough made from ground rice, and then deep fried to a crisp. Empanada is often served with a vinegar and garlic sauce.
Miki is home made noodles that are in a thick, chicken-flavored broth, and also colored with annatto, and sometimes topped with bagnet cracklings.
The names of some well known Ilocano dishes may sound rather rude and obscene to some. Puki-puki is a simple tortang talong, which is an eggplant that is first grilled, and then flattened, before being dipped in whisked egg and then fried. Its actually very tasty! It may get some laughter and red faces as its named after a female genitalia. Taste Philippines Cuisine in Ilocos Norte
Ilocano is simple and rightly termed honest. The dish abrao is a good example, and is made from various seasonal vegetables such as malunggay and saluyot which is then boiled in a bagoong and fish broth, and is great along with pakbet, grilled and steamed fish and various other other seafood, a great and simple meal. Taste Philippines Cuisine in Ilocos Norte
Also I love the various seaweed salads garnished with sliced tomatoes, or having bagnet with a side dish of KBL which is Kamatis Bagoong and Lasona which is sliced tomatoes, spring onions and fish sauce
Don’t forget desserts, such as fresh tropical fruits in season, along with Ilocano rice cakes tupig, patupat, linapet, dudol and sesame seeds in molasses linga all washed down with Philippine coffee or some local chocolate.
There are various other things to savour such as abuos which are giant winged ant eggs that gathered in the forest. They are slightly sour in taste and are usually sautéed in tomatoes and salt. They are considered by some as an aphrodisiac, and is eaten with rice or as pulutan. Full-grown ants are also cooked and eaten as are locusts.
At breakfast you can try out poki-poki or poqui-poqui which is an omelet made from sautéed eggplant along with garlic, onions, tomatoes and eggs
Marunggay also known as malunggay to Tagalog speakers is popular and the leaves are the foundation for abrao. The flowers are also used for salads, along with the tender fruit known as mara-utong as they are similar to thin string beans).
One advantage of the wet and rainy season is another great and rarer delicacy, the uong and these are wild mushrooms that are found the day after thunderstorms. They possess a delicate and very earthy flavor that makes them perfect for abrao and some make an adobo of uong that is seasoned with salt and garlic.
Ilocos Norte has an abundance of seafood, that includes lapu-lapu, maya-maya, dorado, tanguigui, lobsters, curacha and pitik known locally as kusimay). There is the sungayan which is a thick skinned black fish with a horn on the forehead and is great for grilling, and ilek which has a delicate oily meat that is perfect when grilled properly. Then there is ipon which are very small fish that are in season during the cold months and are very similar to dulong. Taste Philippines Cuisine in Ilocos Norte
Seaweeds are also plentiful and these range from ar-arusip to pokpoklo and gamet or what the Japanese call nori which is used to wrap sushi. Seaweeds are used to make soup, omelette or salad. Dinengdeng is a fish stew that is made with malunggay leaves and gamet. Pukpoklo is a stringy type of seaweed and kulot is the hair type, similar to the Chinese black hair seaweed.
Another seafood is collected from the shoreline and these include various seashells such as . These are generally sautéed with tomatoes and ginger, or mixed with some leafy greens
There is a freshwater fish known as bukto from the Bacarra river. They are best cooked paksiw or nilengta style. They are small fish and rather bony and they often deep fried and eaten bones and all. Taste Philippines Cuisine in Ilocos Norte
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