The Ilocanos make great Philippines foods and are often called the frugal gourmets and like the French cuisine, has its roots in peasant cooking, making something interesting out of something simple and basic.
The first things people think of with Ilocano food is its signature foods such as pakbet (pronounced as pak-butt); the delicious bagnet (bag-nutt) and of course longganisa. Pinakbet is the contracted form of the Ilocano word pinakebbet which means shrunk or shriveled. Try these other great Ilocano Cuisine ideas
Ilocanos use bagoong or fish paste or fermented monamon which is a fish variety. The basic vegetables used include the native bitter melon, eggplant, tomato, ginger, okra, string beans, lima beans, chili peppers and winged beans. As a note nearby Serrat is famous for its very delicious tomatoes and they are a great part of dishes.
Ilocos Norte was never an easy place to live and the Ilocanos got this reputation for being very frugal with limited resources and the fact is nothing is wasted in the Ilocano kitchen.
They use everything that can be eaten and demand the freshest ingredients. Try these other great Ilocano Cuisine ideas.
Ilocano cooking us quite distinct from other Philippine regions as they have a large range of bitter flavors and this much sought after. The source of bitterness often comes from common ampalaya or bitter melon and the Ilocano cook will retain the bitter juice by cutting it only halfway, where elsewhere in the Philippines both the white membrane and seeds are completely removed, before being blanched with salt before use.
Another common source for the bitter taste is derived from the papait or apdo (bile) of the cow, carabao or goat. The papait, which for most is just waste, is an essential ingredient for famous dishes such as pinapaitan, imbaliktad and sinanglaw that give it that distinctive signature Ilocano taste. Taste Philippines foods in Ilocos Norte.
Grilled and fried fish are treated similarly where the gills are removed, and the innards are left intact inside the fish belly. The bangus is usually grilled whole, along with scales and intestines. When you eat the fatty belly, you get a bitter aftertaste from the innards and bile, not unlike having papaitan and dipping this with bagoong na isda, kalamansi and sili. In the whole Ilocos region fried fish entrails sprinkled with salt and dipped in sukang Iloko (which is a naturally fermented sugarcane juice infused with dried parts of samak, a medicinal plant) and is a favorite pulutan.
There is another indispensable ingredient in every Ilocano kitchen and that is fish bagoong. This is also frequently used as a dipping sauce and is present in most meals. Inabraw, which is also called dinengdeng, is the fairly generic term for a delicious vegetable stew that is flavored with the bagoong, tomatoes and ginger. The pakbet is also flavored in the same way. Taste Philippines foods in Ilocos Norte.
The pakbet is cooked in a kawali or palayok, with the different vegetables laid in layers. The firmest vegetable pieces are placed at the bottom before being covered with tomatoes and then chunks of bagnet. Lastly it is doused with bagoong before being covered and cooked. The dish will actually be cooked in the vegetables own juice. Ilocano cooks say that pakbet with squash or flavored with bagoong alamang or shrimp paste isnt real thing. Enjoy great Philippines Foods in Ilocos Norte.