Ilocos Region, Philippines – You haven’t been to Ilocos unless you’ve tried authentic Ilocano dishes. Known for being thriftiest people in the Philippines, Ilocanos keep their food simple but impressive. Their cuisine only use the ingredients that are abundant in their surroundings but delivers distinct flavors! These flavors are brought by using bagoong (shrimp sauce) and Ilocano vinegar and garlic.
Below are our few personal favorites:
- Ilocos Longganisa – Far far different from other versions of Filipino Longganisa. This one is made with garlic and meat marinade in Ilocano’s local vinegar. Best for breakfast paired with garlic rice!
- Empanda Espesyal – The usual Filipino Empanada’s contains chicken meat, potato, chopped onion, and raisins wrapped with flour dough but in Ilocos it’s different. The filling contains green papaya, monggo beans, and upon request, chopped ilocano Ilocos Longganisa, and egg. Unlike the usual empanada these are orange wrapped in orange colored dough, deep fried rather than baked. Thus, it’s savory and crispy. We love eating this after pouring some Ilocos Vinegar, the sourness and crunchiness will give you the *kilig*.
- Bagnet – For the love of pork! It may look ordinary, but once you’ve tried it you’ll very likely to ask for more . Unlike other deep fried dish, bagnet is fried twice and fried longer in order to achieve a consistent blistered, crackling skin. Best paired with a KBL dip (kamatis (tomato), bagoong (shrimp paste), and lasona (Ilocano term for onion) but you might need some extra rice.
- Pinakbet – Ilocano version of stewed vegetables of eggplant, bitter melon(ampalaya), okra and tomatoes seasoned with bagoong isda (fish sauce). It is a good dish on its own but it is better when paired with Bagnet. 🙂