A Lesson in Ilocano Cuisine

Travel Philippines

Feb 24, 2022

When in Ilocos, food tripping is a must! Ask anyone. Perhaps they’ll mention the cobblestone streets of Calle Crisologo. Then suddenly and with enthusiasm, they’ll immediately tell you about the longganisa, empanada, and bagnet.

What many are unaware of is that Ilocano Cuisine evolved from necessity. With the harsh conditions of the land, Ilocanos needed to make do with what they had, even the most bitter bitter gourd!

What we enjoy today is the Ilocano Cuisine that incorporates edgy flavors unlike other Philippine provinces. It isn’t any wonder they’re called kuripot or thrifty either. They’ve created excellent pica-pica even with leftovers and discarded meat! Have you tried dinakdakan and sinanglaw?

But to call Ilocano food exotic is an injustice. It’s homey, yummy, comforting, and leaves you happy and content. So here are a few dishes to put a smile on your face when traveling through this remarkable province where well-preserved history meets natural beauty and delectable feasts!

Pinakbet is a hefty mix of vegetables with a dash of pork and the local bagoong sauce to give you a healthy pairing to your fluffy rice. Often topped with bagnet, this dish might be all you need to end your day.

Bagnet is perfect for pork-lovers everywhere with extra-crispy skin and tender meat and is best eaten with a dip of the local bagoong sauce mixed with kamatis and lasona, the Filipino lime.

Longaniza Ilocos Norte is the region’s special sausage made with a lot of garlic and the tang of their locally-made vinegar.

Empanada uses the signature Ilocos Norte longganisa and adds vegetables and egg to give you a jam packed dish inside a crunchy, orange crust.

Tupig is a sticky, sweet snack. Often cooked in a grill before serving, this dessert wrapped in banana leaves and made with rice and coconut milk must be on the must-eat list of every sweet tooth!

These--and more!--in the many delicious restaurants and food stalls in Ilocos Norte will have you bonding with your tastebuds and relearning the wonders of a food trip!

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