A mention of Ilocos and images of Paoay, Marcos, Pagudpud are conjured. But don’t forget the food: bagnet, pinakbet, papaitan and those fit for pasalubong (gifts that one brings to friends and family when one comes back home) like chichacorn, longganisa (native sausages), bibingka (rice cakes) and other sweets.
Ever since I’ve tasted this Laoag longganisa, I have always made it a point to eat one or two whenever I’m in Laoag. It was love at first bite! What with the spicy and garlicky flavor that is so unlike those I have eaten in most parts of the country that is somewhat sweet. Here, one can get it at the market (as posted in the photo above which was taken in the stall at the third floor of the public market) or at streetside eateries being cooked over hot coals. The saltiness is just alright and with less fat compared to the rest. As for the Vigan longganisa, I first tasted it in Sagada, Mt. Province but when I’ll come back to Vigan sometime next month, I will definitely try it again.
Empanada is, like the longganisa is obiquitous in most foodstalls around the city of Laoag and Vigan. These two cities, while they have the same shape and color (that from Vigan is paler compared to Laoag), its the stuffing inside that differs:
– Laoag empanada have for its filling mung beans, longganisa Laoag and egg
-Vigan empanada have for its filling cabbage, longganisa Vigan and egg
Of the two, I find those from the former to be filling and somewhat heavy but both are tasty. A visit to these two cities is never complete without partaking in this delectable streetfood.
Royal bibingka of Vigan is somewhat different from the usual rice cakes that I have tasted in Manila (like in Cafe Via Mare), Laguna (near the Southwoods exit , and anywhere else in the country including my home province in Cebu. Its texture is akin to a cassava cake. Compared to the one I’ve tasted near the Southwoods exit along SLEX in Laguna, I prefer the latter.
Chichacorn, chicharon (pork rind that is fried to a crisp) conjoined with corn to denote, what else, crispy fried corn kernels in different flavors. My officemates very much like these in different flavors: barbecue, cheese, plain salted and garlic. Its a popular pulutan (bar chow) or just as a pica-pica food.
When I get back to Vigan, I would want to taste their: okoy (shrimps in batter fried to a crisp, special tupik (a sticky rice, sugar concoction) that is placed inside bamboo tubes just like the dudul or durol of Sulu, kalamay (sticky rice and sugar with, I guess, coconut milk) and other Ilocano delicacies.