The Ilocano dishes are one of the most unique in the country. They have a distinct, exotic, and delicious taste that appeal to food lovers who want something out of the ordinary. So, if the northern tip of the country is your next travel destination, you need this list of must-try food in Ilocos and where to find them. [Check out our list of top tourist spots in Ilocos Sur]
Bagnet (Crispy Chicharon Baboy)
This deep-fried pork meat is best with hot rice and Sukang Ilocos dip. Almost all food outlets and restaurants offer this signature dish of the region. If you are in Vigan, look for Lilong and Lilang Restaurant because they serve authentic Ilocano Bagnet with KBL (kamatis (tomatoes), bagoong (anchovy paste), and lasona (shallots).
There is a bagnet dish with a twist if you try something new- the Bagnet Bacon Maki of Café Leona in Calle Crisologo, where crispy pork is wrapped with short-grain rice and dried seaweed in fried bacon.
Longganisa (Native Sausage)
There are two famous variants of this dish- Vigan Longganisa and Laoag Longganisa. The Vigan variety has garlic and sweet taste with a spicy bite while the Laoag variety is saltier and plumper. They are available in public markets and served in local restaurants or eateries in Ilocos.
Dinardaraan (Crispy Dinuguan)
The Ilocano version of this famous pork blood stew is thicker and not soupy. The best places to try this dish when you are in Laoag City are Johnny Moon’s Café and La Preciosa. It is also served in various eateries and restaurants in the region.
Sinanglao (Boiled Beef or Carabao)
It is made of cow or carabao’s innards cooked beef soup stock with vinegar, leaks, onion rings, and kamias. The best places to try this dish are Gloria’s Sinanglaoan in the junction of Calle Gov. Reyes and Calle Liberation in Vigan or a booth near the church between Plaza Salcedo and Plaza Burgos.
This type of pizza uses the local specialties as toppings like Pinakbet Pizza, Dinuguan Pizza, and Bagnet Pizza. All these variants are made popular by Café Herencia near the Paoay Church. They are also served in Saramsam Restaurant and other cafes. If you like Empanada Pizza, go to Gian’s at Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Another must-try food in Ilocosis this filling mid-afternoon snack. If you are in Batac, don’t miss the deep-fried longganisa patty, egg, and bean sprouts in a bright orange wrap. Batac Empanada is regarded as one of the best-tasting version of this delicacy. Try this at Lanie’s Batac Special Empanada Restaurant. Another popular place is Glory’s Empanada stall in the Riverside Empanadahan.
Vigan has a tempting variant with cabbage, egg, and longganisa filling. It is available at Irene Empanadas in Calle Salcedo. Ilocos empanada is readily available in sidewalk walk food stalls and local food outlets.
It is a mixture of glutinous rice and coconut milk, wrapped in a banana leaf strip. This sweet, sticky kakanin has a one-of-a-kind, smoky taste that is perfect with a cup of hot coffee. It is available in public markets or local food stalls. The best tupig can be found in Sarrat and Currimao, Ilocos Norte.
This yummy dessert comes from combining rice flour, sugar cane juice, coconut milk, and anise. You can find the tastiest Dudol in Paoay.
Incorporate food trip into your itinerary and indulge eating their Naimas (“yummy”) dishes. This short list of must-try food in Ilocos is just a snippet of the culinary expertise of Ilocanos.