TBJ TRAVELS: Ilocos 4- Food Trip Around Ilocos + Food Shopping Tips
Hello! Welcome to the final blog post about my amazing trip to Ilocos; apologies, it took a while. Oh well...elections!
We went to Ilocos' top food spots and rated the best food offerings per restaurant/area; sharing it with everyone today!
LAOAG: LA PRECIOSA
La Preciosa had the best Bagnet in my opinion; well, add to that, it was the first- ever restaurant and proper meal we had when we reached Ilocos so I acknowledge that these may have contributed a lot to my verdict; nevertheless, it was really good; Bagnet was super crunchy and had the right balance of fat and meat. Other must- try dishes are Binagoongang Bagnet and Bagbet (Bagnet Pinakbet), and Carrot Cake with real carrot shavings.
Ferrero cake is also one of their best- sellers; I like this, but my friend was right; the Carrot Cake is the best and I've only realized it just now.
LAOAG: CAFE SARAMSAM
Cafe Saramsam is famous for their Dinuguan Pizza (Pig's Blood Pizza); how was it, you asked? It's cheesy pizza with soft, sour-salty meat. I actually like it! Another notable dish is Poque-Poque; it's mashed eggplant with tomatoes, spring onions, onions, and egg; there's also Dinakdakan (Pork with sausage and mayonnaise) and Insarabasab (grilled pork with onions and spring onions).
Are you in for something exotic? Try their Wild Basil Ice Tea!
Have fondue the Ilocano way with Kalti: it's sweet potatoes and banana with melted muscovado syrup with carioca balls. So good!
PAOAY: CAFE HERENCIA
Right across Paoay Church is a local favorite, Cafe Herencia, a quaint restaurant that prides themselves of Pinakbet Pizza.
Tadah! Pinakbet Pizza! It's Filipino Margerita, IMHO. This pizza plays with flavors as it's salty, sour, and a bit bitter due to Ampalaya; if you thought Dinuguan Pizza is weird, you have to try this yet with Bagoong (Fish sauce) and you know what? It's good! The bagoong we used in this pizza is Herencia's very own Bagoong recipe which you can buy and take home, and you should because it's sooo good with Bagnet!
But of course, BAGNET!
When in Pagudpud, eat like a local; go for the food stalls at the street beside Saud beach; the stalls have good stuff to offer such as grilled seafood, barbecue, and longanisa (sausage).
At the plaza, there's a square dedicated to empanada sellers; you can enjoy Ilocos' favorite delicacy for as much as you like at this place; IMHO, this place has the best empanada next to the one I had at Kabigan falls.
Couldn't resist it, I just had to eat Okoy!
VIGAN: CAFE LEONA
I like Cafe Leona's untouched interior; the chipping walls and nearly erased paintings on the wall accidentally looked beautiful.
Wasn't able to resist a cup of hot chocolate!
All in all, Ilocos Norte and Sur share the same dishes and recipes, but there are just one or two exclusive dishes/delicacies that differentiate one from the other; there's no variety, but the food tastes good generally.
Of course don't leave the beautiful this province without taking a piece of it home; shop for the local delicacies and here are the best places to get them:
San Nicolas in Laoag, according to locals, is the best place to get Longanisa.
It's a clean Wet/Dry market with a room intended for fresh longanisa and bagnet; Bagnet is around P390.oo/kilo (SOOO AFFORDABLE!) and Longanisa at P280.00/kilo.
You can also purchase fresh salt from the market; this pack costs P10.00 each. Take note, these are fresh; no chemicals added and it wasn't processed!
If you buy Bagnet (or even if you don't!), be sure to take home a bottle or two of the legendary sukang Ilocos; there's a mild and spicy version.
Meanwhile, in Vigan, there's Vigan Longanisa; compared to Laoag Longanisa, this is garlicky, but a bit sweet-sour in taste. I like this better than Laoag Longanisa.
Tongson's Royal Bibingka is not your regular Bibingka; compared to the soft, spongy version that Manilenos always have, this one is glutinous and cheesy. It's very good!
That wraps up my Ilocos trip; hope you enjoyed it and found it informative. Until my next trip. Will be visiting Cambodia this June so watch out for another Travel Blog Series! :D
*Please note that we got the van and driver at a very cheap price because one of our friends owns a car rental service. Regular 4-day rate of a van + driver is around P15,000.00 so standard total per person will be somewhere between P7,675-P8,000.
My other travel guides in the beautiful province of Ilocos:
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