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 is a family heritage restaurant located in Laoag City; this charming restaurant maintained its Spansih- inspired home while the interior had an 80's charm; steel, curvy chairs and bright yellow and floral patterns.

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

Located within the vicinity of La Preciosa, Cafe Saramsam is a hidden treat for foodies and lovers of nostalgic things.

A visit at Cafe Saramsam takes you to memory lane with their turn-of-the century setting; this is the second floor; it was unfortunate that I was unable to take a photo of the first floor; it had a beautiful Art Deco- inspired interior!
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!

Good ol' leche flan for desert.

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.

Inside Cafe Herencia: it's easy to feel at home in its Filipino- style dining room setting.

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!

Poque Poque once more; this time it has more egg compared to Saramsam's version.

But of course, BAGNET!

PAGUDPUD

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).

VIGAN

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.

The making of a tasty delicacy: empanadas are made fresh upon ordering!

Yum!

Couldn't resist it, I just had to eat Okoy!

VIGAN: CAFE LEONA

Cafe Leona is located at the legendary Calle Crisologo or popularly known as Heritage Village; it is named after Ilocos'  most prominent poet.

I like Cafe Leona's untouched interior; the chipping walls and nearly erased paintings on the wall accidentally looked beautiful.

By the time we visited Cafe Leona, we were already on our way back to Manila and overloaded with Bagnet and Empanada so we settled for some good ol' Western food like Carbonara.

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.

Laoag Longanisa is garlicky and savory in taste.

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 is a family heritage bakery known for their Royal Bibingka; it's located at Calle Crisologo; tourists flock here to purchase boxes and boxes of their Bibingka!

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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13 Lovely Thoughts

  1. This post really makes me hungry!! I already taste their longganisa and I must say that was the best longganisa in town!! I will never ever forget its taste.

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  2. Yummy food. I hop I can travel in Ilocos soon. I hop you keep in touch, I would love to hear from you!

    Qing's Style

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  3. I am an absolute sucker for carrot cake. This post made me super hungry but it's already 8:50pm lol

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  4. Oh, how I miss the empanada in Plaza Burgos. That's the best empanada I've had in my life LOL. And did you get to try the sinanglaw, Ms. M? It's so good too. :)

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  5. This is very informative and very helpful. Pagnatuloy kame sa Ilocos, isasuggest ko to sa husband ko. Bagnet, longanisa and empanada so yummy. Thanks for this Ms. Martha

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  6. Woohh I really want to go to Ilocos because of that FOOD♥ I love eating it makes me hungry!!! This ILOCOS TRIP ITINERARY is very helpful for us who loves travelling... Now I know how much money to save and what resto or pilihan ng pasalubong i will go when we go to Ilocos...

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  7. NAGUTOM AKO MS. M HAHAHA. we will try this (ALL OF IT) when we go to ILOCOS. Thank you for sharing your experience :) love love

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  8. Great Ilocos itinerary. This is one of the reasons why I'm blogging about the Philippines. Our country is rich in resources and places to go to. Hope to do more traveling in the future too!

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  9. Si daddy ko traveller. Gusto ko makapunta dyan kasi sinabi sakin ni daddy na sobrang ganda daw dyan! At dahil sa pinost mong article lalo akong nainggggiitt at gusto nang makapunta sa ilocos!.

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  10. Oooh longganisa! Now I'm really looking forward to go to Ilocos. I looove the interior of these restaurants. They really preserved our heritage which is really good for some history refreshers hehe :)

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  11. This post is awesome! I am so convinced that up north is my next vacay location :) I wanna eat all that -- the Ferrero cake, those pizza, the bibingka, yes cheesy bibingka would be awesome, okoy!!

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Thank you for your comments!