We finally had our taste of the famous Ilocano cuisine in Laoag. Around here you can never call yourself a bonafide Ilocano if you cannot stage magic in the kitchen. Their signature of food awakens your taste buds, introducing sensations your palate has never known existent.
Bagnet is also known as Chicharon. It seems a plain dish against a white plate. To an untrained eye, it looks like Lechon Kawali but it in fact takes longer patience and preparation. To bring these golden cuts of pork onto your table, the Ilocano Cook goes through a meticulous process. He picks the most favorable parts of the pork and calculates the skin, fats and meat. He proceeds to fry the pork for more than half an hour in pot of boiling oil. He takes it out, inspects it, and then simmers it into another pot until his creation pops violently to his culinary delight. Bagnet owns subtle flavors. Dipping it to a shrimp paste with the hint of spice, every bite brings rapturous crispiness.
Another famous dish in the region is Pinakbet. The dish is popular in the entire country and almost everybody knows how to prepare this healthy meal. Pinakbet remains special in Ilocos where the recipe was originally created. The Ilocano Cook gracefully conducts a production of sautéed vegetables ornamented with prawns. The repertoire of bittermelon, squash, eggplant and string beans presents into your plate the bounty of the earth. And the shrimps mildly cooked and so juicy you can hear the soothing waves of the sea in each munch. All the flavors harmonize to give you a heavenly treat.