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Vigan cuisine is more than the iconic Vigan empanada,
longganisa and kankanen. These Vigan must-tastes are
just the tip of the culinary experience that can be had
in this city.
To ready the food adventurers, they must be informed
that Vigan cuisine is simple and leans towards keeping
the natural flavor of each ingredient, which are mostly
vegetables. Ilocano dishes are characterized by sweet,
sour or salty taste.
Noteworthy is the favor towards bitter flavor that can
be attested by its presence in its most-loved dish, the
pinakbet. The pinakbet uses bitter melon, eggplant,
squash and okra cooked with bagoong or fermented shrimp
fry and bagnet or sun-dried pork belly, which is fried
to a crisp prior to mixing with the vegetable.
Well-known Ilocano dishes like dinengdeng and dinoydoy
are variations of pinakbet, although they are soupy.
Gastronomes can scour not only the resorts, hotels and
restaurants for great Vigan cuisine. It is best that
they also try the food stalls in the plazas. Plaza
Burgos is a great place to sample an order of arroz
caldo or chicken porridge, pancit Vigan or soupy miki
noodles and okoy or deep fried shrimps mixed with flour
and eggs. Filipinos have these during regular meals or
as snack food at anytime. They can be eaten on their
own, paired with another or even with rice.
The food stalls or carinderias in the Vigan Public
Market and near the bus terminal are also great places
for culinary adventures. There one can sample local
viands such as lumo (soup made with pork blood, pork
tenderloin and green onions), pipian (cooked chicken and
pazotes with ground rice), poqui-poqui (mashed eggplant
with egg), caldereta (local beef stew), pinapaitan
(bitter meat dish, made with either beef or goat bile
and innards) and sinanglao (beef broth with beef
innards) at its most authentic.
However, for visitors who want to taste Vigan cuisine in
a more comfortable setting, the Vigan Heritage Mansion
is recommended for its bagnet, dinengdeng, longganisa
and pinakbet. A bottle of basi or local sugarcane wine
is recommended as well.
Another must-visit dining place is Café Leona. Café
Leona offers international and Vigan cuisine and a
fusion of both. It recently added in its menu pinakbet
pizza, which is really for the adventurous and
open-minded even among locals.
For those who miss familiar food, resorts, hotels and
restaurants offer a choice of international food which
guest can also order for take-out or picnics. There are
also fasfood chains near the center of town, like Chow
King, Greenwich, Jollibee and McDonald’s.