A visit to Vigan will not be complete without tasting its famous Vigan empanada. You can choose to sample this tasty delight in the food establishments that dot the city or the empanada stalls in the market and plazas. It is great whether as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. At around thirty-five pesos each, it’s quite cheap to have as many as you need to fill your hunger after touring the city. The Vigan empanada is much in keeping with the Vigan people’s love for vegetables in their cuisine.
It is similar to a thin taco that is fried to a crisp, with vegetable and meat filling. Rice flour is used for making the crust or the shell. The galapong or rice flour dough is made a day before it is used. Atchuete or orange food color, salt and oil are mixed into the rice though. The dough mixture is then kneaded as thinly as possible on a banana leaf (wax paper is a good substitute). Vigan empanada’s vegetable filling is made up of green papaya that is grated, toge or mung bean sprouts, monggo or mung bean and shredded carrots. Its meat filing consist of whole egg and skinless Vigan longganisa. The double special Vigan empanada has two servings of the meat filling. For the health buff, Vigan empanada sans the longganisa is also available.
Dining places in Vigan have made variations to the traditional Vigan empanada with some mixing modern-day ingredients like minced hotdog in the filling. Whatever variety Vigan visitors and culinary adventurers might try, they will all have their Vigan empanadas served hot with pure Ilocos vinegar containing onions, ground black pepper and chili. For those who would like to try cooking this Vigan delicacy in their homes, they need to make sure they have the abovementioned ingredients. Chayote can be used as substitute for green papaya.
Cooks can also prepare the rice flour dough using the basic technique for pie crust. After heating a small amount of oil, the garlic must be sautéed first followed by the prepared vegetables. Drain the vegetable filling of excess oil. The ingredients are then ready for assembling. Put in two or three spoonful of vegetable fillings in the flattened rice flour dough. Add in a couple spoonfuls of skinless longganisa and a fresh egg before folding and closing the dough, forming a crescent shape. Fry it in hot oil and then drain the crispy empanada in paper napkin to get rid of excess oil.