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Eating pigar-pigar at lively Galvan Street

A dish of pigar-pigar in Dagupan's lively Galvan St.

Through the invitation of Micamyx, fellow travel blogger who hails from Dagupan, a bunch of us bloggers went to the northwestern province of Pangasinan to enjoy and discover what this beautiful place has to offer.

Fresh meat right at the dining spot

Going around Dagupan, one word that got me curious, as it is prominently displayed in many places around the city, is pigar-pigar. It’s catchy and sounds different but, according to friends, it basically means turning over in Pangasinense (or Pangalatok), probably referring to its cooking style of sauteing on a hot oil on a wok.

Pigar-pigar is a delicacy in Dagupan and, probably, a fairly newcomer in Dagupan’s smorgasbord of culinary dishes that has become popular. Just visit Galvan Street at night and you will be amazed at seeing the many occupied tables invading this stretch of street that is closed to traffic.

Pigar-pigar is cooked as ordered

The dish is basically a simple fare with the major and basic ingredients: strips of cabbage, lots of onions and lean beef (or its darker cousin, carabeef). Liver is sometimes added or takes the place of bee and depending on the available vegetables, cauliflower can also be requested. These are then sauteed in a generous amount of oil.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that the strips of meat are fresh with even a butcher cutting pieces right off a slab hung at his stall beside where the pigar-pigar is prepared. A hot serving is accompanied with condiments consisting of soy or fish sauce with squeezed calamansi and sili (pepper).

Galvan Street at night is closed to traffic with pigar pigar joints taking over

A good dish of pigar-pigar means the beef is tender and just rightly cooked with limp but still crunchy vegetables. The sweetness and crunch of the onions combine with the beefy taste plus the kick added by the soy sauce + calamansi + pepper combo can be memorable.

However, that’s not always the case. Probably depending also on the part of the animal where the meat was cut, or the expertise of the cook preparing the pigar-pigar, it can be a makunat (rubbery) and or oily experience. But then, with the cool evening open air setting, friends and tongues softened with beer can result in a clean plate.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

2 Comments

  1. » The Pangasinan Break Roundup | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    February 27, 2012 @ 5:56

    […] which is best eaten with ripe and sweet yellow mango. Dagupan, despite its thick urbanity has pigar-pigar that locals take time out in Galvan St. For dessert, Calasiao has delicious puto calasiao, […]

  2. Pigar Pigar - Ang Sarap
    June 23, 2014 @ 15:59

    […] entrepreneurs set up their food stalls when the night falls, it’s like Bangkok at night where dining tables just pop out of the open after 6 PM. These array of small food stalls give pride to their own versions but the most basic ones is the […]

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