Abrenian food

Sumptuous Abrenian/Ilocano cuisine

Who can resist bagnet?

Who can resist bagnet?

Food is one of the main reasons why we travel. It is one of the most important aspects of experiencing a place and thru its food, you get a glimpse of the culture, heritage and identity of its people. That’s why when I was in Bangued, I was looking forward to what this province has to offer.

READ MORE: 10 places to visit in and around Bangued, Abra

Bangued, the capital of Abra, due to its proximity to the Ilocos Region, actually it was part of it before transferred to the Cordillera Administrative Region, and with the general population of Ilocano descent, has a common cuisine. There’s bagnet, lomo lomo, imbaliktad, dinengdeng, miki, garlicky longanisa and much more.

READ MORE: Quick fix to an evening longanisa crave in Bangued

My Ilocano cuisine experience is limited. Except for bagnet, dinengdeng, igado and pinakbet, plus the empanada, longanisa and miki, that’s all there is. But then, I had breakfast and lunch at the house of Vice Governor Chari Bersamin and I got to taste imbaliktad, quickly stir fried beef and lomo lomo and I was, wow! It was delicious home cooking. The meat was tender and well flavored. And these two were just for breakfast.

READ MORE: Is this where you can eat the best miki in Bangued?

Other than the garlicky longanisa, which I love very much that I had to apologize for eating more, there was the grilled long green pepper that got me curious. The heat is almost negligible. Dip it in bagoong and you have this one of a kind appetizer.

When a hearty lunch was served, there was pinipiyan which is native chicken in soup thickened with ground rice and colored with achuete (annatto). In another dish, almost hidden amongst the vegetables of the dinengdeng were dried river eels that I first encountered while trekking in Tubo, Abra. Fatty and a good source of fresh water protein for hunters. And there’s the delicious squash flowers stuffed with well seasoned ground meat then fried that made my lunch filling.

Although I wasn’t able to taste much dessert, I did have the biko which is also present in other provinces. One that I had for the first time was masa, large cookie like disks that easily breaks off but once you bite, you’re in for a delicious filling that is akin to bibingka with strips of buko!

What about you? Have you tasted Bangued/Ilocano dishes before?

This is one of my favorites, imbaliktad, beef that is stir fried for a few minutes and just enough to remove the red color. Like lomo lo o, it is also served as early as breakfast.

This is one of my favorites, lomo lomo, beef that is stir fried for a few minutes and just enough to remove the red color. Like imbaliktad, it is also served as early as breakfast.

Lomo lomo is anothe delicious and savory Ilocano dish that is also very much present in the Bangued table. It consist of pork meat and internal organs that may include brains.

Lomo lomo is another delicious and savory Ilocano dish that is also very much present in the Bangued table. It consist of pork meat and internal organs that may include brains.

Delicious and garlicky Bangued longanisa

Delicious and garlicky Bangued longanisa

Clockwise from top right: dinengdeng with palileng (dried igat or river eel), sliced tomatoes as appetizer, tinuno nga sili (grilled long green pepper and dipped in fermented fish (bagoong), mung bean soup topped with crushed chicharon

Clockwise from top right: dinengdeng with palileng (dried igat or river eel), sliced tomatoes as appetizer, tinuno nga sili (grilled long green pepper and dipped in fermented fish (bagoong), mung bean soup topped with crushed chicharon

Clockwise from top right: pinipiyan (native chicken in sauce thickened with ground rice and colored with achuete), ground meat stuffed squash blossoms, daing na bangus and mung bean soup and fried dried fresh water fish

Clockwise from top right: pinipiyan (native chicken in sauce thickened with ground rice and colored with achuete), ground meat stuffed squash blossoms, daing na bangus and mung bean soup and fried dried fresh water fish

Masa is a soft biscuit like delicacy that easily crumbles and with a filling made of ground glutinous rice and strips of young coconut (buko).

Masa is a soft biscuit like delicacy that easily crumbles and with a filling made of ground glutinous rice and strips of young coconut (buko).

Biko or rice cake

Biko or rice cake

Great thanx to Vice Governor Chari Bersamin for making my Abra trip possible.

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.

4 Comments

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    May 11, 2015 @ 13:13

    Sumptuous Abrenian/Ilocano cuisine: Who can resist bagnet?
    Food is one of the main reasons why we travel. It i… http://t.co/fV0FpuX4qb

  2. Christopher
    May 15, 2015 @ 13:32

    It is remember that , what kinds of food you are eating on travel.Take the good food with you. Your article is very informative.Thanks.

  3. arsenio benedito
    December 3, 2016 @ 16:09

    hi..do you have the recipe of masa?,,

  4. estan
    December 5, 2016 @ 1:42

    None. Sorry.

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