Friday, December 26, 2014

Vigan Food Hunt: What’s the Name of the Dish Again?

What To Eat In Vigan

Poqui-poqui, warek-warek, longganisa, bagnet, empanada… Say what?!

You’ll never get hungry when you’re in Vigan, that’s for sure. So before you dig in into tons and tons of bagnet, lemme share with you some of the great food finds in Vigan – my very first visit to this UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

Indulge me first to enrich your Vigan food vocabulary.

Poqui-poqui is your good old tortang talong with a twist. It’s mushier, tastier and infused with tomatoes, onions and other ingredients that burst into your mouth as you munch on it (a friend can finish a whole serving).

Bagnet is similar to lechon kawali and chicharon but with much more love in preparation. The painstaking preparation process that involves in crafting this dish is just amazing. The boiling of the meat, sun-drying, deep-frying and re-frying is just crazily wonderful.

Warek-warek is comparable to the truly Ilocano dish of dinakdakan sans the pork’s brain. The grilled meat and other parts of the pork (face, ears, etc.) are incorporated and infused with delectable sauce.

Café Uno (Grandpa’s Inn)

Café Uno is the café/restaurant of Grandpa’s Inn which is an old ancestral house turned into a lodging house that is near Calle Crisologo (still in the loop). The place looked cramped but the details of the interiors brilliantly captured the essence of Vigan, trapped in time that is.

Grandpa's Restaurant Vigan Ilocos Sur

Grandpa's Restaurant Vigan Ilocos Sur

We were immediately handed a menu and started to look baffled when reading the names of the dishes. We ordered a plate of Felicitas Fried Rice (115 pesos), bagnet (215 pesos), poqui-poqui (115 pesos) and warek-warek (205 pesos). Basing on the names of the dishes I think we’re in for a great dining experience.

Vigan Ilocos Sur Poqui Poqui
poqui-poqui
Vigan Ilocos Sur Bagnet
bagnet
Vigan Ilocos Sur Warek Warek
warek-warek
In no time, the food came into our table and we were stunned on the huge servings. We’re five in the group but couldn’t imagine how we’re going to finish everything.

Everything was really good. The bagnet with its perfect tandem, the KBL (kamatis, bagoong, lasona – onions), was delish.

Lampong’s Restaurant

Situated along the famed strip of Calle Crisologo, Lampong’s Restaurant is always jam-packed with hungry diners all day and night. We tried having dinner once but were declined for the restaurant can only fit in around twenty diners at a time. So by happenstance, we went inside around late afternoon and found a table that could fit the whole gang.

Vigan Ilocos Sur Lampong's Restaurant

Vigan Ilocos Sur Lampong's Restaurant

We ordered Meaty Rice with Longganisa (80 pesos), Adobadong Bagnet (180 pesos), Pinakbet with Bagnet (120 pesos) and Poqui-poqui (90 pesos).

Vigan Ilocos Sur Poqui Poqui
poqui-poqui
Vigan Ilocos Sur Pinakbet With Bagnet
Pinakbet with bagnet
Fried Rice Longganisa
Meaty rice with longganisa
Vigan Ilocos Sur Adobadong Bagnet
Adobadong bagnet
Waiting time was average and as soon as the dishes were served, we all went gaga over it.

The Adobadong Bagnet is your bagnet served with asado sauce (on the sweet side). I didn’t like the pinakbet because of the oozing sauce (which shouldn’t be there in the first place, pardon me for I perfectly know my veggie meals). The poqui-poqui was ok. And the star of that particular meal was the Meaty Rice. The longganisa bits and some other veggies were all perfectly incorporated.

Hidden Garden’s Lilong and Lilang Restaurant

Hidden Garden is usually part of the calesa tours in Vigan for it’s not really accessible by walking. It’s basically a haven for plant enthusiasts. It is a garden with different species of florae around. Ok, so let’s move on to my favorite part, the restaurant.

Hidden Garden Vigan Ilocos Sur

Tucked in the deepest part of the garden is the Lilong and Lilang Restaurant. The restaurant has many dining options but we choose to feast al fresco.

Hidden Garden Vigan Ilocos Sur

We had some Hidden Garden Fried Rice (150 pesos), bagnet (220 pesos), sizzling bagnet sisig (255 pesos) and poqui-poqui (115 pesos).

Vigan Ilocos Sur Bagnet
bagnet
Vigan Ilocos Sur Poqui Poqui
poqui-poqui
Vigan Ilocos Sur Bagnet
sizzling bagnet sisig
And we loved everything (except the fried rice). The crunchy bagnet with KBL was remarkable.

Empanadahan at Plaza Burgos

It was Sunday and the Vigan Cathedral is packed with churchgoers. A few steps away from the church is the Plaza Burgos where the Vigan empanadahan is situated. The empanadahan is usually frequented by locals and tourists alike who want to savor one of Vigan’s delicacies.

Vigan Ilocos Sur Empanada

Rows of tables and chairs are lined up on one end of the plaza and numerous empanada stalls will greet you as you pass along this strip. We, of course, went to one of the pioneers of this merienda dish, Aling Tina’s empanada stall.

Vigan Ilocos Sur Empanada
Aling Tina
We had the chance to meet her in person and we were treated to a gastronomic fare of okoy and empanada.

Vigan Ilocos Sur Empanada

Vigan Ilocos Sur Empanada

The empanada is cooked to perfection. The golden color of the fried outer shell gives the perfect crunch. And as you dig inside it, the mixture of egg, cabbage, Vigan longganisa and other ingredients will surely melt into your mouth. The okoy is equally delish. At 35 pesos each, these merienda items are surely must-tries when in Vigan.

Vigan Ilocos Sur Empanada

Tongson’s Royal Bibingka

A friend told me once that when in Vigan, you should try the bibingka from Tongson’s. I’m not really a fan of rice cakes but I did try it just for kicks. And I should’ve listened to my inner senses. I think the ones that are served in our local market are way better than this one.

Vigan Ilocos Sur Tongson's Royal Bibingka
Tongson's Royal bibingka
Vigan Longganisa

Of course you wouldn’t leave Vigan without savoring their yummy longganisa. The distinct garlicky taste will surely leave you dumbstruck. I brought home a few dozens (100 – 120 pesos per dozen).

Vigan Ilocos Sur Longganisa

As a first-timer in the city, my food hunt in Vigan was quite memorable. Being five in the group, it was surely easier to have a gastronomic adventure in Vigan. And what’s my favorite? Bagnet wins hands down!


Café Uno (Grandpa's Inn)
1 Bonifacio st., cor. Quirino blvd.,
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Contact Numbers: (+63) 77.674.0729 | (+63) 917.799.0121
Open Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Lampong’s Restaurant
Calle Crisologo, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Contact Numbers: (+63) 916.666.6866 | (+63) 77.632.0034
Open Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Hidden Garden’s Lilong and Lilang Restaurant
Brgy. Bulala, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Contact Numbers: (+63) 77.722.1450 | (+63) 917.922.2827
Open Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Vigan Empanadahan
Jacinto st., Plaza Burgos,
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Vigan Public Market
Jose Singson st., cor. Alcantara st.,
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Open Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Check Vigan City accommodations here





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