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Five Ilocano Foods that I Miss

Five Ilocano Foods that I Miss


There are two things I miss about vacations—the place and the food. And during vacation, we go to Ilocos Sur. It is the birthplace of my mother, specifically in the town of Sto. Domingo. It was a 10-hour drive from Manila. Before the pandemic, there are usually buses that would normally pass by the town.

Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, we have not yet gone again to the province. It was saddening not being able to go there for three consecutive years now. It’s harder not to have a taste of my favorite dishes that only my grandmother can cook. In this article, I wanna share some of the food that my grandmother cooks that makes me nostalgic for my childhood.

#1 Igado

Number one on my list is igado. Ilocano igado is a perfect meal for lunch partnered with newly cooked rice. This Ilocano cuisine is made with pork tenderloin and organ meat such as the heart, liver, and kidney. Aside from that, my grandmother also puts green peas, bell pepper, and potatoes that are cut into strips.

#2 Miki Noodles

If you want something creamy and full of flavor to savor on a rainy day Miki is the food that you would want on your table. Even in its simplest state, this Ilocano dish will make you full. This is one of the most versatile Ilocano food I can think of; I eat it with rice even when there are already noodles.


This Filipino food is made up of homemade Miki noodles, chicken stock, and annatto powder, or what we call atsuete. Others frequently garnished it with bagnet and with boiled eggs. Either way, the food will satisfy you.

#3 Dinuguan

In the Ilocano language, they call it—Dinardaraan. This dish is a surprise to me and I’m sure it would be as well for many. It is different from the typical dinuguan dish that we know—almost thick soup. What I like about this dish is how my grandmother cooks it. Aside from green chili, my grandmother puts eggplants as well.

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#4 Pinakbet

I was a picky eater when I was a child. However, eating pinakbet made me realize that vegetables can be delicious too. The food Pinakbet consists of probably most of the vegetable that you can sing in the nursery rhyme ‘Bahay Kubo’—talong (eggplant), sigarilyas (winged bean), sitaw (string bean), kalabasa (squash), etc.


#5 Empanada

This food is one of the tourist favorites in the province. When I was a child my uncle and auntie in the province used to buy us this coming home from work. It used to be our midnight snack while watching Pinoy Big Brother. What I look forward to while eating empanada is the egg inside it—you know it’s special when there’s an egg inside.


No doubt, these Ilocano dishes are top tier (at least for me). The taste and the smell bring back memories. Aside from that, my grandmother cooked it. I may be biased in my judgment but to taste is to believe.

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