14 Sep2007


We were thrilled with our dinner at Grandpa’s Inn. Just down the road from Villa Angela, a quick tricycle ride meant door to door service for just PHP10 or so. We entered the lobby of the “hotel” and saw that there was a huge empty restaurant towards the back… Not a good sign. However, we were ushered into an airconditioned streetside bar/restaurant and had a look at the menu. We ordered a range of dishes, this being our second Ilocos meal and there was a lot to try in just a few days time… The verdict? VERY GOOD. The meal had superb high notes and good low notes… this was one of our best meals on the entire trip… in an unlikely location, I would have to say.


We had to have bagnet (we ordered it at six different places, to climb up the learning curve FAST), and here it was served in medium-sized slices that arrived recently fried and hot, accompanied by a good KBL (tomatoes, onions and bagoong). We had some superb wild boar (baboy ramo) tapa, with a vinegar and chilli mixture that was an ideal dipping sauce (sawsawan). The vinegar was so good we bought two bottles of their brand from the concession counter. We tried an Adobong Saluyot Aramung, saluyot (jute leaves) with dried shrimps that was a bit slimy (the saluyot factor) but delicious. We also ordered a Binagoongang Okra, Paria (ampalaya) at Sili that was good, though not stellar. Finally, the star of the evening, by far, was a stunningly good bowl of pipian (a provincial Ilocos dish that must hve been influenced by the Mexican original) , a dish with chicken, pasotes (skunkweed), kamias (belimbing), achuete, and ground rice that was really delicious. As soon as we got back to Manila, I made this in our home kitchen with great success and I will feature the recipe soon, if I can find it. So Meal #1 in Ilocos was disappointing, Meal #2 was very good…




  1. DADD-F says:

    Baboy ramo is excellent! Had my first taste of that in Bugsuk Island, Palawan. Will await this Ilocano recipes of yours.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 3:56 pm


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  3. Doddie from Korea says:

    I can’t wait for the Pipian recipe. I’ll be looking out for this with great anticipation.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 3:58 pm

  4. MegaMom says:

    Great photos MarketMan! The nateng (veggies) look so fresh! And that looks to be a very promising bowl of pipian. Mmmm….

    Sep 14, 2007 | 3:59 pm

  5. maria says:

    WOW! I thought i was the only one who knew about Grandpa’s Inn! The last time i went there was way back in 1993 or 1994. It’s a great place…and the food is the best. They serve truly good food that they didn’t have to tinker with so much. What can i say…lovely.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 5:10 pm

  6. Blaise says:

    The tapang baboy ramo looks delish.. yum.. ;P

    Sep 14, 2007 | 5:19 pm

  7. Blaise says:

    And what dish is that, first picture upfront?? Looks so good too..

    Sep 14, 2007 | 5:21 pm

  8. gerri says:

    Wow MM! Even if I’m sick the sight of these food do wonders for my eye appetite. Looking forward to getting well and making some of these dishes, esp. the vegetables.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 5:45 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    gerri, I hope you feel better soon. Blaise, the first dish is the pipian, it was excellent. The baboy ramo was gamey but not too much and excellent with vinegar. Doddie, I have to find my notes on the recipe, because I made it from scratch without a clue what I was doing… :)

    Sep 14, 2007 | 6:29 pm

  10. elaine says:

    What is the dish in the first photo? Sorry, I missed a lot of the wonderful dishes when we did Ilocos last year. Anyway it looks good. We had a helper from Ilocos who cooked very good saluyot and dinengdeng, very, very delicious!

    Sep 14, 2007 | 6:34 pm

  11. Apicio says:

    Your description of Ilocano pipian is as close to Mexican as we can get, down to pasote which I assume is the epasote of the Central Americans.

    How do they ever retain that vivid green in their cooked vegetables? I would mention that even the pictures of meals #1 and #2 convey two completely different narratives.

    Sep 14, 2007 | 11:04 pm

  12. Maria Clara says:

    Binangonang okra, ampalaya and sili looks very appetizing to me from stovetop to your table.

    Sep 15, 2007 | 1:37 am

  13. noemi says:

    oh my world!. now, that’s what ilocano food should look like. so simple and healthy!.

    Sep 15, 2007 | 2:44 am

  14. connie says:

    Never tried Pipian, even when I visited Vigan some years back.
    The Ilocano Pipian does sound like the Mexican Pipian, except the Mexican version I think uses ground pumpkin seeds to thicken the sauce, and is usually serve with fried tortilla strips like tortilla soup.

    Of the dishes above, I miss the adobong saluyot the most. The truth is, I just plainly miss saluyot. It’s one of those leafy veggies like malunggay and bitter melon leaves that I could just not get. I miss the slimy leaves cooked adobo, or sauteed with squash, or cooked with santol. Yes, oddly enough, it tastes really good with santol

    Sep 15, 2007 | 8:44 am

  15. pilar says:

    Everything looks so appetizing! At first glance, the pipian kinda looks like kare-kare, don’t you think? Hehehe!

    Sep 16, 2007 | 2:51 am

  16. iya says:

    yep! i thought it’s kare-kare.

    i dont think i’ve already eaten skunkweed. is it a bit bitter?

    Sep 16, 2007 | 8:26 pm

  17. MegaMom says:

    Pilar and Iya, I guess pipian would look a lot like karekare because it is thickened with ground rice flour too. But unlike karekare it does not have ground peanuts (or peanut butter as some substitute nowadays). The color is due to achuete. I guess it would be more similar to lugaw in flavor than karekare, but the kamias as souring agent plus the pasotes imparts a unique taste. It is an herb with a “bite”, very hard to explain but I believe MM wrote about it previously and if you search his archives, I’m sure you will find it. I will not preempt MM further. I think he is intending to post the full recipe of pipian ala MarketMan soon.

    Sep 16, 2007 | 9:49 pm

  18. Peejay says:

    I miss Grandpa’s Inn. Stayed there back in 1998 when me, my dad, my uncle and my aunt did a 4-day road trip.

    We went to Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Laoag, Ilocos Norte; Aparri, Cagayan; and Santiago, Isabela.

    We covered the route of my uncle who used to work for a food firm and his sales areas were regions 1, 2 and 3. I took a vacation leave from the hotel I used to work for.

    It was a great road and food trip.

    Oct 2, 2007 | 1:58 pm

  19. Ed Chavez says:

    This is a message for DADD-F who wrote his comment below:

    DADD-F says:

    Baboy ramo is excellent! Had my first taste of that in Bugsuk Island, Palawan. Will await this Ilocano recipes of yours.

    September 14th, 2007

    Please send me an email. I wanted to ask some information about your exprience in Bugsuk Island. My name is Ed Chavez

    May 6, 2009 | 2:51 am


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