10 Oct2007

meal1

We had two meals and a merienda at Sitio Remedios and we were generally pleased with all. A mid-afternoon merienda of miki noodle soup made with chicken broth, shredded chicken, fresh miki, achuete and bagnet was a pleasant surprise and something they apparently do for all guests. The soup was flavorful, filling, satisfying and made richer with the addition of chopped bagnet. I was so taken with this merienda that I immediately tried to make a version of this soup when we got back home, post here. The soup was also served with gipang, a crisp fried dough that with a hint of sweetness and it paired nicely with the miki. For dinner, we had texted a day or two ahead that we wanted them to prepare a dinner for us with all the best specialties of the region that the cooks knew how to make…

meal2

Knowing that we wanted to put Ilocano food through its paces, we asked that they prepare a meal for 6 (even though we were only four) and asked that they cook whatever they though might be best represent the region’s cooking. They had no idea how serious I was about getting a heavily laden table, nor did they know I was from Marketmanila. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed with the spread that eventually materialized as I expected more… though what did arrive was generally quite tasty and delicious. Perhaps the concept of cooking up enough for 8-10 people when they only saw 4 humans was just patently counter to the Ilocano mindset. At any rate, from worst to best, here is what we had for dinner that evening. Oh, instead of a romantic outdoor setting with candles, a dark ominous cloud and rain meant that we had to have dinner indoors instead, and the staff brought the food to our Balay na Batac.

meal4

Oddly, the worst dish we had that evening was their pinakbet. We had several spectacular pinakbets earlier in the trip so it wasn’t like we were tasting genuine Ilocano pinakbet for the first time (the genuine version might surprise lovers of the modified tagalog version with squash or kalabasa). This version was surprisingly sweet and incorporated a lot of tomatoes; this was the least liked of the dishes offered. We also got some bagnet with the requisite KBL (tomatoes, onions and fish sauce) that was pretty tasty. We had some wonderful Ilocano rice from the “mountain areas,” it was fragrant and substantial… my kind of rice. We also had a steamed fish (timakong?) with soy sauce, onions, green onions and cornstarch, which I am not particularly certain is an Ilocano specialty… or my notes are just not complete… we also had a surprising native tinola that included native chicken, sotanghon and surprisingly, very thin slices of ampalaya… this soup had superb flavor, the broth heartwarming and redolent with the goodness of native chickens… Finally, the surprise hit of the evening was a chilled katuray and kangkong salad that may have been one of the top 2-3 dishes that we tasted on the entire Ilocos sojourn. Made with blanched kangkong and white katuray flowers that had been shredded first, then after blanching, chilled in the fridge, they added tomatoes, vinegar, fish sauce and other unidentified ingredients that resulted in a wonderful cold salad. It was colorful, had a terrific texture and a surprisingly good mix of flavors. This was definitely my personal favorite. This dinner for 4 cost PHP1,600 or PHP400 each, definitely one of the priciest meals we had on the trip, and probably our third best meal.

meal3

The following morning we had a breakfast of chorizos, eggs to order and rice with some juice. Not much to write about, really. We were in a bit of a rush at this point as we just wanted to get on our way and were faced with a 9-10 hour drive back to Manila (including stops for tons of chorizo, garlic, bagnet, kalamansi, roadside guava purchases, etc.).

meal5

 

COMMENTS:

  1. MegaMom says:

    Oooh, that katuday salad looks good, definitely one of my favorites too, and very easy to make if you can get your hands on fresh katuday. Blooming season’s coming up (November!) We have a tree on our backyard. Easy to propagate: you literally just take a branch, cut it and stick into the ground. In fact, I do have cuttings ready to give away to takers. If you see a seemingly dead branch left on your porch, that’s from me. :)

    Oct 10, 2007 | 11:45 am

     
  2. eumir213 says:

    Just like puto an dinuguan in manila, in ilocos it’s miki and gipang……

    Oct 10, 2007 | 12:14 pm

     
  3. chubby says:

    Hi MM! Have u tried going to Balay Indang? I highly recommend it!

    Oct 10, 2007 | 2:02 pm

     
  4. kyang2x says:

    Is it just me, but I can’t see the pix for meals 2-5…=(

    Oct 10, 2007 | 3:31 pm

     
  5. noemi says:

    the katuday looks so good.

    Oct 10, 2007 | 8:38 pm

     
  6. wil-b cariaga says:

    I miss katuday. . .love it in salads and even on dinengdeng or inabraw. I remember we even grill this flower. . . well yeah not the best method to cook it. . . but its ok. . .

    Oct 10, 2007 | 9:14 pm

     
  7. chick says:

    the miki noodles looks yumyum!

    Oct 11, 2007 | 10:37 am

     
  8. Marisa says:

    they should have included a seaweed salad… its called “gameet” if i remember right. Yummy… and has a nice deep violet color.

    Oct 11, 2007 | 11:09 am

     
  9. chi says:

    Hmmm – probably didn’t have Ilocano cooks? Better change that to definitely didn’t have Ilocano cooks. This is certainly not very representative of Ilocos meals that I grew up with and imho, a very poor choice of what should have been complementary dishes. Although tinola with ampalaya coupled with bagnet continue to be one of my faves to this day.

    Did you by chance try the longanisa from that region? I actually prefer it to the Vigan longanisa. One of my cousins in Paoay runs a longanisa business – her recipe is to die for – but unfortunately I don’t have a business name to give out.

    Oct 14, 2007 | 1:37 am

     
  10. Marketman says:

    chi, the cook was definitely Ilocano, a nice lady, I met her, but the dishes were a bit of an odd mixture…

    Oct 14, 2007 | 11:49 am

     
  11. john yves odnavrers says:

    i wonder how you make that crispy fried dough “gipang”. can you share me the ingredients and procedure of that “gipang”
    kindly reply to my email ads at your convenient time. thanks

    jovyod

    May 17, 2008 | 4:54 pm

     
  12. Marketman says:

    john, sorry, I have never made gipang nor do I have a recipe.

    May 17, 2008 | 8:44 pm

     
 

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