Where in the Philippines can you find a Les Roches-Switzerland and Culinary Institute of America-New York-trained chef de cuisine who matures his own bugguong, using only seasonal taburkik fish and pure Ilocos sea salt, and churns it with a paddle made of a specific kind of wood, as he says, “it has to be molave,” and grows his own epazote, kutchay, karimbuaya, etc., and cooks only RC 160 rice?
“The enigma of my life,” Chef Peter Nic Rodriguez starts off after I pop the initial question, “Why Ilocos?”
When I left Candon at the age of 8, I told my yaya, “Uray kitam, agsubli ak tu.” Sure enough, he arrives home to put meaning into his realm of cooking.
With a passion to the core of his being, Chef Nic Rodriguez runs his own Bistro Candon Resto and Catering specializing in genuine Ilocano cuisine in the company of universal favorites. With all his credentials on the wall, he keeps his insanity sane, so to speak, by constantly developing new recipes and planning and servicing a most diverse clientele. He’s done spreads for high profile weddings across Ilocos, along with intimate and village gatherings. Tourists from neighboring cities go out of their way to seek Chef Nic’s sanglao, dinengdeng, pinakbet, lomo-lomo, doy-doy/diniydoy, morton/morcon and bagnet (descibed as nasisi nga usto in the vernacular) and served with the most ambrosial bugguong ever! A saliva-inducing bugguong that triggers the thought of summer Ilocos mangoes dipped in bugguong mixed with extra dark sukang Ilocos!
– I’ve been craving for rellenong bangus for about a week now. I was so thrilled to see it in the menu! Brought home all my leftovers for the family. Back in Laoag, the first time I didn’t hear negativity from a food-know-it-all hubby and son. The carrot cake slathered with authentic standard Swiss buttercream frosting and the decadent old-style chocolate cake fashioned from a 1978 UP recipe, but of course, amplified by Nic’s own gustation, are well-deserving of the accolades from the press.
All the highly esteemed calories were worth all the long hours I spent freezing inside a Partas bus to and from Candon, Ilocos Sur.
*Bistro Candon is located inside the Four Brothers Compound, Candon, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. Open Mon-Sun, 7 AM-6 PM. Tel.Nos.: (077) 7425905 Mobile 09178055500.
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