The heart of the southern district of Iloco Sur is the thriving city of Candon, also known as “The Tobacco Capital of The Philippines.” You’d still find several old houses like the ones in Vigan, though not as many. A huge house on Castro St. (parallel to the National Highway) was transformed into a cool cafe by Chef Owen Abaya. Named Cafe Bossa, it must be about a decade old. Over the years, there’s more space and the menu has developed, with Ilocano dishes like pinakbet and sapsapuriket highlighted, along with contemporary favorites such as Korean beef stew and pastas. In its early years, I was always drawn to this appetizing pasta with Ilocos longaniza.
In our case, it takes perfect timing or luck to get to Candon at mealtime. When traveling, ordinarily, hunger strikes in Vigan or in San Fernando, La Union.
We tried an eclectic medley of al a jillo-style Ilocano lomo-lomo, crispy binagoongan, lemon porkchop with bacalao rice and pasta puttanesca.
Native lomo-lomo (porkloin and liver soup) was reconstructed into a rich, semi-thick broth, with lots of garlic, a hint of olive oil and one whole egg. The tenderest pork, overflowing with flavors just turned into my potential comfort food.
The pasta puttanesca was simple and light in contrast with the spicy binagoongan and porkchop and rice spiced with salted dried cod, a rather curious combination, but nevertheless everything just blended in.
The banoffee pie came last. Layers upon layers of varying sweetness. Too sweet at first bite, but it grows on you. The best part was the meringue top and the thick pressed cookie crust.
Picked a few bottles of bottled Bacalao and spicy tuyo which I’m trying with pasta today.
Brandon still remembers the joint.
My baldoza tile photo collection is growing:)