Tayamen’s: Street food outside of the streets

Street food can be found all over the world. New York wouldn’t be New York without hotdog and pretzel stands. Can you imagine the Arab countries without the ubiquitous shawarma stalls? Or  Japan without the curb-side ramen and soba places? What if Hong Kong’s popular Mong Kok area lost all the dimsum and Peking duck food-booths? And what if esoteric isaw, quec-quec, betamax, helmet, tokneneng and adidas could no longer be found in the streets of Manila? Most definitely, a  bland world for someone who wants to have a taste of  the culture of a particular country or region he, or she, gets to visit.

There are fish ball vendors roaming the streets of  Laoag — the capital city of the northernmost province in the Philippines. But there is also Tayamen’s, which started as a makeshift  food stand in front of the owners’ home. In 1997, the owners receptively opened their home to  their regular habitués, who have become accustomed to calling them “tiyong” and “tiyang”, uncle and auntie in the vernacular.

No risky business when it comes to common Filipino street food — that is what Tayamen’s is all about. Freshness and safety is their foremost concern. Plus, its homey feel makes the place a magnet for school kids and young professionals, who want to let loose and enjoy  their food.

Fish Balls, fish nuggets, kikiam, chicken feet, isaw and  barbecue are the bestsellers of Taya, short for Tayamen’s, and a term popularized by their regular patrons. They also make the best take-out Ilocos longaniza which is sold by the kilo.

Isaw (pig intestines)

Fish nuggets and kikiam with sweet dipping sauce and the ever-present suka ken sili (vinegar and chili)

Once in a while, drinking ice-cold soda, especially after having fried food, won’t hurt *burps*

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Tayamen’s Don E. Ruiz St. Laoag Ilocos Norte Philippines

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Miki Iloco

This Ilocano dish is called miki. It’s been around after many Chinese migrated to Ilocos. Mi is Chinese for noodles. The assiduous Ilocanos, perhaps, wanted something more filling than the original Chinese clear broth poured over noodles, and invented the heavier  miki with a thick soup akin to bisque.

Miki is usually served at  birthday merienda gatherings and  lamays. Miki houses are not hard to find… but finding the best miki is like finding Nemo. There are many variations, though. Some like it with pork… others make use of tukmem (fresh water shellfish). The best miki I’ve had was made with seasonal fresh crablet fat. I’ve had it only once in my life. Gosh, I wonder why no one makes it other than Encarnacion? The most common miki is made with homemade noodles and chicken floss in creamy chicken soup. It is very popular among the younger set. The price list is the obvious clue.


I came to discover M & D Store and Miki House through  my 12-year old son, a certified foodie. It’s my second time to go with him just this afternoon. Their miki was the same like the first time I tried it. The noodles was al dente and the soup was rich and tasty… absolutely better than miki I’ve had in other miki houses before. I asked the owner what her secret is and she showed me around her kitchen. “I only use first-class flour”, she revealed.

M & D Store and Mike House, 74 P. Acosta St. (former Siazon Road), Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Photographed by Blauearth  Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED