Laoag pigs out

Laoag Longaniza 7

Laoagueños were nervous watching the premier episode of FoodPrints with Chef Sandy Daza on the Lifestyle Network. And that included me, super! I wasn’t able to focus on the things I said about the better longaniza in Ilocos because I was awaiting Chef Sandy’s verdict. It would have been the end of my career as a blogger if I were wrong. But then again, taste is subjective, so here are photos of the Laoag longaniza made with the perfect mix of garlic, sukang Iloco, paminta and other secret ingredients.  In different tones and forms. I have a suki. Check out Rara’s.

It’s really nice and convenient for everyone ‘coz the specialty stalls occupy an outside space at the eastern portion of the Laoag Supermarket (Rizal St.) near the Ilocos products like cornik, yema, balicucha, bocayo, salamagi, etc.

Laoag LonganizaLaoag Longaniza 4Laoag Longaniza 2Rara'sLaoag Longaniza 6Laoag Longaniza and ChicharonLaoag Longaniza 5Laoag Longaniza 3Laoag Chicharon
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

The bagnet salad project

The rains afford me the opportunity to mess around in the kitchen. Seeing leftover lettuce and bagnet (Ilocos chicharon or pork crackiing) in the refrigerator, I tried coming up with a bagnet salad, yet opted to stay away from the customary KBL (kamatis, bugguong, lasona) side salad.

For the dressing, I made my own vinaigrette by whisking together 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon mustard, juice squeezed from 3 pieces calamansi, 1 tablespoon minced shallot (lasona), 1/3 teaspoon honey and a dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper until thoroughly emulsified. The vinaigrette turned out well, not too sharp, and I guess the calamansi was a better choice than say lemon for a little zest. I almost failed to photograph the result. Brandon saw me working and he wouldn’t stop stealing bagnet chunks and dipping ’em in the vinaigrette. The dad said the tangy dressing didn’t compete with the distinct Ilocano taste of the deep-fried pork, but rather complemented the mélange of flavors. Now I can say – it is one good bagnet salad that I can add to the ways to enjoy bagnet list I posted last year☺

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved

Ways to enjoy Chicharon aka Bagnet

Chicharon, or bagnet (a more popular term for the non-Ilocanos), is a deep-fried pork dish best eaten with KBL (kamatis, bagoong and lasona) or fashionable nowadays, particularly among kids, with Mang Tomas lechon sauce. At 400.00 php/ kilo, chicharon costs an arm and a leg.  There are several ways to stretch the peso though. Mind you, these chicharon dishes are stars in their own right.

Chicharon fried rice is my family’s favorite.  It is cooked just like any basic fried rice, but with more  soy sauce. KBL is optional. Clear broth, like fish ball soup, is a must to complete the meal.

Balatong (mongo), camatis, parya (bittermelon) ken chicharon a ingisa. Utong, in lieu of balatong, is equally yummy.

Pinakbet with chicharon. Others call it Bagbet. Here’s a recipe.

Chicharon is also an excellent topping for pancit and miki, and an important ingredient to bring out the fine exotic flavor of young garlic bulbs when cooked pakbet style. Dinardaraan (chocolate meat) becomes all the more interesting when chicharon bits are mixed in.

Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED