The Tasty Significance of Pulutan

Crispy Strips

Here’s a little history on the word pulutan which has become so ingrained in the Filipino food culture. Coming from the word pulot, meaning to pick up, pulutan is food paired with alcohol. Alcohol plus pulutan usually spark an appetite for more serious conversations. The most known pulutan are mani (peanuts), sisig, tapa, chicharon, isaw, inihaw na isda (fish), kilawin (ceviche), pusit (squid), and in Ilocos, dinakdakan, caliente, insarabasab, caldereta, but typically, pulutan can be anything from leftovers to junk food and de lata (canned food).

Crispy Strips

These days, into the bar scene — buttered mushrooms, hotdog, nachos, French fries, onion rings, and something like this creative bowl of crispy molo wrapper strips and nori seaweed (exclusively at Giannis). But when the weather’s excessively crazy humid, you order light pulutan with fresh fruit slushies:)

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Letting Loose at Giannis

Giannis' Bolognese Spaghetti

Met a most satisfying plate of spaghetti bolognese in the least expected place. At (Laoag’s) Giannis bar (post-fire). It makes sense as the meat-and-tomato-sauce pasta is not-your-usual-kiddie spaghetti, but a grown-up al dente spaghetti in a thick and rich ragù sauce and a heap of parmesan cheese.

Giannis is known for booze, munchies, chillout music and a young and hip crowd. No worries, they welcome inglorious comfort eaters.


We don’t get tired of the cheese sticks and nachos dipped in Chef Jackie signature dips.


Giannis is located on McKinley St. (at the back of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol).

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013


The formulaic and clichéd catfight over a man plot still proves popular. Thanks to the strong script and interesting cast, the trailer of No Other Woman succeeds in going viral. Ericke, Euge and Bran brought me along to watch the movie.

Straight from the cinema, we went to Giannis to eat nachos and cheese sticks. The mellow sounds of Light Keys allowed us to discuss the highlights and lowlights of the movie. Ericke and I come to terms with the fact that the characters of the Charmaine-Ram-Cara triangle are well cast. No one but Derek Ramsay could be believable as Ram, the married man who becomes the object of desire of the young and free-spirited heiress, Cara, portrayed by Anne Curtis in a seemingly effortless way. In a surprising new role as the aggrieved wife, Christine Reyes plays Charmaine satisfactorily. I like the stark contrast between the two female characters. The movie has awkward moments like the opening scene (Read: Ericke says no one treats the shore like a catwalk!) and closing scene (Was it deliberate, hahah, tell us, Direk Ruel?!) and some neglected little details (in the set design and musical scoring), but the crisp one-liners, especially those from Carmi Martin’s character (Charmaine’s funny nouveau riche mother), made us forgive the flaws. Add to that the fact that thirteen-year old Bran, my more outspoken boy, says he learned a lot.

Apparently, No Other Woman packs more punch than I ever expected.

Giannis’ loaded nachos is comparable to Carmi Martin’s lines, made us bitin. But unlike the movie, we can have more. We had a repeat. Yum!

Loved the cheese sticks. I like to call them cheese tempura.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2011