Two Restaurants in Ilagan

Tom Yum soup

Red Curry Pork

We sampled two restaurants while we were in Ilagan. First was the SM Steak Hauz and Restaurant along Maharlika Road in Alibagu. Although the tavern-like place had budget meals ranging from 40-80 pesos, we went for the Thai house specialties. Both our orders were not what we envisioned. The mister commented that the tom yum was sinigang with lemongrass. I agree. Not to mention, the shrimps were like straight from the freezer. Another disappointment was the red curry pork,  which was intensely sweet and heavy. I suspect they used cream for the sauce, making the taste and texture strange.


Beef Stew

Camaron Rebosado

For dinner, I had to be sure, I asked Muy, our Ilagan insider, for good eats. He gave us three addresses, but we only had time to go to the HongKong Restaurant in Calamagui 2nd. A typical pretenseless Chinese resto with a Filipino cook. A lot of  the menu entries were not available. Nevertheless, what they served us was consistently fine. Loved the hot and comforting hototay with fresh egg that’s meant to be broken. It had a smattering of snow peas, Chinese cabbage, carrots, squid and scallop-shaped artificial seafood morsels. The fragrant beef stew was so good with rice. They put a different twist on the camaron rebosado (deep-fried battered shrimps), adding bread crumbs on the batter, which was okay, but I was imagining old-fashioned camaron with egg in the batter. I didn’t like any of the two dips for the shrimps — ketchup and mayonnaise-ketchup. I would have preferred a Chinese-style sweet and sour sauce. I enjoyed the fried shrimps plain, though.

 Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved

“Love knows no rules.”

Here are photos taken from the Gov. Bojie Dy & Rodito Albano 1st Invitational 4X4 Challenge in Ilagan, Isabela, last weekend. The youngest in the competition, thirteen-year old Brandon Tan, is the only competitor who hails from the Ilocos Region. For the said race, he signed up with GMA Butaka Off-Roaders. Joining them in the fierce race, amidst the scorching heat on the first day, and rains on the second day, were seasoned 4X4 racers from Four-Wheelers Ilagan, Batil Patung Offroaders Club, Santiago Extreme 4X4 Club and Nueva Ecija Off-Roaders.

The end of Brandon’s last run on the second day. Out of 19 challengers, he came in 12th.

Red Diwa topped the race, Joel Miranda came in second and Jojo Sison, third.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved

“Binanlay man”

Found something more interesting than a monstrous Narra butaka (armchair) in Butaka City, otherwise known as Ilagan City, in the province of Isabela. I heard a man say, “binanlay man.” I had to check what I heard ‘coz I’ve heard about binalay before. Anyways, the lady said it clear, “Binanlay.” I asked for one and she passed me a bundle. I opened one of the neatly folded banana wrappers and sampled the shiny white content. I thought it would taste like our very own tupig, but it was more like bilo-bilo. Maybe she read my confused reaction, so she handed over a tiny plastic bag with thick brown sauce.

She was right, the rice cake had to go with a dollop of panucha, like Ilocano inkalti.

According to my Ilagan insider, binanlay is an Ybanag specialty.

They also had patupat.

Photographed by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved