Ilocano special merienda revolves around sticky rice, or diket, an Ilocos agricultural crop. Paridusdos and tupig are just two of its by-products.
Paridusdos is like ginataan, a cousin of halohalo, which is a reflection of the colorful Filipino culture. Diket balls, coconut milk, sago (tapioca balls) and other local produce such as saba (plantain), camotig (kamote), and tugi are the most preferred ingredients. Langka (jackfruit), peanut, and corn, popular in other regions, are sometimes included.
Tupig, always on the wish list of every Ilocano balikbayan I know, might be the oldest Ilocano merienda next to inkalti. It is made from milled diket, milk, coconut, sugar and black sesame seeds. Tupig can be found in the market, while special tupig are made to order. Butter and cheese make special tupig so irresistibly sinful. It gets me to forget the word restriction.
Photo by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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