a feast of ilokano food exotica...

Of course, there's still a sort of exotica when it comes to Ilokano food, whatever being exotic means. And although these are common fares specially in the away or in the barrios/farming communities, it becomes a rare delicacy or exotic even, when these are featured for all the uninitiated world to see, taste,  or simply to be squeamish. And usually, it's being showcased during so-called festivals, like the recent Gameng Festival in Solsona, Ilocos Norte, an annual celebration which aims "to strengthen Solsona’s culture, promote its cultural products and designs and preserve and conserve its historical and cultural treasure and resources."

Our friend writer-journalist Leilanie Adriano of the Ilocos Times, has exclusively covered the festival, especially the food portion, and shared us these mouth-watering photographs to feast on (click on the photos for a larger view):

Eating insects is not really unusual because Ilokanos are used to beetles, grubs, crickets, and other edible bugs. And of course, ants! And this is kinda extreme--this is abuos (red ants) ukoy or fritter. I myself didn't yet try this one, and I wish I could have one soon!

Sauteed abuos eggs and pupae (with some juvenile ants in it, anyway), well, this is a milder abuos delicacy, I think. I love this one! [See a previous blog post about red ant's egg]

Ballaiba salad. [See a previous blog post about ballaiba]

Tabtaba (also called bakbakasi and barbaradio) salad. [See a previous blog post about tabtaba]

Ensalada nga aba. I miss and missed this one, really. Besides dinengdeng nga aba, we used to just boil aba stalks back in Nueva Vizcaya and garnish it simply with KBL (kamatis-bugguong-lasona) like this. I have yet to see anything like this here in Cagayan. Will try it soon! [See a previous blog post about dinengdeng nga aba]

Kinirog nga ararawan. Fried mole cricket. I haven't had the opportunity to have a taste of this for three decades! Ararawan is a rarity these days! [See a previous blog post about ararawan]

And this! Birabid! This used to be a usual farmer's innapuy pair when I was a child when birabid's still abundant. It's almost extinct nowadays it really became a true exotica! I haven't seen this in 4 billion years!

Dinengdeng a bisukol! But of the Taiwanese variety, though. What I miss are the native ones--the black shelled ones I used to pick in the fields as a small child. Like the birabid, black bisukol is extremely rare.

Adobo a bisukol. Perfect pulotan!

Dinengdeng nga agurong. [See a previous blog post about agurong cooked in coconut milk]

Pakbet a saluyot. [See a previous blog post about  pakbet a saluyot]

Dinakdakan a pakak! Boiled pakak and prepared/seasoned like a pork dinakdakan. [See previous post about dinakdakan]

Marunggay flowers salad (with tender leaves). [See a previous blog post about dinengdeng a marunggay]

Ilokano vegetable salad medley: marunggay blossoms and leaves, sabunganay (banana heart/blossom), and bunga ti rabanos (white radish fruit). [See a previous blog post about susop or sabunganay]

Adobo a tukak! Missed this! [See a previous blog post about tukak]

Tukak barbecue.

Nilingta a kuskusleng. Of the bunog (freshwater goby/mullet) family.

Nailingta a palileng! Now, I can't help but to just imagine the last time I got lucky to partake fat palilengs, that was perhaps about 10 years ago in Gonzaga, Cagayan. Palileng is a tasty freshwater fish, it's so rare, and of course expensive, nowadays.

Still of the goby/mullet family, this is called ilek and which we generally label as bunog.

Nilingta a bukto. Bukto or birut, also commonly called as bunog. [See a previous blog post about bukto/birut/bunog]

Inasar a native a paltat! [See a previous blog post about native paltat]

Tinenneb a dalag (attasi, buntiek). [See a previous blog post about dalag]

Tinola a native a manok.

Dinardaraan a pato.

What a feast!



  1. Naimas a talaga ti luto ilocano!!! #1

  2. unay dagitan, makapailiw!

  3. wow...nagmayat man nu adda kastoy nga blog...
    sapay kuma ta italinaed mo ti agpost ti kakastoy..

    OFW here, from US Naval base

  4. Nagimasen kailyan.

  5. makapatilmon kabsat lalo ata birabid

  6. makapailiw met, pakakitaan pay ngay ti birabid, kusileng a ti adda pay a nga magatang diay palengke.

  7. uray lang nga nag garuod iti tyan ko nagimas tlaga luto ilokano

  8. Mr. Author. I hope for your kind consideration that you will let us borrow some of your pix in this website and some info regarding those pictures you have here that we decided to borrow.
    We will use it for our thesis. We are a group of I.t Students, doing an Android app for tourism.
    Thank you.

  9. Nagimas kan may-yang!

  10. Dagitoy a ti naimas a makan!

  11. datay u-ong gadu a kuma nga adda uggot parya na.

  12. H. Is there a restaurant or food place where one can find all of these? Thank you.