"The Dinengdeng Debate: Authencity and Cuisine"

An authentic Ilokano dinengdeng: prepared by an Ilokano, and cooked in bugguong no less. You've here tarong, sabong-kabatiti, kubay (bilonak, alugbati).

So, the so-called debate on the "originality" or authenticity of regional dishes or cuisines, rages on. Still. Specially and specifically, this time around, on the venerated Ilokano dinengdeng... I'm surprised and apparently awed when I found this out featured by one of the most respected and ever popular blogger/writer/journalist, Manuel L. Quezon III, himself, yes! in his blog.

I'm particularly awed, well, because our humble blog post about the glory of dinengdeng, is there, for all the curious and/or pessimists to peruse...!

Dinengdeng a papaya (green papaya) with camote tops and dried fish. [Photo by Marichel Suguitan.]

But why is that we argue on what's an authentic dinengdeng and what's not? I suspect one probable reason is that we are being deluge with lots of variations and versions of this simple boiled veggie dish. You see, even the Ilonggos (Iloilo folks) have their own mostly-vegetable stew/soup dish called "laswa", which means vegetable and is the "generic name for dishes mainly made of assorted vegetables with little meat or seafood or none at all, seasoned with salt (and broth cubes.)" And generally, the Visayans have their "utan" to boot.

Dinengdeng nga alukon (sabong) with fried fish. [Photo by Leilanie Adriano]

Know what? What makes the Ilokano dinengdeng a Dinengdeng is simple: it has to be cooked in bugguong! While others season their vegetable dish with either salt, patis, or broth cubes, Ilokanos use bugguong, period. And that's bugguong nga ikan (fish) of either monamon or tirong. Not bugguong nga aramang (shrimp fry). So, no debate here, really.
Dinengdeng nga utong (fruit) with saluyot.  [Photo by Leilanie Adriano



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