dinengdeng, glorious dinengdeng!

I'm a typical Ilokano who can't live without dinengdeng, come share my passion...

various authentic, exotic, ilokano pinakbets

Concoction or variations of this kind of exotic Ilokano dish, of this ever ubiquitous vegetable stew...

sinanglaw? paksiw? which?

What do you prefer, Vigan-sinanglaw or Laoag-paksiw? What about pinapaitan and singkutsar?

unnok/ginukan, freshwater shellfish

Want some unnok soup or ginukan bugguong?

baradibud a tugi, lesser yam vegetable stew

Tugi, for some, is only meant to be boiled and eaten simply as is. But for me, it's an indispensable ingredient for yet another hearty Ilokano dish...


dinengdeng ken panagdengdeng idiay awaymi/a way we do the dinengdeng in our community

It's rather unusual for some, even to the most self-professedly G.I. or "patneng nga Ilokano" (so-called true blue, "native" Ilokano), to find a dinengdeng like this, some of the Ilokanos in our rural home and place of the heart and hearth so to speak, in Casantolan. I mean this particular way that the fruit stalk or stem of the aubergine (well, that's tarong commonly called eggplant but here, these are not even egg-shaped so I call it aubergine; I refuse to call it brinjal--to be more Asian, but it may all the more confuse people) is not removed and isn't kind of awkward?

Well, with the pamurosan (fruit stalk or stem) not removed, these are small and yet tender and young tarong fruit and at this stage of the fruit, the stalk/stem is edible and tender and so you can eat it together with the fruit. It also serves as a ready handle if you prefer to eat with your hands or if you pick your food, your sida (ulam, viand) with your hands when you eat (just like me, at times).

Yes, it's there because it's edible and because this is yet again an Ilokano way (just a way, not a show of) of that branded and patented virtue of kirmet-ness a.k.a. thriftiness, the frugality (economic at that) of the Ilokano not to waste sources and resources, and all that blah blahs about Ilokano-ness and stuff.  But well, it's a personal preference. I love this and I'm used to it. And when I'm in Casantolan, I pick the more immature fruits of the tarong plant and leave the pamurosan intact when I make a dinengdeng. The stalk has a distinct sweetish flavor.

This is a simple dinengdeng of the "stalked" aubergine, and parda, and patani, with a lucky sagpaw (add-on) of grilled tilapia:

As you can see, the dinengdeng is kind of dry, you can't see lots of digo (broth, soup) in there. I cooked it pinakbet-like. But this is still a dinengdeng. An almost dry dinengdeng is very good, the bugguong all the more suffused with the veggie goodness and it has only a sauce-like thickened broth for digo which is just perfect for your innapuy (steamed rice).

And yes, we do the same with the pinakbet, here are "stalked" tarong in two of my recent pinakbets:

Now, I wonder if you do the same. Tell me.




Bugguong (bagoong in Tagalog) defines the Ilokano palate. Be it in the dinengdeng or in the pinakbet or simply in the famous Ilokano salsa called KBL (kamatis-bugguong-lasona). But besides the usual bugguong nga ikan like monamon and tirong, we ‘re also crazy about salt and preserve other river/sea produce with it to serve as an appetizer to our dinengdeng, fried fish, grilled meat, and the like. With squeeze of calamansi or dalayap, we relish saltiness with other bugguongs as other peoples in the archipelago delight in bagoong na alamang or guinamos.

And so, here are more unique Ilokano bugguongs: bugguong nga ipon, bugguong nga unnok, and bugguong a tirem:

I bought these for PhP90 each at roadside stall selling souvenir items, gamet and others at the Paraiso ni Anton park along the national highway in Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte. Quite pricey that makes these bugguongs a kind of luxury if not gourmet food. I may have even bought a bugguong a birabid but though I may gave in to its Php200/bottle tag, I didn’t  have enough money that time. What the heck, I haven’t seen or tasted birabid for decades! Birabid is now very rare, if not kind of extinct already.

Here's bugguong nga unnok from years ago:



padpadol: bunga ti sabidukong

Padpadol is the fruit or pod of the sabidukong or bagbagkong vine (Telosma procumbens, tonkin jasmine, latok (Tagalog)), a plant with so many local names. The fruit is primarily called "padpadol" in Ilokano because it resembles "padol" or stake. In Tagalog, it is also called "puso-puso" as it is somewhat kind of heart-shaped, albeit elongated. The immature pod is edible just like its more popular inflorescence or flower. For the curious and uninitiated, you may not instantly love it as a regular veggie fruit, it has a rather strong sabeng or "vegetable smell", but once you acquire a taste of it, the Ilokano veggie-loving in you will manifest--it tastes just like pallang (winged beans) and/or utong (string beans) so yes, you'll just love it as your regular nateng.

These lovely green pods are abundant on padpadol fruiting season come August to December. Usually sold after the flowering season on the local palengke. Or sold alongside the flowers as the vine continue to blossom as its fruits mature.

Cut and tenderly yours, it's ready:

For starters, let's try a dinengdeng with lotsa veggies. Padpadol with bunga ti singkamas, sabong ti karabasa, tarong, marunggay, kabatiti, pallang. utong, how about that?

Without much further ado, here's it:

Just a simple dinengdeng, by the way, where padpadol is cozy with its peers, showing its versatility and edibility as a veggie:

Well, that's for starters. Watch out for the other padpadol recipes! Padpadol with other veggies and anything great and delicious that we can do with this kind of exotic vegetable fruit!

For teasers,  how about this padpadol cooked pinakbet?

And this, padpadol on the grills, imagine:


More sabidukong stories:


kinilnat a papait with padas

Papait once more. Can't get enough with papait as long as it is readily available. Especially when I chance upon the so-called "native" one that just grows in the wild in wild abandon. and not the "commercially" propagated and cultivated "big" and "hybrid" papait usually being sold in the market. The native papait is more bitter and so, it is more preferred by the devotedly pait-loving Ilokano in us.

And it is best as a kind of salad. Blanched and not boiled. And simply garnished with its usual partner, KBL, kamatis-bugguong-lasona (tomatoes, salt-fermented fish sauce, onions). For souring anyway, calamansi is also used instead of tomatoes for that more zingy sourness to enhance its wonderful pait-ness.

Anyway, I have here a bugguong a padas (salt-fermented tiny siganid fish) and promises a more exciting papait dish because you have to consume the fermented fish itself and not just its sauce. It's still a KBL partner with the B in there because padas is still a bugguong. The tiny padas is actually the fry of the barangan or malaga fish. Freshly-caught padas is also a delicious fish kilawen (raw).

Here, it's ready to be blanched:

And here's the final product:

There's the padas, the little ones:

The sweetish saltiness of the fermented tiny fish is just so a perfect for the almost extreme sweet bitterness of the papait:


More papait dishes:


inalseman nga igat

Passing by the province of Nueva Vizcaya by lunch time, I decided to have myr hunger settled by a roadside eatery in Barangay Baretbet in Bagabag town where my hungry eyes caught a placard announcing the availability of igat (eel), udingan (or bunog), burasi (carp) and other freshwater delicacies fished right from the Magat River nearby.

I readily ordered the igat offer. And here’s it, sinigang (inalseman), soured with tomato, cooked just so tender to render its own fatty essence:

The inalseman nga igat is just cooked right and even if it’s sinigang and not cooked dry as paksiw or adobo but with some broth, it’s not “nalangsi” or “malansa” (gamy). The preparation and cooking is expertly done. The eatery is kind of popular as hungry travelers are incessantly stopping by to eat and partake of the igat specialty.

So wickedly delicious, it oozes with gustatory goodness to dare you to a rice intake overload!



inasar a kakalkalap a tilapia

Inasar is tinuno, that's grilled or broiled over hot coals. And yeah, right, these are tilapia fish just caught using a tabukol (fish net) from a pond.....

.... cleaned, and skewered at once and put on over eager embers.

And the result is this, inasar a tilapia served on a banana leaf covered make-shift table, with nakalamansian a bugguong (bugguong squeezed up with calamansi) for a dip, and of course, steaming steamed rice--picnic style.





Sardinas. Canned sardines. Goes so well with almost every vegetable you can think of, and many more. Good with green papayas, chayote, gourds (kabatiti, tabungaw, tangkoy), banana blossoms (sabunganay or susop), young jackfruit/breadfruit (langka or anangka, rimas, pakak), boiled beans (balatong, utong, kardis [pusi]), even with green leafy veggies like spinach, camote, kangkong, petchay, and the like. And aba (taro) and pikaw (wild taro) shoots/stalks.

These, sautéed, or just plain boiled with.

Like this boiled balatong with sabidukong and sardinas.

And this one, still a balatong but with paria:

And of course with some flour and rice noodles like bihon, miki, canton, sotanghon, misua and other noodles.

I particularly love bihon with sardinas, it's a delicious viand with steamed rice! Like this:

And also this delicious one, with misua:

Hmm, you can even put it in your scrambled egg or as garnish/topping/filling in your holy pasta (spaghetti, carbonara, lasagna).

And but of course, it’s also good as it is, right from the tin can, with sliced tomatoes and onions and a squeeze of calamansi or a hint of vinegar, and some hot chili: