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...


kilawen a tirong: a picnic by the beach [repost]

Tirong is small saltwater fish. It's called bonnet mouth fish and is the ingredient in the popular bugguong (bagoong, fish sauce/paste) called bugguong a tirong. Tirong when fully grown (to its adult size) is called "dalagang bukid" and is great for sinigang and escabeche or simply as fried. And of course, the inevitable kilawen, freshly caught tirong eaten raw with the pristine saltiness and sweetness and succulence of the raw sea.

Kilawen a tirong.

Stopping by at Candon City on our way to a writer's convention in La Union, we decided to rest awhile and while away the thick and humid Ilocos summer heat and take a dip at the Ilocos Sur sea.

We went to a beach at Barangay Calungboyan and there we were lucky enough to come upon some fishermen who just came ashore in a rakit (balsa, bamboo raft) with their sea bounty.

There, the precious tirong, about 3 kilos of it, the only catch so far of the jolly Ilokano mangngalap (fisherman), besides a single pana-pana (sea urchin) and a baby kurita (octopus).

We bought all the tirong, of course, as we are so over-eager to have a taste of its freshness, its inviting deliciousness, its mouth-watering rawness...

We unanimously voted to have it as kilawen. No way should its freshness and succulence be wasted! And so we simply made it with available condiments. We poured vinegar on the tirong and it's done, it's that simple. With some salt and chili by the side.

You have to pick the tirong by hand, have some salt on it and eat it right on, have your mouth and palate some guilty pleasures. Its flesh is sweetish, a little bitter because of its intact entrails, briny with the natural taste of the raw sea. Eat it all, fishhead and fishbone, it's so small you can chew all its goodness.

And but of course, it's more palatable and with drinks, its inevitable partner. We've got a case of Red Horse Litro to down the great kilawen a tirong.

Ah! Goodness gracious, how refreshing and delectable life could be at the seashore. Life's a beach, indeed!

Drinkers. :-)

Calongbuyan Beach
Candon City, Ilocos Sur.