There’s a handful of reasons why people head to the Northern provinces, specifically the Ilocos Region. They check out the charming Spanish Colonial vibe of Vigan. They take pictures of the Bangui Windmills. They satisfy their need for adventure at the La Paz Sand Dunes. They rest and relax at the white beaches of Pagudpud.
It doesn’t matter what they’re in the region for. They’re also going to do one thing, and that is to enjoy delicious Ilocano food.
In the process, they’ll learn one Ilocano word…
Delicious Ilocano Food
Naimas is Ilocano for delicious, and is a good adjective to describe Ilocano food. What do they have to offer? Well, don’t blame me if this list makes you drool:
These are just some of the delicious food that the region is known for. I’ve been to the region once and know first-hand what the hype is all about. These dishes alone are worth the trip!
Also, my wife has Ilocana roots, so she’s exposed to these dishes. This is why she became very excited when we found out that Fariñas Ilocos Empanada, the brand responsible for bringing Ilocano food closer to people outside of the Ilocos Region, will be having a branch in Lipa City.
Fariñas Ilocos Empanada Lipa Branch
This franchised branch is owned by Glecy Capule and Elizabeth Tiu, with the latter also managing the day to day operations. The Tiu family has Ilocano roots. They also saw an opportunity to satisfy the cravings of Ilocanos in Lipa City and nearby cities and in the process introduce Ilocano food to newbies by opening the Fariñas Ilocos Empanada Lipa branch at the Dayton Food Park last January 28, 2017.
A Taste of Northern Home Cooking
The Hello Lipa team got the chance to try Northern home cooking at the Fariñas Ilocos Empanada Lipa branch.
Of course, it’s not a meal at Fariñas Ilocos Empanada without their famed empanada.
Obviously, this is not the empanada that we’re used to. The bright orange color is one thing, and the fillings are another. Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside.
This one’s the Ultimate Empanada. Yes, that’s longganisa, bagnet, egg and raw papaya. You can add or take out fillings based on your own preferences. Each empanada is made by hand upon ordering.
Every empanada you eat here is fresh and crunchy off of the deep fryer. Drizzle a bit of the vinegar and I’m telling you. You wouldn’t care that it’s piping hot. You’ll keep taking bites after bites, burned tongue and all.
Another personal favorite of mine is their miki.
I’ve had this when we visited the region and it’s pretty authentic as far as I can tell. Ilocanos love their miki like how we Lipeños love our lomi. Try it for yourself and see why. Don’t mind that there’s a lot of sabaw. You’d be slurping it with your eyes closed as you enjoy the warmth that it brings to your stomach in these cold and rainy days.
You’re feeling it now, are you?
Just like the empanada, you can choose what’s in your miki. Just go for the Supreme Miki and get yours with chopped bagnet, chicharon, egg and chicken.
We’ve been talking about the bagnet.
Oh, and a video.
They put it in almost everything. There’s this Pansit Bagnet.
This dish is good for 2. I loved the long noodles. While the taste is unfamiliar to us Lipeños who are used to our guisado, this pansit dish is worth a try.
You can also enjoy the bagnet with rice or in this case, with rice, salted egg and longganisa.
Check out the layering of those bagnet pieces. You get a good amount of meat and a sinful amount of fat, with just the right amount of crispy skin.
They also have a relatively new offering – Salted Egg Bagnet.
What else can I say about it? It’s bagnet, made more delicious and sinful with salted egg. Don’t worry about the chopped chili. It’s just used for garnishing and it doesn’t really incorporate spice into the dish. Of course, you can always eat the chopped chili with the bagnet if you’re a fan of spicy food.
As I’ve mentioned, they put the bagnet on almost everything, and they managed to make a generally healthy pinakbet dish into something, well, better, by adding big bagnet slices on top of it.
Nope, I’m not complaining. This seems about right. The vegetables are cooked perfectly and still had a bit of crunch that rivaled the crunch of the bagnet.
No, we’re not forgetting the longganisa which you can also try with rice.
Ilocano longganisa is saltier and more garlicky as compared to other versions. This is why you can’t have just one. It’s very addicting.
The Fariñas Ilocos Empanada Lipa branch is not just about miki, bagnet and longganisa. They also have the poqui-poqui.
Funny name aside, this is a good side dish to order. This rich grilled eggplant dish is good enough to eat on its own with rice, but should be perfect to share with others to complement whatever rice meal you’re having.
We also tried the Ilocos Beef Tapa.
Their tapa is on the sweeter side that makes it almost tocino-like. It should be a good option for a late breakfast.
There’s also the Dinakdakan.
This is a good pulutan. It’s their version of the sisig.
Oh, and are you ready for this? Crispy Dinuguan, y’all!
At first I was expecting that they’ll use bagnet, but they surprised me with their version that has chicharon bulaklak and bituka. It makes you want to order a couple cups of rice, right? Make sure to enjoy it while it’s hot and crispy!
To end the hearty meal, we enjoyed these chunky cookies baked by Elizabeth herself.
Looks like someone on our team couldn’t help but pinch a little bite. I’ll investigate who it was.
Fariñas Ilocos Empanada: Naimas!
You have two options to enjoy naimas Ilocano food. You can either drive for 8 hours, or take a short trike ride to the Fariñas Ilocos Empanada Lipa branch at the Dayton Food Park. Either way, you will go home full, happy and satisfied.
But I’m sure it’s not just me, but the latter option seems more logical. So go and flag down that trike.
Address: Dayton Food Park, Ayala Highway, Lipa City
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday 10 AM to 10 PM
Contact Number: 0915 414 1777