Monday, May 15, 2017

Craving for Vigan Empanada from Ilocos Sur

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Bagnet, sinanglao, tinubong, okoy, ... are just some of the delicacies that can be found in Ilocos Sur. But I believe the real iconic food treat that is most famous aside from their longganisa is their empanada, one of the most favorite street food.

There may be many kinds of empanada, but the crescent moon-shaped empanada is made up of grated green or unripe papaya, mung bean sprouts, mung beans and shredded carrots.  It also shows the Vigan people’s love for vegetables in their cuisine. Its meat filing consist of whole egg and skinless Vigan longganisa which for me makes the empanada a winner.

There are actually two kinds of empanada from Ilocos. There is the light colored and crispier one from Ilocos Sur (Vigan); and also one from Ilocos Norte (Laoag) with the thicker crust and darker complexion due to the achuete added during preparation.
A walk along Calle Crisologo while eating some Vigan empanada (for either snacks, lunch, or dinner) completes an epic experience of Vigan. Well, maybe you could ride a calesa, but be careful that the horse might grab a bite of the empanada while you do your selfie or groupfie shoots.

The empanada was also among the dishes served to us when we got invited by former Governor Chavit Singson at his Baluarte property famous for its zoo where some animals could even roam around free. Nit to also forget his pet tigers where he personally has some at his home.

We got to see the actual empanada cooking when we passed by Ilocos Sur because we intentionally stopped to look for a place where they sell the authentic street food that all tourists would not want to miss out when they visit Ilocos Sur.

Just as how we crave for strawberries when we are in Baguio or Benguet, we hunger for the empanada just the same. But not to eat too much, and it is also not advisable to bring some for take-out since they would not be as tasty as it was when it is newly deep fried from all that cooking oil.


Similar to any kind of food, the empanada is at its best when fresh ingredients are used. You'll taste the big difference when the vegetables used are old. This goes the same with the longganisa used. We prefer of course to visit the reputable places popular for making quality empanadas.

We have to thank social media and blogs for reviewing the places highly considered excellent and proven to properly cook the empanada, may they are from plaza or market stalls.

Was the empanada good? For first-timers, it is definitely something interesting to munch on, but since I'm also a foodie, eventhough it contains the mentioned veggies, I could say it is not that fascinating for the health-conscious since you could see them float on all that cooking oil. Street vendors probably just used the cheapest cooking oil they could find.

However, it wouldn't hurt that much if you just try everytime you're in Vigan. Sometimes, the street food taste better than the ones you could find at indoor places taht are away from all that dust and pollution.

There are some restaurants that have glamorized empanada cooking but these high-priced versions would make you think twice also if you are on a budget.

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