Saturday, June 16, 2012

Northerning in Diliman: turo-turo #1

Turo-turo, eateries, food, Filipino food
Ilocos Sur is known for its heritage sites, less for its beaches, which though rocky, are immensely attractive to those who want to avoid crowds.

It also has its share of edible delights: empanada, bagnet, pinakbet, bibinka... What is laudable about Vigan is that when they redeveloped their plaza, they protected the local food industry, primarily the Vigan empanada which is cooked and served there. In doing so the local government protected the unique character of the place and ensured that the empanada continues to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, preserving that much of the town's intangible culture.

EateryAnd so, craving for some empanada and bagnet, we came across Mixxx Vigan's Best on Maginhawa Street in Teacher's Village. You can't miss the stall selling freshly fried Vigan empanada. And when we were there at about 1:30 in the afternoon, it seemed quite popular.

Inside is the turo-turo. We ordered the empanada espesyal, bagnet and papaitan. As far as price goes, it was pretty reasonable, we didn't even break P300, which included the softdrink. The empanada is not the same as the ones in Ilocos which are bursting with the green papaya and other veggies. However to its credit this one did not have an eggy-taste -- meaning that the whole raw egg placed in the middle prior to being deep fried, didn't overpower the taste of the beef which remained juicy. The crispyness was perfect. It was served with ordinary sukang puti, making us wish that sukang Iloko had been served instead, (but the Tagalog in me did not protest too much as I happen to like sukang puti)

Thus, had the empanada not suffered in comparison with the original of the plaza in Vigan, it would have a had a higher rating. Still it was crispy, juicy, oily and filling. Good snack fare.

The papaitan came next and was promptly forgotten. It was watery and barely had any taste, pait or otherwise.

Redemption came in the form of the bagnet. This sinful double fried "ulam" came lightly crisp and served in bite sizes so one does not have to struggle with cutting it. Originally, served plain, we asked for the bagoong Ilocano, a watery fish bagoong that mostly comes from La Union. The two went so well together, that it would have necessitated a second serving, were it not for the fact that we had to review a dessert place later in the afternoon. We were flirting with a heart attack enough as it was.

In all, it wasn't too bad. But this may require a second look as we hadn't tried the pinakbet yet. If you don't mind your empanada virtually naked (few veggies), then this place is for you.

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