Ilonggo Dishes: Must-Try Local Food and Delicacies in Iloilo
Team Out of Town was recently invited to participate in the Philippine Tourism Influencer’s Program 2022, spearheaded by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB). And luckily, this year’s 1st run takes place on the amazing Panay Island.
During the mentioned caravan, we spent most of our time in the beautiful province of Iloilo. Needless to say, the “Heart of the Philippines” made us love absolutely everything about Iloilo. From its breathtaking natural wonders and cultural landmarks to its spectacular man-made attractions, Iloilo ensured that we had an action-packed experience during our visit.
Another thing that made our vacation extra special was the legendary, ever-delicious, and irresistible Ilonggo Cuisine. We got an exclusive chance to try and sample some of Iloilo’s greatest dishes, and we were definitely not disappointed! This blog post listed some of the Must-Try Local foods and Delicacies in Iloilo! Bonus! We also included some dishes we sampled during our previous Iloilo trips.
Laswa (Vegetable Soup)
The first on the list is no other than Laswa. This simple Ilonggo vegetable soup, particularly fiber-rich, is similar to the famous Dinengdeng of Ilokano Cuisine. The only difference is that Laswa is usually seasoned with salt, while Dinengdeng recipes use bagoong.
The usual ingredients of Laswa consist of squash, sitaw, eggplant, Okra, ampalaya, and patola, and made extra special by shrimp!
Ah, this next dish is a popular and fan-favorite Ilonggo dish for everyone craving a unique combination of beef and soup. Kansi or Cansi is like a collaboration between two famous Filipino dishes: Bulalo and Sinigang.
Kansi usually uses tender and delicious beef shanks flavored with a sour fruit called the Batwan. And instead of using usual Sinigang Vegetables such as kangkong, Okra, and gabi, Kansi uses a unique alternative, jackfruit.
Were you also intrigued by the name? Well, KBL or Kadyos, Baboy at Langka also captured my attention when I first heard of it. It’s also a popular Ilonggo soup dish with a tasty and sour flavor. Like the name suggests, KBL uses Kadyos or Pigeon Peas, Pork, and Langka, a Tagalog term for jackfruit.
It also has a huge similarity with Cansi because it uses the Batwan fruit to produce a natural sour flavor.
La Paz Batchoy
And there it is! La Paz Batchoy is considered one of the most iconic dishes in Iloilo and the whole country. This exquisitely delicious noodle soup consists of pork meat, chicharon, egg noodles, flavorful broth, and raw egg as the main ingredients.
This extraordinary dish originated from the small town of La Paz, Iloilo, and is characterized by an oozing savory and delicious “liquid gold” soup.
Pancit Molo is another traditional Ilonggo soup dish that originated from the town of Molo in Iloilo, where several Chinese immigrants lived in the past. It’s a soup highly similar to the famous Wonton Soup of the Chinese.
These Molo Dumplings, usually made of ground pork and a combination of different herbs and spices, are made more hearty and exquisite with shredded chicken and toasted garlic. Yum!
Well, well, well! I think everyone’s familiar with this savory and extremely delicious dish from Bacolod, right? There’s no way I wouldn’t take the golden opportunity of tasting this juicy, flavorful, and delicious Filipino-style chicken barbecue during our caravan!
Chicken Inasal has a unique taste featuring a combination of vinegar, citrus juice, lemongrass, and atsuete, and is best paired with steamed white rice!
Chicken Binakol, on the other hand, is another iconic Ilonggo chicken dish but this time in the form of a hearty soup. This one’s highly similar to Chicken Tinola, but what makes it unique is coconut meat water and coconut water as soup bases. Chicken Binakol is also best cooked using native chicken and simmered for several hours.
Pinamalhan na Isda
Ah, yes. Pinamalhan na Isda is an all-time favorite Ilonggo dish, basically a “Fish Stew.” Usually, the fishes used are Bangus, salmonite, bilong-bilong, sap-sap, abo, and many more. This dish’s rich and overflowing flavors come from the combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, salt, peppers, oil, and many more spices cooked over low heat for several hours.
Another blockbuster Ilonggo dish we’ve tried is the Apan-Apan, a delicious version of the popular Adobong Kangkong. The richness of the flavor bonds well with the kangkong and is made extra special by adding crispy fried pork toppings called Tulapho.
Trust me, you will need extra orders of rice for this one because the overwhelming combination of flavors brought by the coconut vinegar, soy sauce, and bagoong is truly irresistible!
Adobo Nga Takway
Takway is what the Ilonggos refer to as the parts of a Gabi plant that grows sideways. Cooking Adobo Nga Takway follows the same process as those of the other adobo recipes; you just have to substitute the major ingredients with Takway. This delicious dish overflows with different flavors and presents a unique texture thanks to the Takway, and it’s really a must-try Ilonggo dish!
Talaba or oysters are incredibly abundant in the Western Visayas region, and obviously, there’s no reason I wouldn’t indulge in these tasty seashells now that I’m in Iloilo! One of the best ways to cook Talaba is by baking it with butter, garlic, and cheese.
Baked Talaba is genuinely a heavenly Ilonggo dish, and I bet no one could ever resist it.
Chicken Tinuom is another iconic Ilonggo dish that promises a delicious combination of flavors and textures. This yummy chicken recipe is made with native chicken seasoned with onions, tomatoes, and tanglad wrapped by a banana leaf. It’s really a unique, flavorful dish and is one of the famous “Binalot Recipes” of Ilonggo cuisine.
Pangat is famously known as the Ilonggo-Style Laing, which uses a flavorful combination of coconut milk and laing or Taro leaves. Well, everyone knows Laing is best served extra spicy and savory, right? Like what the Bicolanos love. Well, what makes Pangat unique and special is the addition of the Ilonggos’ very-own Batwan, adding extra layers of flavor and texture to this already irresistible dish.
Stories say you will never look at any Liempo dishes the same way once you try the legendary Ramboys Liempo of Iloilo. Well, it’s hard to disagree! The tender, juicy, and flavorful meat of their liempo, combined with the sinful crispy-licious skin and delicious sawsawan, are genuinely addicting. Trust me, you would regret not trying Ramboys Liempo and their other flavorful dishes!
Fried Ibos is one of the most heavenly and delicious creations of the Ilonggos, and it’s absolutely a must-try. Ibos is actually a rice cake and is highly similar to the Suman of the Tagalogs. Ilonggos made it extra special by frying the Ibos and serving them with Mango Jelly Dip or rich Tsokolate Tablea. Ah, what a perfect way to end our gastronomic adventure, huh?
Tambo / Utan na puti sabaw
Bamboo Shoots boiled with Okra, shrimp, and coconut milk. One of the favorite Ilonggo dishes cooked with Tambo has gata (coconut milk), tugabang (Jutes leaves), Okra, Corn, and crabs or shrimp. This dish is sometimes called “utan na puti sabaw” (white soup with vegetables).
So there you have it! There are truly a lot of beautiful reasons to visit Iloilo and trust me when I say that the famous Ilonggo Cuisine is one of those. Their unique, flavorful, and mind-blowing food creations are simply irresistible and world-class!
That’s why when you have the chance to visit Iloilo and the lovely Panay Island, make sure to enjoy all of the must-try dishes that I’ve mentioned. See you on our next adventure!
Want more updates about other interesting local dishes in Iloilo Province? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.
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