Must Try food staples in Catanduanes

Food has always been an integral part of my travels. It has become a means to discover and learn about the culture of a place. And both here and abroad, enjoying local cuisines gives me a staple of everyday life comparable to breathing with the town and reviving its history.

Sumptuous looking lobsters cooked with coconut milk for a uniquely Catandunganon gastronomic experience.
Sumptuous looking lobsters cooked with coconut milk for a uniquely Catandunganon gastronomic experience.

Catanduanes has its fair share of delectable dishes reminiscent of the Bicol region’s cuisine. A trip to Bicol would not be complete without sampling local favorites such as Bicol express and laing, and Catandunganons are quick to combine these favorites with the island’s bountiful treasure. Food prepared either spicy or made with gata (coconut milk) are ever present although what stood out for me is the variety of seafood available in this province.

food staples in Catanduanes: Huge crabs in rich chili sauce… Mmmmm…
food staples in Catanduanes: Huge crabs in rich chili sauce… Mmmmm…

The surrounding bodies of water make fishing an ideal industry for the island and a source of food for locals and tourists alike. Catandunganons know how to welcome guests with food choices that make the island region an ideal destination for seafood lovers. Guests are treated to fresh catch on a daily basis and one can indulge to his heart (and stomach’s) content with the plentiful seafood dishes Catanduanes has to offer.


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Squid and shrimps prepared and cooked with a kick of spice and coconut milk.
Squid and shrimps prepared and cooked with a kick of spice and coconut milk.
Sinigang na Hipon
Sinigang na Hipon
Inihaw na Isda
Inihaw na Isda

Another treat during a visit to Catanduanes is sampling pancit bato, a noodle delicacy similar to the pancit habhab. Its noodles are harder than the regular pancit canton, thus the need for extra cooking time. With its good, smoky taste, pancit bato is the perfect go-to food if your itinerary would include physical activities. It is also a favorite snack during whatever time of the day.

Must-do when in Catanduanes: Eat pancit bato.
Must-do when in Catanduanes: Eat pancit bato.

Catanduanes is home to some delicacies that will satisfy your dessert cravings. Pili products and rice cakes are commonplace and are mostly offered in souvenir shops and pasalubong centers. However, a visit is not complete without trying the sticky rice famous in this part of the Bicol region. Their suman sa latik is a top recommendation and is perfectly paired with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

Latik cooked to perfection and is paired with sticky rice
Latik cooked to perfection and is paired with sticky rice

Enjoying the food Catanduanes has to offer is half of the experience of discovering the island. One cannot go wrong with the dishes unique to this province at any time of the day. Each dish and delicacy tells a story of their way of life in this beautiful island. And amidst the intense summers and strong monsoons Catanduanes has, colors and cuisine is always a delight to behold.

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