A tour of Ilocos Norte would not be complete without tasting its famous orange-colored empanadas.
While the empanadas most Manileños know are made of crusty bread, the ones being sold in the streets Ilocos are quite different. Instead of bread, the crust is made of rice flour and in place of the usual giniling, its filling is stuffed with egg, bean sprouts and garlic longanisas.
There are actually two versions of the famed Ilocos Empanada, those that are made in Vigan and the ones beng sold in Laoag and Batac. One can immediately see the difference between the two by just looking at them; Vigan’s has a more subtle color than the orangeier version of Batac.
Batac’s Empanada, which is commonly referred to as the Ilocos Empanada uses achuete to color its crust. It’s also much thicker than its Vigan counterpart; making it somewhat harder to eat when it gets cold.
But who would want to eat cold empanadas right? The best way to gobble these orange delights would be to head to Batac City and check the stalls some meters from the Marcoses ancestral house.
The place is an empanada haven, stalls upon stalls of glowing orange half-moons line its corridors and they’re all freshly made. One can order a regular serving which has a filling of grated green papaya for a lesser price or get a special order with bean sprouts and Ilocos longanisa for a few pesos more. But wait there’s more, one can have an even more special empanada by having its stuffing doubled! Customize your fillings with a single egg and double longanisa (single double), a double egg and a single longanisa (double single) or two eggs and longanisa (double double). Sinful, I know, but once those orange things get in your hands and you have your first crunchy bite, you’ll definitely forget how bad this stuff probably is for your health.
But we only live once, so indulge I say.
So how do you want your empanada? Single Double? Double Double? How about adding a bowl of piping hot Miki with it? And don’t forget to put in some of those spicy Ilocos Vinegar too! Yumm!
Batac City, Ilocos Norte
GPS Coordinates: 18.053882,120.563917 | Click to view location on Google Maps
LAKBAY NORTE IS AN ANNUAL MEDIA FAMILIARIZATION TOUR AROUND NORTH LUZON
ORGANIZED BY NORTH PHILIPPINES VISITORS BUREAU