CAGAYAN | Eats Up North, a Sampling of Cagayan Province’s Local Dishes | Lakad Pilipinas

Cagayan Food Trip

After getting fully drenched by the boatride to Palaui Island, two tableful of bounties from the sea welcomed us—plates of crisply fried tilapia lathered in tomatoes, fresh seaweeds, hinalabos lobsters, shrimp sinigang and lumot. Lumot?! Yes, lumot. Lumot as in sea algae. Can we actually eat these?! I asked myself in disbelief.

Cagayan Food Trip Pancit Batil Patong

And so goes our culinary adventure in the Province of Cagayan, a mix of familiar dishes in between food totally alien—but not less delicious—to us. There is, of course, the ubiquitous northern noodle dish, the pancit batil patong, in almost all the places we visited. But indeed, there is more to the north than carabeef and noodles.

 

 

CHICHARABAO

  WHERE TO BUY: LIGHTHOUSE COOPERATIVE YBANAG FOOD PRODUCTS, TUGUEGARAO • GPS COORDINATES MAP: 17.613028, 121.726361


Cagayan Food Trip Chicharabao

Tuguegarao City’s version of the chicharon (pork rind), is strangely enough, not made from pork, but from carabeef. Dubbed as the chicharabao, this uniquely Cagayan snack is lighter than your usual chicharon and without the crisply fried fat and meat. It is made from precisely cut carabao skin which are popped on an extremely hot cauldron of cooking oil. It comes in three flavors, garlic, onion & vinegar and, my favorite, hot & spicy. A note of caution, this snack is extremely addictive.

 

 

PAWA

  WHERE TO BUY: AROUND PIAT BASILICA, APAYAO ROAD, CENTRO, PIAT, CAGAYAN • GPS COORDINATES MAP: 17.786678, 121.480211


Cagayan Food Trip Pawa

Besides the venerated Black Virgin Mary, Piat holds another heavenly gem along its church grounds, the sweet pawa. The bite-sized snack is made from steamed glutinous rice filled with sweetened grounded peanuts. We were able to sample it for desserts when we visited the Cagayan State University for a brief tour of their farming facilities—which is free, by the way. But if you don’t have the time to visit CSU, there are readily available on the streets near Piat Church.

 

 

YBANAG LONGGANISA

  WHERE TO BUY: PUBLIC MARKETS AROUND CAGAYAN


Cagayan Food Trip Ybanag Longganisa

Made by the same guys that produce chicharabao, Tuguegarao’s version of the pinoy breakfast favorite, the longganisa, is made from, guess what, carabeef. Like the Vigan longganisa and Baguio longganisa, it is on the garlicky side with bits of fat interspersed with meat, making it really flavorful when slowly fried to a crisp. If carabeef’s not your thing, which is a shame since it is more flavorful, they do have a pork version of this one too.

 

 

PUTOFLAN

  WHERE TO BUY: SEGURO SNACK HAUZ, GATTARAN, CAGAYAN • GPS COORDINATES MAP: 18.106224, 121.671517


Cagayan Food Trip Putoflan

After finishing three pieces of fried chicken, a scoop of veggies and a helping of pancit batil patong, we were treated with a variation of puto in the town of Gattaran by Seguro Snack Hauz. These are soft rice cakes made from flour and egg yolks, but with twist, it has sweet leche flan bottom. Lovely little things.
~ PHOTO BY MARTIN SAN DIEGO FOR NPVB

 

PANCIT BATIL PATONG

  WHERE TO BUY: CARINDERIA STALLS AROUND CAGAYAN


Cagayan Food Trip Pancit Batil Patong

We’ve had a total of four servings of Tuguegarao’s famous pancit batil patong throughout our journey across Cagayan Province. Indeed, this noodle dish, a concoction of miki, minced carabeef, topped with crunchy carajay and poached egg, and paired with batil soup and chopped onions is so popular, it’s available not only in Tuguegarao where it originates, but all over Cagayan as well. Besides Win-Mae Panciteria in Tuguegarao, we also dined on it at the towns of Gattaran, Lal-Lo (surprisingly, they use sotanghon as noodles and not the traditional pancit batil patong miki) and Aparri. Those last three were served in a bilao, good for big groups like us.

 

 

SINANTA

  WHERE TO BUY: CARINDERIA STALLS AROUND CAGAYAN


Cagayan Food Trip Sinanta

Another noodle dish by the Ybanags, sinanta is usually eaten as snacks and served during birthdays. The soup is a mix of everything—sotanghon and miki noodles, chicken, pork and clams, all swimming on a soup flavored with patis (fish sauce). It is usually paired with pinakufu, a sweet rice cake, and hot choco. Talk about a mix-matched combo! This isn’t only popular in Tuguegarao, but the whole of Cagayan. Point in fact, it was served to us as a pre-dinner appetizer at the Lyceum of Aparri!

 

 

LUMOT

  WHERE TO BUY: JEROLYNDA WHITE BEACH RESORT, STA. ANA, CAGAYAN • GPS COORDINATES MAP: 18.516046, 122.159253


Cagayan Food Trip Lumot

And finally, lumot. Served with a host of seafood, lumot is lato’s (which they call pukpuklo, by the way) lesser know cousin. Both are seaweeds, the former having a more algae-ish consistency. Which is, of course, quite apt, since it is a kind of green algae. The taste is a tad similar to lato, which is salty, like sea salty. Speaking for myself, I can’t eat this on its own, but it definitely goes well when paired with fried fish and lobsters.

~ PHOTO BY MARTIN SAN DIEGO FOR NPVB

 

CAGAYAN PASALUBONG


Cagayan Food Pasalubong

And as if these are not enough, we also brought home a taste of Cagayan with us back home. Besides Tuguegarao’s chicharabao, Ybanag longganisa and carabeef tapa, we also brought home packs of Alcala and Lal-lo’s carabao milk candies. And personally, after tasting how good the local chili dip is with pancit batil patong, I bought a couple of bottles of Puti’s spicy chili garlic dip in Lal-lo.

 

THIS TRIP IS PART OF NORTH PHILIPPINE VISITOR’S BUREAU'S (NPVB) LAKBAY NORTE 6 TOUR,
A FOUR-DAY MEDIA FAMILIARIZATION TRIP AIMED AT PROMOTING NORTHERN DESTINATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES.


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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Saturday, March 25, 2017

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