The Vigan diet

My bestfriend Froi has probably been to Vigan about 8 times. Yet, when someone asks him to go, he still finds it hard to say no. I may have caught the bug. Found myself in Vigan for the second time this year, which was perfectly fine because what kind of non-life loving person would turn down second servings of Vigan food?  

Empanada from the plaza -- the stall my foodie friend Turtle recommends is the one called EVELYN'S. Apparently, Evelyn's is already an institution. We saw heaps upon heaps of empanadas (Php30/each) leaving their tiny stall. When it was our turn, the empanadas proved they were indeed worth waiting for. 

Another must-try empanadas are the ones from Irene's (Php35). Their shop is located at Calle Crisologo. 

What's in a Vigan empanada: egg, Ilokano longganisa, grated papaya, all wrapped in a deep fried rice flour and dunked in Ilokano vinegar. 

Tip: If you're having some empanadas, grab some okoys (around Php30), too.

*slobber, slobber*
Photo from Gail's Footprints
Bagnet -- much love has been written about the bagnet. And why wouldn't people do so: it's crunchy on the outside and oh-so-amazingly soft and chewy to the bite. Anj (the new Ilocos convert) and I tried a serving at Cafe Leona, at Php235/plate, a good enough serving for 2 hungry girls.

Admission: we were so in want of food and the bagnet served before us looked so yummy, we forgot to take our own photos. 

Another thing about Cafe Leona's - the servers are pretty funny and ready for some laughs. Chat them up when they're not too busy. 

Tidbit: bagnet is like bacon, it tastes good with everything. Expect to have it in your kare-kare,  rice, even pizza. But please, that's not for you to think you don't have to order it separately. That's just so you can have as much of it as you can while you're in its homebase. 

Tick off your vegetable roll call from the "Bahay Kubo":
Who's there, who isn't?
Pinakbet, Vigan-style has your talongs, sigarillas, sitaw, okra, kamatis, atbp., but the bettest of them all is the bagnet thrown in!

A plate at Tummy Talk set us back around Php100-120. Good enough for two.

Where else to have it: Cafe Leona's, Grandpa's Inn

Melt-in-your-mouth bibingkas at Calle Liberation is something Froi and I discovered while we were aimlessly wandering around town.** Lo and behold, a lovely manang was cooking some rice cakes. At Php5/piece, they're even yummier than the pre-packed ones. They're crunchy on the outside and all soft and bursting with coconuts on the inside. It's a glorious mix of salty and sweet.

**We were gawking at the other beautiful houses, unrestored and some in alarming conditions. It's the hope that the entire town proper could be converted into a heritage site. Why just focus on one street? The other houses are just as beautiful.  

Other food to try:
  • Miki at Tummy Talk - comforting, with bagnet bits (isn't it great how everything has bagnet here?).  Try the miki-all-you-can for meryenda. That's Php40 for all you can have miki bowl between 2-5pm. 
  • Sans rival and coffee at Grandpa's Inn. The perfect tea time Vigan-style consists of really good sans rival (Php60/slice) and an equally affordable cup of brewed local coffee at Grandpa's quaint inn. How good Grandpa's Inn's sans rival is best attested by the fact that the cafe always runs out.  One serving is usually not enough and Granpa's servings are not small at all. Go there early afternoon if you wanna try it, which is around the time it gets delivered. 
  • Vigan longganisa. Garlicky, perfect with garlic rice. 
  • Okoy 
  • Tsokolate batirol
Right about now, I'm craving for some bagnet and sans rival. Someone tipped me about an Ilocano eatery at Maginhawa. Keeping my expectations real (but hoping for some really good pinakbet). More days of these cravings and I may soon find myself there.

Had anything good to eat lately? Do share. 


  1. Love the empanadas! i must've had 5 of them in the 4 days we were there, had 1 at vigan, then 1 at Batac, then went back for some more the next day(double special, because more is better!)(we stayed near Laoag)

    Bagnet for me was a hit or miss, we had it a few times we were there but sometimes it was a bit dry, or hard instead of crunchy, but the 1 we brought home was like heaven! I mean, it didn't even FEEL like pork! the stuff inside the crunchy exterior actually melts in your mouth!

    taking it home was kinda scary though, because they wrapped it in cling wrap and then put it in a paper bag, by the time we got home, the paper bag was almost about to dissolve from the amount of oil it had soaked up. :D

    the royal bibingka was really good too, although we only had time to try out Marsha's.

    1. Hi Jome! Oooh, I wanna try those in Batac, heard it's different from the ones in Vigan. And what you said about bagnet- that it didn't feel like pork, swak! That's what's driving me crazy- up until now I'm trying to figure out how they did that. Try the bagnet at Cafe Leona's the next time you wind up in Ilocos. :D

  2. The reason why bagnet didn't feel like pork is the manner it was cooked. Certainly, bagnet is like lechon kawali. Bagnet is deep fried 3 times and hung in between. That is what makes it soft and crunchy, and expensive. ;D