There are two types of bingka I've grown up with. First is the flat and "coconutty" ( with lots of buko strips) bingka made famous by the bingkahans in the plazas of Iloilo City especially in Molo and Jaro plus Plaza Libertad. But the most famous is the one in Mohon, Arevalo which gave birth to the popular bingka sa Mohon. And second is the one closer to home, in my hometown which before only appears during Semana Santa but now almost year round. This is what we refer to a puto-bingka as it looks and taste like toasted puto.
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A culinary invention of Pampanga, sisig is one of the most adapted provincial dishes in the country. I've tried the Original Sisig by Aling Lucing in Angeles before and it's much more simple that what is being served in most restaurants I've been to. As always, the recipe has evolved from Pampanga to much of the country now and there are lots of sisig variations to choose from. Even at home, one can prepare sisig easily and as delicious too.
Kinilaw nga Isda is a staple dish for the Ilonggos whether it's at home, in carinderia's or in most restaurants across Iloilo. The bounty from the sea prepared ceviche-style comes in many variations from the plain kinilaw to one having coconut milk to make the taste more subtle.
Here's a recipe for Kinilaw nga Isda
What lobo-lobo is to the Ilonggos is called dulong in most parts of the Philippines. These are tiny silvery fishes often referred to as baby dilis in some places. It is often found in wet markets sold in "cups" or in groceries inside ready to cook styro packaging. And most of the time they often end up either fried as torta or steamed inside banana leaves.
Sauteed Sardines (Ginisang Sardinas) is a quick and delicious recipe often serving as last-minute menu most of the time. But I often tweak the recipe to make it less ordinary than how it is perceived to be. While adding miswa to ginising sardinas is one of the most popular, using sotanghon noodles makes it even more interestingly delicious.
If there's one dish Iloilo is known for, it will all point to Lapaz Batchoy. Born in the market stalls in the district name it carries, this Ilonggo cuisine is a must try when in Iloilo. And despite the number of batchoyans around the city (and even outside Iloilo), there's no more authentic experience than having it where it started - in the market.
Don't worry Lapaz market is among the most organized and cleanest markets in Iloilo despite the chaos the market scene brings, you will still "fresh and clean" after your batchoy experience. The big 3 when it comes to Lapaz batchoy are Ted's Oldtimer, Deco's and Netong's - Ted's is the largest chain with branches in most parts of the country, Deco's is reputed to be the original and Netong's is the most trendy nowadays.
I love dried danggit and I'm pretty sure, you do too! Now, who doesn't? It's probably one of the most popular dried fishes together with the many varieties of tuyo/pinakas and dilis/balingon. And fried danggit is the bomb! With just vinegar or calamansi as dip or some fresh tomatoes as side dish, it often makes you say "Extra rice, please!".
I love the meatier type of danggit wherein you can actually bite some of the dried flesh of the fish. Compared with the thin and smaller ones where in its just it may seem like just dried plastic and often are sharp enough to cut you gums, meatier danggit is la delight in every bite.
One of the most challenging recipes is Ginisang Ampalaya (Sauteed Bitter Gourd). Challenging in the sense that once they hear/see/know it's ampalaya, most will have a "literally" bitter reaction towards this dish - mapait! And the actual challenge is to make it not that bitter.
As one of the healthiest vegetable recipes, making Ginisang Ampalaya is quite easy. To "accommodate" those who don't like the bitterness, prepare the bitter gourd beforehand to eliminate its signature bitter taste.
Here's the recipe for Sauteed Ampalaya with Egg