Iloilo Food Trip: Seafood and Sweets
Mayad nga aga! Our days in Iloilo were not just spent on churches and travelling across the province to get there. Oh no! We also spent our days doing something both of us agree on quite wholly: going on a crash course of the cuisine that the Ilonggo people have to offer.
We must say that we were never disappointed at any moment during our whole gastronomical tour of Iloilo. In fact, we were so impressed we were hard put to pick favourites to recommend to you. So what we did was we tried all available restaurants and shops in the province so that you can decide which one is the best yourself.
We won’t keep you waiting though, as both of us can’t wait to share you our photos and experience! Here are some not-to-miss, mouthwatering dishes we munched on during our stay in Iloilo:
The savoury aligue rice is a sinfully delicious dish that could well get its eaters in a hospital!
Get a load of these exotic seafood: grilled managat (mangrove jack), grilled diwal (shellfish), kinilaw na tanuige (vinegar and mackerel), aligue (crab fat) rice, dried fish and squid (some crunchy!) and guinamos (dried bagoong or shrimp paste). These are just a sampling of what we got to eat when we were in Iloilo. Iloilo’s seafood restaurants are famous for their delectable fish and the range of taste seafood cuisine offers.
Many in Manila still make it a point to go to Iloilo to taste real Visayan seafood despite the prevalence of Iloilo-style seafood restaurants in the capital. This is because the ‘magic’ behind the seafood is the freshness of the fish. There was a point when our seafood binge became a daily habit! One point to remember though: all those we listed may all be seafood, but not all of them are healthy. For example, order an aligue and you may just be warned of ‘getting high blood’ (raising your blood pressure) due to high fat content!
Tatoy’s Manokan Seafood Restaurant
Sweets and Pastries
Toasted bread (biscocho) plus a hot cup of chocolate (tsokolate) was our favourite breakfast and merienda combo
When thinking about what types of pasalubong gifts to bring home to families, the first choices that come to mind are small foodstuffs like sweets and pastries. Thankfully, Iloilo gives a lot of options as to what to bring home to expectant family members. Spanish influence meant that tasty baked treats like barquillos (wafers), biscocho (toasted bread), galletas (milk ‘biscuits’), pinipig biscuits and butterscotch remain popular with both Ilonggos and tourists.
There were so many choices we couldn’t help but get at least one of each! Our favourite had to be biscocho, which we paired up with another Ilonggo favourite called the tsokolate or simply chocolate drink! But the chocolate used in the drink is unsweetened cacao… there were grits still in our cup of hot and it doesn’t at all taste like the chocolate we are used to. But paired with biscocho and you’ll have a pretty hearty breakfast!
Panaderia de Molo
La Paz Batchoy
La paz batchoy is made of pork, beef, chicken, noodles and very hot soup
The la paz batchoy is the most popular food that came from Iloilo. Before we even came to the province, we were told by Cousin Mario and a few friends not to miss eating a hot, heaping bowl of this noodle soup. We were glad we listened to their advice: we did not only had one, two or three each. Actually, we can’t count how much bowls of batchoy we ate during our whole stay. It was that good!
What we love about eating batchoy in Iloilo is the ‘unlimited’ serving of the ‘kaldo’ or soup. On cool nights, we finish off our soup first, ask for a second helping of it, then chow down the meat and the noodles. Just remembering it now is already very mouthwatering!
Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy
Netong’s Original Lapaz Batchoy
Deco’s Original La Paz Batchoy
Chicken Inasal is done through roasting or grilling of favourite chicken parts like the thighs
The inasal is roasted chicken skewer that is a favourite ulam or dish in Iloilo and Negros Island. Unlike the chicken in the Mang Inasal restaurant chains we have dined in Manila, the inasal we ate in Iloilo was more savoury, bigger and much more exotic in our taste. The sauce and oil of the chicken were dripping, but we saved them all for our rice. Chicken inasal taught us to eat with our hands… eating inasal with the hands makes it tastier!
Barbecue stalls on the street
Tatoy’s Manokan Seafood Restaurant
We both believe that eating the local dishes is part of the experience of discovering new places. As you can surmise, both of us had our hearty fills of what Iloilo has to offer.
We hope we don’t get too big after all the eating we did in Iloilo. But you be the judge the next time you see us on our next adventure somewhere in the Philippines!