My first taste of Vigan empanada was in 1992 when our UP College Baguio Humanities II class went to Ilocos for a fieldtrip. I found out last week that the empanada stalls are owned by virtually just one clan. The recipe and tradition of cooking Vigan empanada has been passed on from one generation to another.
Having Vigan empanada at the Burgos Plaza was an exciting event. The cooking of this local streetfood delight is a show in itself. The manangs roll the dough into a soft shell, put in the ingredients and cook the empanadas right before your eyes and serve them crispy and fresh off the pan.
Vigan empanada is made from a freshly-rolled dough of rice-flour and egg whites. It’s filled in with a mixture of cabbage, carrots, green papaya, monggo sprouts and tomatoes. The dough with filling is then deep-fried in a large pan until the dough turns into a crispy shell. This is the regular empanada and sells for P5.
The Vigan empanada has a variation: special empanada. Special empanada has a slightly bigger crust, is filled with all the ingredients of regular empanada, but has additional Vigan longganisa (local sausage) bits and an egg yolk. Hmmmmm, yum yum! The special empanada sells for P25.
Also at these stalls, you’ll find Ukoy. Ukoy is made from a batter of rice flour and onions topped with small shrimps. The concoction turns into a crispy mouthful after deep frying. Ukoy sells for P25.
This foodfest of crispy streetfood delights is served on a plate with a bowl of vinegar and a spoon and fork. Personally, I like to eat them with my hands! Get ready with the paper napkins to wipe of the grease from your hands and the dripping vinegar from the sides of your mouth!
When: The empanada stalls start cooking at around 1:30 pm and close at around 9pm.
Tip: Best eaten right there and then. Vigan empanada and ukoy turn soggy after a few hours of travel.
Where: There are various stalls around Ilocos serving Vigan empanada. But the stalls at the Burgos Plaza at the Vigan city center provide the appropriate streetfood ambience for eating Vigan empanada – the clacking of the calesa, the whirring of the scooters or tricycles and the buzz of the locals and tourists enjoying the local crispy delight.
Taste if for yourself!
attempted rolling the dough of Vigan empanada
Next Tuesday: Burnay – Ilocos’ pot of gold
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