Frequent visitors can attest how rich Iloilo is when it comes to gastronomy. You often think of batchoy, talaba and seafood but there are more Iloilo specialities or Ilonggo dishes to enjoy and should be the focal point of your visit here.
When you come to Iloilo, dine and enjoy beyond the more “popular” dishes starting with these 7 Ilonggo specialities from Bauhinia Filipino Cuisine.
Kinilaw and Ensalada
Every province has their own kinilaw and ensalada with these trio representing the Ilonggo local taste.
Kinilaw nga Talong (eggplant kinilaw), Kinilaw nga Gulaman ( seaweed kinilaw) and Ensalada nga Puso sang Saging ( cooked banana blossoms tossed in coconut cream and vinegar).
Note: I keep the word “kinilaw” instead of the usual translation of the local dish as a “ceviche”.
The healthiest among vegetable dishes. A soup of local vegetables with shrimp and dilis. Perfect when you have enough of having fatty and oily meals. A detox dish so to speak.
Pinaksiw nga Bangrus
Milkfish poached in vinegar. The Ilonggo version is wrapping the belly part of the fish with mango leaves giving it a mild sourness while keeping its moisture and flavor.
Adobo sa Estiwitis
Adobo next to lechon is Philippine’s dish icons. This Ilonggo version combines pork and chicken (free-range sourced from Orchard Valley Farm) and then slow-cooked in vinegar and achuete oil.
KBL ( Kadyos, Baboy, Langka)
Another meat soup dish of the Ilonggo. Pork knuckles ( sometimes grilled before boiling) with pigeon pea and jackfruit. This one has fewer kadyos; the more kadjos you add, the soup and the meat will turn purple ( yeah, quite different for non-Ilonggos).
Relleno nga Amargoso
A twist to the classic sauteed ampalaya (bitter gourd) with pork. Amplaya is stuffed with ground pork and then served with bagoong (shrimp paste).
Ilonggos are known for their charming and sweet demeanor that also extends to their desserts and sweets.
Palitaw ( flat rice cake cooked in boiled water then rolled over crushed peanuts or black sesame seeds), Maja Blanca ( coconut pudding with corn kernels) and Suman sa Ibus ( steamed glutinous rice served over sweetened coconut strips).
These are just some of the answers for those asking what to eat in Iloilo. Where to eat in Iloilo? If you can’t have them in an Ilonggo household, these Ilonggo specialities can be enjoyed in restaurants like Bauhinia Filipino Cuisine, Iloilo’s top restaurant located in The Avenue, Smallville, Manduarriao.
Are you an Ilonggo/Ilongga? What other specialities should I include in my next list?