We are all familiar with the Ilocos empanada. But did you know that there are at least two versions within the Ilocos provinces? The twin provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur have differences in terms of creating the dish. Here is a preview of what you can expect.
Vigan Empanada vs Batac Empanada
The two most popular versions of Ilocos empanada are from Vigan and Batac. You can easily distinguish these two based on color. Batac empanada is orange while many people kid Vigan empanada as “anemic” because of its paler color.
For both, the shell is made of rice dough, but the orange shell in Batac is thicker. The shell is the most apparent difference between the two.
For the filling, the two are mostly the same. Both use papaya, monggo, egg, and longganisa as main ingredients. However, if you try many empanada stalls in Vigan, you will find out that cabbage is sometimes used as a substitute for papaya and monggo.
Interestingly, many flavors and versions of Vigan empanada have sprung over the past years. As for the taste, the empanada in Batac still remains faithful to its original taste, which is amplified with the use of sukang Iloko.
Where to find it
Located within the center of Batac City is Riverside Empanadahan, where you can visit the empanada competitors Glomy’s, and Glory’s.
In Vigan, there is a chain of empanadahan stalls beside Plaza Burgos. You can also try restos in the nearby cobblestone streets, such as CJ’s, Irene’s, and Nanang Sion.
Miki throughout the two provinces
Another must-try cuisine here is the Ilocos miki. In many stalls and restos, empanada is paired with miki. Just like the Batangas lomi, the Ilocos miki has also undergone modifications in the towns of Ilocos. The common and distinct feature among all is the atsuete coloring.
Batac miki is known for its thick, flat noodles. The noodles are cooked separately, and they are only added to the soup when the dish is served. Spring onions, crushed chicharon, fried garlic bits, and boiled egg make this version more appetizing.
Some local restos serve miki with kutsay as substitute for spring onions. Ilocos bagnet as a topping is also a common choice among locals. Some choose to add spices such as ground pepper, sukang Ilocos, and chili oil.
Another version uses round noodles that are cooked together with the soup. Some versions add beaten eggs to add to the texture of the soup.
The natives of the nearby Ilocano-speaking province of Abra have made their own version of miki, which seems to be similar with Ilocos miki.
Empanada and miki are just two of many Ilocano cuisines that have variations within the locality. On your next Ilocos trip, do not miss out on trying at least two versions.