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Food Tales

Vigan’s Street Food on Full Display at Plaza Burgos



Calle Crisologo was crowded. If we’re talking about vehicles, I’d describe it as bumper-to-bumper traffic. 

We spent a good half hour walking around, taking photos and trying to find a restaurant with a vacant table. We finally found one (Tummy I-can’t-remember-the-rest-of-its-name), sat down and ordered.

Bagnet (deep fried pork belly, Ilocan version), egg and rice
Bagnet (deep fried pork belly, Ilocan version), egg and rice

The girls both ordered bagsilog, short for bagnetsinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg). Bagnet is boiled and deep fried pork belly, an icon of Ilocano cuisine, similar but not exactly the same as lechon kawali.

Adobado, a sweetish version of adobo with bagnet
Adobado, a sweetish version of adobo with bagnet

Speedy and I shared an order of adobado which turned out to be much like lechon macau but with bagnet instead of lechon kawali.

The dinner was okay but unspectacular; quite filling though so that we really couldn’t indulge in the array of street food sold by hawkers at Plaza Burgos.

Grilled pork and chicken at Plaza Burgos, Vigan
Grilled pork and chicken

The grilled pork and chicken looked enticing but much too heavy after our rice and pork dinner.

Steamed fresh corn. Plaza Burgos, Vigan.
Steamed fresh corn

And there was steamed corn that would have made the perfect partner for grilled pork or chicken.

Skewered and grilled Vigan longganisa at Plaza Burgos
Skewered and grilled Vigan longganisa

I was especially smitten with the grilled Vigan longganisa which, on another day when I didn’t feel too full, I would have tried without hesitation. But, you know, I only have one stomach and it was already full. Next time, perhaps.

There was Vigan empanada with its light-colored crust which distinguishes it from the orange-y (annatto tinted) empanada of Batac in the neighboring province of Ilocos Norte. 

Vigan empanada at Plaza Burgos
Vigan empanada

And there wasn’t just one empanada vendor at Plaza Burgos. It was the most popular food sold there.

Vigan empanada was everywhere. Plaza Burgos, Vigan
Vigan empanada was everywhere

I took photos of three stalls selling Vigan empanada but there were more.

Vigan emapanada was the star at Plaza Burgos
Vigan emapanada was the star at Plaza Burgos

I was full but I couldn’t, in conscience, not try Vigan empanada while in Vigan. We bought one which Speedy and I shared, and I loved the super thin and flaky crust, and the filling of vegetables, garlicky longganisa (sausage) and whole egg.

Rice cakes. Plaza Burgos, Vigan
Rice cakes

There were rice cakes that would have made a lovely meal-ender but, after the empanada, it was impossible.

Apart from the more traditional fare, there were the “modern” ones that, I was sure, was geared toward the younger set. And these were the food that said, “Vigan may be old, but it is also young.”

Squid cooked in various ways. Plaza Burgos, Vigan.
Squid cooked in various ways

That youthfulness was evident in the humor of modern culture and today’s generation. For instance, a stall selling squid prepared in many different ways was called Push It Baby, a play on pusit, the Filipino name for squid.

Ice cold drinks. Plaza Burgos, Vigan.
Ice cold drinks

Then, there was a drinks stall called Juice Ko Day! (literally, my juice, girl!), a play on Dios ko, ‘Day!, a common expression that translates to My God, girl! (‘Day being a contraction of Inday, a feminine name that’s often used in a generic sense — just like Jane).

Plaza Burgos was a never ending parade of aromas and colors, and I loved it.