It’s greatly apt that I dedicate a single post on the glorious food we had on our stay in Laoag. The entire time we were in Ilocos, we spent most of it eating and I’m not complaining.
On our first day in Ilocos, we arrived in Laoag a little past noon and the only thing we could think was where to eat in Laoag. We had a lot of choices, and I have to say that we made the right ones.
It’s crazy how we were keen on saving our money for our adventures the following day, but we immediately splurged it on food for our first meal. No regrets, though, since everything that touched my lips was food for the gods. I think I gained a few pounds after my three shorts days in the north
Our first stop was La Preciosa. Since we were staying in the center of Laoag, it’s just a tricycle ride away, but we could actually walk to it. (We stayed at UKG, by the way.) It’s a homey restaurant that’s been mentioned on so many blogs that it’ll be foolish not to try it, too. They have many affordable dishes on the menu, and we seriously didn’t know what to order first!
La Preciosa isn’t just a restaurant, but a part of it also serves as a cafe. We made sure that we wouldn’t get so full that we wouldn’t have any appetite for cakes! We were eyeing a very specific cake which I won’t reveal till later. Mehe.
I really like the interior of the place. It’s so bright, thanks to the glass doors letting every piece of sunlight enter the place. I definitely prefer well-lit dining areas over everything else. The tables were decorated so classy, too, I was actually expecting a far pricier menu. I had a hard time believing that a place that looks so nice offer affordable food.
The first thing we ordered was Puqui-puqui (puki-puki)! It’s spelled differently all the time that I no longer know how it’s supposed to be spelled or pronounced. Some places spell it poque-poque (poke-poke). It’s named so strangely, but I think it’s just apt for a food that tastes so good.Hahaha.A taste so unforgettable deserves a unique name! I’m not sure how it tastes in other diners, but La Preciosa’s Puqui-puqui is heaven! It’s one of the two unforgettable dishes I had in Ilocos. YOU MUST TRY IT. I can’t stress it enough.
Our trip wouldn’t be complete without Bagnet! Of course, we just had to order Bagnet with KBL. I like litsong kawali and pretty much any pork viand eaten with a dip or a sauce, but bagnet can be eaten without. The meat was so tender, but it was the skin that’s just glorious! The taste is nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s the crispiness that will leave its mark.
(I can’t be a food critic, I’m too biased and emotional when it comes to food.)
Dinardaraan is Ilocanos’ take on dinuguan, just a lot crispier though. So first things first, I’m a dinuguan lover. I am the number one fan of my father’s dinuguan, and I actually prefer eating it without rice. Dinardaraan is one of the best dinuguan I have ever tasted! I love it! It’s not the bestest, but I thoroughly enjoyed this dinuguan because of its crispiness. It’s so different.
Sufficed to say, it was a very filling lunch. I think I understood for the first time what food coma means. We had too much rice, too, since the serving was so many we unknowingly ordered for five. But we still had a few more things to try! After resting for a while (a long time actually), we had our dessert.
Eunise had her coffee, which I don’t think is any different from other coffee. Anyway.
I don’t eat carrots, but I’ll gladly eat this carrot cake anytime! It’s so good it’s almost sinful. I’m still baffled at how I managed to genuinely love a carrot cake. It’s the first time, okay. I have no words to describe how good this is, okay!!!!!! A slice is less than a hundred pesos so it’s worth it. SO WORTH IT. Do yourself a favor and get more than a slice.
We also ordered Sansrival because it’s my favorite. It’s also yummy, but nothing special. I still won’t say no to it though. Maybe that’s just the Sansrival-biased person in me talking, though.
Overall, we only spent around 300php per person, and we ordered for four even though there were only 3 of us. For all that goodness and yumminess, I say it’s totally worth it.
Dining at La Preciosa was the best way to start our little vacation. Also, I will definitely come back for that carrot cake and puqui-puqui.
For dinner, we tried the famed Johnny Moon. It’s a restaurant with a Juan Luna theme. The walls are covered with the (replicas, of course) paintings of the artist, and everything on the menu are named after him and his works. It’s a nice tribute to Juan Luna who was born in Ilocos. Apparently, it’s also owned by the Marcoses. Anyway, it’s very easy to spot because it’s in La Tabacalera, a lifestyle and dining center right next to the city hall! It’s also within walking distance from our hotel.
I really like the interior of the place, and my photos don’t do it justice. While we were eating, a TV crew arrived and started shooting! So yes, we’ll be on TV sometime soon. The cameraman said they’ll air it around August. So if you want a better look at Johnny Moon (or maybe you want to see us on TV heehee), watch out for that show. It’s on cable and titled Escape or something. All I know is that it’s hosted by Kat de Castro. Haha.
Since we were still full from our lunch at La Preciosa, we didn’t order much. Iris ordered this spaghetti but I can’t remember what it’s called. Iris said it’s okay, but Eunise didn’t like it. I ordered Inkalti, a banana fondue Ilocano style but with vanilla ice cream. It’s not photogenic, though, so there’s no photo. Hehe.
For drinks, I tried their Heneral Luna, a kind of coffee that has alcohol in it. Sufficed to say, I had trouble finishing my coffee. I said it on Instagram already, it’s the kind of coffee I do not like. Eunise ordered an ABC, I think. I can’t recall her feedback.
I’m pretty sure Johnny Moon has so much more to offer, and we didn’t even get to try most of their specialties. So please don’t just use our judgment as a basis whether you should try it or not. Besides, they let you try on a top hat and a fake mustache, so that’s definitely worth a visit.
On our second night in Laoag, we tried Saramsam. It was actually on top of my list of dinging places to try, but it was pushed back for the second day. However, I think it was perfect for our last night in Laoag. It’s very accessible, too, and just a few blocks away from the center of Laoag. We actually just walked there from our hotel. However, according to this blog it moved to another location?
It has a very vintage feel to it, and apparently the decorations are actually part of the owner’s antique collection. Just like in La Preciosa, the place looks so classy that I was surprised at how affordable their food selection was.
I really like all the pieces included in the interior. Most of it are mismatched but in a good way. And based on the photos I saw online, the new Saramsam has a wider space and definitely brighter. I can’t wait to go back.
Since we planned to move to another diner for dessert, we didn’t order much. But I regret it now.
We tried their Pinakbet Pizza and it was sooooooo good I almost cried. I was actually hesitant to order pinakbet pizza because I don’t eat pinakbet. But it was so good, okay. You can put chili oil and bagoong in it, but I ended up pouring way too chili oil. Good thing I like anything spicy because it was really spicy. Heh. Next time I visit Saramsam, I’ll try the Puqui-puqui Pizza. And hopefully, I’d get to try this again.
Our other order was Saramsam pasta and it’s AMAZING. It’s tied with Puqui-puqui on my favorite dish during our Ilocos food trip. Heh. Three of us shared this pasta and you are correct, it can actually be finished by one person. It’s a big serving, but it’s such a good dish that you can finish it by yourself. It’s the first time that I tried a pasta with mango in it. And you know what, I’m not even a pasta person. My friends can attest to that. But I love it still and I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to pasta.
It was really my number one regret that we didn’t order more. Saramsam specializes on fusion food but I’m not sure if I’m even using that term correctly. But if ever you’re in Laoag, it’s a must try especially their pasta.
I’m glad that the entire time we’re in Laoag, we only ate local cuisine. I think it’s my favorite part of our Ilocos trip!
I really, really am adventurous when it comes to food. I can’t go to a place and and not try what they usually eat there. However, it’s also a shame that I didn’t get to try their empanada and longganisa! Well, I don’t eat longganisa, but I regret not trying the empanada. I’ll sure there’ll be a next time.