You don’t go to a tourist destination to dine at Mc Donald’s or Jollibee or Chowking? I’m a bit confused with the idea of tourists coming to a distant-from-home destination just to look for fastfood joints. When you go to a certain place - a province or a town or a city - you’ve got to hunt for local delicacies famous about the place. It’s one of those travelers’ must-try if not must-indulge. In some cases, locals would tell you that you’ve never been to their place if you haven’t tasted their most legendary cuisine.
In Laoag’s case, I came looking for the famed empanada and bagnet, as I’m a sucker for street food and cheap eats, I dashed in looking for the Dap-ayan Ti Ilocos.
Dap-ayan is an open-air food court located along J.P. Rizal, beside the Ilocos Museum and capitol building. It’s a huge shaded basketball court size stretch with several food stalls lining the sides, selling the regions specialty dishes.
The drill is – approach any of the food stalls, order anything on display and take a sit at any of those red tables and chairs spread all around the court, and wait for your food to be served. You can order combinations of dishes from different stalls if you like.
|Bagnet - Ilocos take on Lechon Kawali.|
Dap-ayan is a good introduction to the city’s gastronomy before heading to those big and popular (and expensive too) dining dives in Laoag. Food here is tasty, lots of choices and most of all – cheap.
|The basketball court sized Dap-ayan.|
What to order: Try those orange-colored Empanada filled with shredded vegetables, white cheese and Ilocos longganisa, the “special” one at P35, big enough for a full meal or try the Ilocos bagnet – similar with Manila’s “lechon kawali” (pan-roasted pork dish), the sauce made the difference – lechon usually goes with “mang tomas” sauce, the Bagnet goes with “bagoong isda” sauce (condiment made of fermented fish) garnished with fresh chopped tomatoes and spring onion. Yum!
Insider Tip: Go to Dap-ayan before or after lunch time when there aren’t a lot of people cramming the place.
Serves: Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Price: P25 - 150
J.P. Rizal cor. V. Llanes, Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
Google map location (click) : Dap-ayan Ti Ilocos