Bagnet - The Crunchy Delicacy from Ilocos Region
When we said delicacy, it should be unique, distinct and being copied; however, nothing can replace. Before a food be considered in this category, it must first carry the name of a specific province or region with larger percentage of the locals can easily identify it. Tourists – foreign and even locals – are given with some feedback that this food should be tasted when visiting the place.
It’s doubtless that one of the most copied delicacy in the Ilocos Region is the bagnet. There are so many people claiming that what they are selling are those coming from Ilocos. But, being a fan of the crispy tummy filler, I can distinguish the copy cat from the original. To be honest, there are times that the disappointment pisses me off.
Fortunately, my brother asked me if he could barrow my camera for five days. He and his girlfriend will celebrate their anniversary in Ilocos. Being the very kind brother (yuhoo!) that I am, I allowed him. But, being a food blogger, I asked him to take some delicacies home. I specifically mentioned bagnet.
Easily identified as crispy pork belly, bagnet is found all throughout the Ilocos Region. You can buy this in tourist shops, markets and even the side walks.
According to my brother he bought it for P450 a kilo (he bought two kilos). Since the pork will become lighter when cooked, I can say, bagnet’s price is just ok. Not too cheap and not too expensive.
An Ilocano (Ilocos native) friend of mine said that the pork belly should first be soaked in a special fermented mixture. It will be then dried under the sun. To reach the fantastic crunchiness the process of boiling and deep frying are repeated multiple times.
Since the bagnet that my brother took for us is already hours old, we still have to re-fry it to get the offered crispiness. But, it will only take you a few minutes. What’s greater is that the meat part will never become hard or gummy.
The crunchy fat and skin part of the treat is refined and compact. It won’t torn off a skin on your palate unlike when eating ordinary chicharon. It’s awesome.
I prefer eating bagnet with rice and ketchup.
I’m not into arguing, but I think people who say bagnet is just an ordinary lechong kawali or crispy bacon haven’t able to taste it. I don’t have against lechong kawali or bacon, they are still king. But, the three are quite different.
Bagnet is truly a very good pasalubong for your loved when getting home from Ilocos.