Seeded with a plethora of historical and landmarks, the Vigan City in Ilocos Sur can be the country’s historical epitome. In fact, it was recognized by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites and a later, a member of the New7Wonders Cities.
However, aside from the breath-taking scenes, the place is also known for its wonderful cuisines.
A not-so-healthy but extremely delicious treat is the Bagnet. It’s worthy as “pasalubong” for our loved ones when we just visited Vigan.
Allow me to say that among the known products of Vigan, Bagnet, is the best-seller. Businesses that make them used to cook more than 20 kilos of pork belly every day. Their produce will go up in peak seasons such as Summer and Christmas.
Now, bagnet is crawling its way in the international scenes. Vigan is now exporting the treat. I recall an Italian friend of mine once asked me to buy him “crispy pork belly from Ilocos.”
These crispy but not-hard-to-chew treats resemble lechong kawali, which is a deep-fried pork belly. However, the Ilocanos have this traditional way of cooking it, featuring the long and meticulous processes that have been handed from generation to generation.
How to make bagnet?
The traditional way is carefully separating the belly part and slicing it into desired pieces. Then, they will be sun-dried for a few hours. After, they will be boiled in water, oil, spices, and salt for a few hours until they are tender. Then, they will be pat dried and deep fried.
Some of the makers will dunk the pork bellies into the boiling water and then, into the oil and will repeat the process several times until they reach the melt-in-your-mouth consistency.
Some, on the other hand, won’t put salt and spices in the oil and water combo because they believe that it will prolong the quality of the oil for better results.
There are some stores that offer side dishes and bagnet sauce to allure customers.
There is also bagnet recipe Vigan to prove its flexibility, including Kare-Kare bagnet, Pakbet bagnet and many more.
However bagnet is made, this is always a delicious representation of the region’s sumptuous culinary arts. Some of the biggest sellers of the treat started the business since the 1950s and until now, they are still using traditional pan above a traditional stove using a firewood.
People can try bagnet restaurants if they intend to feel the taste of Vigan. However, the best treats are those made by Ilocos locals.