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How to Go Sweet in Ilocos?
(Jovy Avisado-Estepa/ Jun 5, 2020)
Is your sweet tooth tingling just by thinking about traveling to Ilocos? Let us help you plan your dessert menu with these top picks from up North:
Tupig
Tupig is an all-time favorite rice cake snack of Ilocanos wrapped in banana leaves. If most Filipinos associate Christmas with puto bumbong (purple rice cake), Ilocanos mark the season with the aroma of fresh tupig. Made from ground glutinous rice with buko strips, coconut milk, sugar and sesame seeds, tupig is cooked over live charcoal grill. Don’t be deceived by its unappetizing burnt banana leaf wrapping – you’ll surely fall in love with the taste of this quaint delicacy!

Where to Get It: Visit Irene’s Native Delicacies in Currimao, Ilocos to enjoy freshly cooked tupig
Tinubong
Tinubong is considered as the more traditional version of tupig. But instead of banana leaves, tinubong is cooked in bamboo tubes making it moister, stickier and sweeter than tupig. Tinubong sellers flocked the streets and famous tourist sites in Ilocos – making this delicacy one of the most common ‘pasalubongs’ from the region.
Patupat
These mini baskets or pouches made from woven buri leaves contain a sweet local snack made from sticky rice and cooked in sugarcane juice called patupat. Patupat is highly popular during summer when sugarcane is harvested. As using woven buri leaves as patupat wrappings is quite tedious to prepare, other parts of Ilocos use banana or coconut leaves as an alternative.

Where to Get It: Visit any local market in Ilocos to look for the patupat pouches
Dudol
Dudol is not just a local Ilocano dessert but also a perfect symbol of the Ilocos food heritage. It is said that this indigenous treat have come through the Malay and Indian settlements on the coastal towns of Ilocos region before the arrival of the Spaniards. Made from rice flour, coconut milk, sugarcane juice and anise, dudol is a perfect snack to fill your hungry tummy after exploring the streets of Ilocos.

Where to Get It: Visit any local market in Ilocos to get a taste of this delicacy
Royal Bibingka
Every day is Christmas in Ilocos as you can enjoy a great bite of royal bibingka when you are in Vigan! As the traditional Philippine bibingka is only served during Christmas season, royal bibingka is a famous take-home delicacy of both local and foreign tourists. Vigan’s version of bibingka are the size and shape of cupcakes and are sweet, thick, with a melted cheese topping. This delicious dessert is best enjoyed with a hot ‘salabat’ (ginger tea).

Where to Get It: Check out these delicacy stores in Vigan – Marsha’s Delicacies, Ammianance and Tongson
Balikutsa or Balicucha
Balikutsa is a very sweet candy-like delicacy that is uniquely Ilokano. It is made from sugarcane molasses stretched and curled into its shape. This melt-in-your-mouth treat is widely used by Ilocanos as an alternative of sugar in their coffees. Visit a cafe in Vigan and try to drop a balicucha in your hot cup of coffee to enjoy a beautiful toasty caramel flavor at every sip!

Where to Get It: As it is a staple sweetener, every stores and hotels in Vigan has it!
Inartem a Carmay (Pickled Gooseberry)
Ilocanos love their fruits pickled and the most popular one is the pickled gooseberry or ‘inartem a carmay’. From afar, it looks like an ordinary sago drink found everywhere in the country. Inartem a carmay is not just an ordinary pickled fruit. The gooseberry is drenched in a special vinegar called ‘sukang Iloko’ that is very popular in the region. The sweet and sour taste of this unique treat is a great tease to your sweet tooth!

Where to Get It: Explore the local market in Ilocos to hunt for some inartem

These delicious Ilocano delicacies will no doubt satisfy your dessert cravings. Which one will you have a taste first? Share us your sweet thoughts!
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Tags:   foods to eat in Ilocos   Ilocos   
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