Thursday, August 11, 2016

Top 15 unique dishes from Region IV Philippines (that I've decided and have pictures of)

Most of these dishes aren't exactly unique in our region but I'm sure the way it's cooked is, which can be said for every dish out there. In any case, I present to you the top 15 local cuisines you shouldn't miss out if you happen to visit Region IV or around Nagcarlan, Laguna.

1. Menudong Gulay (Vegetable Menudo) - starting off with this dish because I've never been to any place in the Philippines other than than our home town Nagcarlan that serves this, it's made of various vegetables and tripe cooked in a peanut based sauce.

2. Pinaniki (Offal in Coconut milk) - there are various version of Bopis around the archipelago of the Philippines and this is the version we have in Nagcarlan. It's made out of various offal like heart and lungs and cooked in coconut milk and green chili and a town favorite to pair with alcoholic beverages. 

3. Adobo sa Gatang Kalabaw (Water Buffalo stew in Coconut milk and vinegar) - really trying hard to translate the name to be understood by English speakers and somehow doing so makes it less appetizing, but, not minding the translation, this dish is really, really good. The buffalo is cooked for at least 5 hours using coal making it tender and gives that smokey taste in every bite.

 4. Batchoy (Pork Intestines Soup) - this particular version of this dish is made without noodles and is meant as a viand. It's a soup dish made out of intestines not just offal mixed with chili leaves and chayote. A must have on rainy days which in Nagcarlan is every other day.

 5. Kalinawan (Sour Pork Intestine Soup) - like the 1st on the list, I've never seen any provinces that servers a similar dish, it might simply be a derivative of Kilawin another Filipino dish and just got lost in translation. It's not pungent in anyway though you know what goes there and the banana flower adds a unique flavor profile to this exotic dish, really juicy and best eaten with steaming rice.

6. Ukoy na Biya (Poisonous Goby fish patty) - while doing research on what's the translation of the fish called Biya, I just found out that it's a poisonous fish called goby that doesn't have any antidote for. So, yeah definitely a part of this list for being a hardcore dish that everyone eats from my hometown.

7. Ginataang Langka (Jackfruit Coconut Milk Stew) - it might look like tuna flakes at first sight but it's actually a dish made out of fruit, it's an unripened jackfruit cooked in coconut milk with lots of garlic, more of a side dish than a main one.

8. Kilawin (Pork Liver Sour Stew) - this is a very unique take on kilawin because while most are cooked with the acidity of the vinegar, this is prepared with liver sauce, radish, more pork liver, and roasted pork making it a cross between kilawin and paksiw. It's a special made to order dish so don't expect to see it on normal food stalls.

 9. Dinuguang Baboy (Pork Blood Stew) - a controversial dish depending on your belief but this one is something I definitely recommend to try at least once. If you are willing to, make sure to get one in Nagcarlan because the blood used  in cooking is still warm since it's from the the fresh meat market that butchers live pigs every day. Green chili and mustard leaves are mixed in to balance the flavor.

10. Lenchong Kawali (Crispy Pan Fried Pork Cutlets)- as mentioned on the image above, pork meat are freshly sold every day because frozen meat is not a thing in our province since it's cheaper to transport a pig than to have it frozen in freezers. These are boiled first then air dried and afterwards fried in high heat to make the skin crispy and the meat juicy.

 10. Lugaw Pata (Pork Hock Porridge) with Bonete (Pan Bread) - this is a combination you shouldn't miss, it's carbs on carbs action, the buttery pan bread perfectly matches the porridge with every bite you take and a spoon of pork in between to refresh the pallet to get you going for more. It sounds weird, but it works.

 12. Bulanglang na Kabute (Wild Mushroom Soup) - this is available in Nagcarlan as well but this one in particular was taken in Lipa, Batangas. I included the raw mushroom image because it looks like one of those poisonous things you see in TV but in reality it's really tasty. The mushroom and other vegetables are boiled with salt and pepper to taste and that's it, it's ready to eat.

13. Sinawsaw (Sweet Sticky Rice) - I'm speculating that the origin of this dish is due to lazy workers who didn't bother packing another version of this called Suman. It's sticky rice boiled in coconut milk topped with coconut jam. Sounds bland but it's really tasty.

 14. Halo-Halo (Shaved Ice with Preserved Fruits) - this one you have to look for, it's found in Pagsanjan, Laguna specifically at the restaurant of Aling Taleng's. You can tell the quality of this dessert having it named after the restaurant. It's all sorts of locally preserved fruits in syrup, under a shaved ice with milk, topped by a chunk of sweetened Tubo (Coconut Cotyledon) which is a very unique ingredient of this dessert, since most top theirs with flan.

 15. Sponge Bread (Square Pants) - this is more of a personal preference, this is simply a locally made sponge cake in the bakeries situated in our town, you have chocolate, caramel, and taro flavored once and you can't go wrong buying a dozen of these at a time.

So there you have it, these are the top 15 dishes that can be found mostly in Nagcarlan and other areas of Region IV in the Philippines. The list is a personal preference and I would've placed other dishes if only I had taken pictures of them. Well for sure next time I come home, I'll add more to my library and make another list for everyone to use as a guide if you ever visit our region.


  1. Pre kalinawan yun intestine.. wag mo na publish comment ko hehe

    1. Hahaha kaya dapat talaga may taga proof read. Updated

  2. This blog is so nice dami ko tuloy nalamang kakaibang dishes Thank You more power!