Best Pangasinan food feature
Food and Drink,  Philippines

From Bangus to Bagoong: 11 Best Pangasinan Food You Should Try

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Are you planning a road trip to Pangasinan? Aside from its beautiful beaches, waterfalls, heritage sites, and that relaxing probinsiya feel, another reason to visit this province is the food. Here you can enjoy comfort dishes and fresh seafood, provided by the local fishing communities. If you’re wondering what to eat in Pangasinan, we’ve got you! In this article, we’ll go through the best Pangasinan food that you should try.

Pangasinan’s cuisine is marked with the use of animal innards in soups (usually from cows or goats) and bagoong in vegetables. Desserts are typically made using rice, sugar, and coconut. (My mother’s hometown is Pangasinan, and I have childhood memories of visiting Manaoag Church and then exploring the many shopping stalls outside, usually to check necklaces and various types of sweets.)

Without further ado, here are the best foods to try when visiting Pangasinan.

1. Bangus

Grilled bangus
Grilled bangus.

Pangasinan is famous for its bangus (milkfish). In fact, Dagupan City is known as the “Bangus Capital of the Philippines,” and every year, the city holds an annual Bangus Festival every summer in celebration of the abundant production of bangus. “Kalutan ed adlan” is the highlight of the festival, wherein numerous bangus are grilled on the streets.

So what makes Dagupan Bangus different from the usual bangus you can get in the local markets? Bangus typically lives in freshwater, but the bangus in Dagupan are bred at saltwater in the Lingayen Gulf. As such, the fish has a lesser fish stench and tastes saltier, making it great for grilling, frying, and as addition to other dishes.

You can find various bangus dishes, including grilled bangus, bangus sisig, sinigang na bangus (milk fish in sour soup), and bangus relleno (stuffed milkfish).

2. Pigar-Pigar

Ask Pangasinan residents what are the best Pangasinan dishes to try and you’ll likely get pigar-pigar as a common answer. Pigar-pigar is stir-fried meat (cow or carabao meat) with cabbage and onions. It originated in Alaminos but nowadays you can find it sold in restaurants all over the province.

3. Kaleskes

Kaleskes is a delicacy of Dagupan City, and it is similar to papaitan. It is a soup made up of beef, pork, or carabao meat and innards, cooked with various spices. It’s often served with pigar-pigar as as part of pulutan (beer food).

4. Pakbet

Tagalog and Ilokanos refer to this vegetable dish as “pinakbet,” but Pangasinan locals simply refer to it as “pakbet.” It consists of various vegetables such as eggplant, bittermelon, okra, string beans, and squash, cooked with bagoong isda (fish paste). Pork, beef, or bangus may be added.

5. Alaminos Longganisa

A lot of province has their own version of longganisa, and if you’re a fan of this breakfast staple, then you should also try Alaminos Longganisa.

Alaminos Longganis isn’t your usual sweet sausage – it is garlicky, salty, and meaty. Meaty pork is seasoned with lots of pepper and garlic, colored red with azuete, and then stuffed inside pork intestines. It originated in Alaminos City but is now find at common markets across the province.

Don’t miss this favorite Pangasinan food as breakfast before you embark on island hopping and other tours in Pangasinan.

6. Mangaldan Tapa

Tapa is a popular breakfast staple in the Philippines. In Pangasinan, the town of Mangaldan is famous for their own version of tapa (locally known as “pindang”). Instead of cow meat, carabao meat is used since it is more tender and tastier.

The town also holds an annual Pindang Festival in celebration of its tasty tapa. The local government ensures that only nonbreedable carabaos are used to make tapa to conserve the population of this animal.

7. Tupig

Tupig is one of the most famous foods in Pangasinan. You can find it in other provinces as well, but it originated in Pangasinan. It is a sweet rice cake wrapped in banana leaves and grilled. It is made from glutinous rice, coconut strips, and sugar, resulting in a delightful treat with a chewy, sweet interior and a slightly crispy outside.

When you’re in Pangasinan, you can easily find tupig in pasalubong centers and vendors along the street. It makes for a wonderful pasalubong to family or friends back home.

8. Puto Calasiao

If you’re a fan of kakanin, one of the best Pangasinan foods that you shouldn’t miss is puto calasiao.

Puto calasiao is a type of small steamed rice cake made from glutinous rice. It originated from the town of Calasiao in Pangasinan, hence the name. You can buy it plain or you can try other new flavors such as pandan, strawberry, and ube. It is typically paired with a sweet dipping sauce.

9. Pakasyat

Pakasyat is a Pangasinan delicacy, eaten as a candy or used as a sweetener similar to muscavado sugar. It is made from the juice of the bud of the silag or buri palm tree, which is then sweetened and solidified as raw sugar tablets. Pakasyat is often used for hot tsokolate in this province.

10. Pangasinan Mangoes

Aside from Guimaras, did you know that Pangasinan is also a major producer of sweet mangoes? The mangoes are grown in the towns of Calasiao, Malasiqui, and San Carlos and are sold in local markets across the province during harvest season.

11. Bagoong Isda

If you’re thinking of a food to bring home, then get a bottle of bagoong isda (fish paste). Bagoong isda is a condiment made up of fermented fish. It is used as an ingredient in various recipes and is often served with isda. Another way to use it as dipping sauce – slice some tomatoes and onions and serve it with rice and tinapa.

Each town in Pangasinan has their own specialty. When visiting Pangasinan, make sure to try these suggested Pangasinan dishes and delicacies to experience the unique flavors of the region’s cuisines.

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