Iloilo Food Adventures

spreading the love for the heritage food and culture of Iloilo, Philippines


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Hooray! Iloilo Food Adventures is born


(c) Ms. Karen Dinglasan

Hello everybody!

I guess my title says it all.  With very, very little wordpress knowledge, i forged on to make this site.  ILOILO FOOD ADVENTURES (IFA) is my blog focused on the heritage food and culture of Iloilo, Philippines.  In addition, IFA is the venue where serious foodies from outside our country can check out exciting and well-crafted food and culture experiences. Continue reading “Hooray! Iloilo Food Adventures is born”

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imageHalo-Halo party, perfect for the very hot Iloilo summer…




Cuisina Ilongga’s skinless longganisa and not so perfect French omelette


Months ago, I clicked Anthony Bourdain’s show featuring famous chefs sharing tips on cooking popular dishes. First in line was a French chef (forgot his name) showing how to cook a perfect omelette. His tips:
1. Crack the egg on the table, not the edge of a bowl.
2. Whisk it hard with a fork.
3. Add a little salt and pepper.
4. For this one, he added sliced green onions.
5. Glaze the skillet with butter.
6. Pour in the beaten egg.
7. Let sit for edges to crisp just a little, Then push opposite ends to the center. The quarters. “Liquidy” sections will flow onto the pan and cook as well. (Hay! Difficult to describe when brain is dry) Don’t wait too long, fold in half. Transfer to plate.

“Mm, why don’t it try this out?” Out came the egg, butter, salt and pepper of course, and freshly harvested sibuyas lagba from my urban garden.

Presenting the result. Mm, I think 10 seconds over cooked. Will do better next time.

Perhaps you have better success at cooking omelettes.

We Ilonggos cook it differently though, calling it scrambled. We are more familiar with the dry, flattened, brownish and sometimes chewy scrambled eggs that go solo or sometimes with our tocino, chorizo, dried fish. Having too soft, light and even mushy eggs may not be most Ilonggos’ idea of a perfect eggy breakfast.

Tinuom recipe

In the past, tinu-om was only cooked at home.  But more than 30 years ago, one small town eatery (carinderia) popularized this dish and made it available to the public–Leah’s Tinuom in Cabatuan, Iloilo.   Owned by Manang Sabel, it’s called Leah’s after one of her six daughters, all sent to college by this humble Ilonggo dish.

At present, tinuom is associated with native chicken slices sealed inside a banana pouch then steamed or even boiled to bring out the rich flavor.  Tinuom, however, is not just chicken.  It can be mushrooms, fish, and many others.

Below is the recipe shared by Manang Sabel herself from the interview done by two of my former students–Severo Caspe, Jr. and Christine Celeste Zaulda some years ago.  This is their report:




*Bombay/Sibuyas (Onion)

*Kamatis (Tomato)

*Tanglad (Lemon Grass)

*Vetsin/MSG-monosodium glutamate

*joy’s note: traditional tinuom did not use vetsin at all.  I prefer mine done the old way 🙂

*Asin (Salt)

*Tubig (water)

*Native Chicken – must be 7-14 months old.

*Banana Leaves

*Bamboo string or any string for tying up the tinu-om parcel

*2 bowls for preparation

After enumerating the ingredients, she then told us how to do the Tinu-om nga manok. There are 5 easy steps:

  1.  In one bowl, place the chicken and season it with onion, tomato, vetsin and the salt and then add some water. The 7-14 month old chickens will have to boil for about 30 minutes for it to be ready for serving. Older chickens will take almost an hour. The picture on the side shows lola Sabel cutting up the chicken parts. One order of tinu-om would have 3-4 pieces.

lola sabel

      2.  In another bowl prepare the banana leaves to be used for the wrap. Lola Sabel advices that one use Saba banana leaves rather than other kinds of banana leaf. It affects the flavor, aroma and outcome of the Tinu-om.

banana leaves

3.   Eventually, pour the marinated chicken into the bowl lined with banana leaf, gather the edges, bring to the center and tie it with a bamboo string or any piece of string. Make sure that it won’t leak.

mixed ingredients

tying it up


4.   After tying it up, place it in a casserole full of water and then place it on fire. You may steam it but Lola Sabel strongly suggests that you place it within the water casserole for a better result when it comes to taste. Then wait.

tinu-om na manok


Just as Lola Sabel said, the recipe doesn’t have anything. It is not a secret. There is no secret ingredient. “Sa pagtimpla lang guid na ya, amuna siguro indi nila kami magaya sa pagluto sang Tinu-om.” (It’s in the right combination and proportion of the ingredients.  Maybe that’s why they can’t cook Tinu-om the way we do.)

Crispy shrimps in sweet & spicy sauce

I just love shrimps.  This recipe is an offshoot of Papa On’s shrimps in chili sauce version from my childhood.

For this, I decided to deep fry the shrimps instead of stir frying it.

here is the recipe:

Just season the shrimps with salt and pepper. Coat with flour and deep fry. For the sauce, sauté garlic and onions, then add a combi soy sauce, catsup and water mix. Add finger chilies, whole or sliced. Once thickened, pour over the crispy shrimps.

Victoria Moncal, tsokolate maker in Miagao



Meet Nanay Victoria Moncal, tsokolate maker of Barangay Tabunakan, Miagao, Iloilo.

At 71, Nanay Vic continues to make tsokolate, truly a labor of love. In her spartan kitchen, she slowly roasts these Miagao cacao beans over firewood after which she peels the outer skin of these cacao nibs one by one. As if this tedious job is not enough, she must separate the hull from the seeds using a kararaw. Tahup we say.

Then Nanay Vic must have these cacao beans ground. Thank God, there is an electric grinder in her barangay. She then mixes the cocoa paste with muscovado sugar which she first turns extra fine on her metate, a heavy stone slab and pestle.

Now, it’s ready for molding using her metal sulputan to make those organic cocoa tablets that can be eaten raw as an energy booster or cooked in a little water to create that heavenly chocolate drink far more superior than any Milo, Goya, Swiss Miss or Hershey drink in a pack.

All this hard work for 35.00 per roll.

Let us support local food purveyors like Nanay Vic.imageimageimageimage

Recipe: Utan nga Tambo (Bamboo shoots in coconut milk)

This is a classic dish in Western Visayas, Philippines with bamboo shoots and coconut milk as the core ingredients, then enhanced with subak (the ingredient that gives added flavor, always from the sea–shrimp paste, dried shrimps, fresh shrimps, and crabs for the ultimate subak).  Additional vegetables like okra, squash, takway (taro runners), and saluyut, depending on availability. Continue reading “Recipe: Utan nga Tambo (Bamboo shoots in coconut milk)”

Pechay/Bok Choy Two Ways (with recipe) – for the working mom


Good evening.  This was our dinner some two hours ago– pechay and shrimps in oyster sauce.

And this one, inspired by a dish at Miagao’s Sulo restaurant (lovely landscaping)


Blanched pechay with garlic sautéed in olive oil Continue reading “Pechay/Bok Choy Two Ways (with recipe) – for the working mom”

Samplers of Aklanon/Akeanon food hint at healthy

Aklan dishes

Hi friends.  Above is a bowl of tambo nga may gata (bamboo shoots in coconut milk) and monggo soup (mung bean) from a market carinderia (eatery) in Banga, Aklan.

Aklan, being one of the four provinces in the island of Panay, shares affinity with its sister provinces — Iloilo, Capiz and Antique.  Their heritage food is a product of the land, a land naturally growing with bamboo and coconuts, a land suited to monggo, squash, okra, string beans and more.

Moreover, these four provinces in Panay each have a section of its land facing the coast.  Thus, they are all blessed with an abundance of seafood–big fish, small fish,  crustaceans and  shellfish, deep-sea, riverine and brackish — it’s all here in Panay.

Thus, the traditional food repertoire of Panay is nothing but healthy.

Take the case of tambo nga may gata ,  paleo food at its best.  The coconut is a wonder fruit.  You can google its benefits and be amazed at what they can do for optimized health.  For one, it’s good for brain function.  It also protects the heart from the the dreaded heart disease. Three, it’s a good slimming food (I should remember that!) and many more other benefits.  Bamboo shoots, on the other hand, is also another superfood, high in fiber but low on calories.  If its good for the panda, its good for us too. 🙂

Monggo is another classic Panayanon dish.  Have monggo and whip up a meal to feed ten or more.  Monggo is the base ingredient, boiled till soft.  To it are added vegetables from the garden or pantry, whatever is on hand, and the sea always accenting this dish–from the most humble guinamos or shrimp paste to the ultimate crabs as the subak or flavoring.


A staple souring ingredient in Philippine cooking.  In Iloilo, it is used in marinades and as accent flavor for grilled meats and fish, as dip or sawsawan, and as a refreshing lemony juice drink.

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