Bagnet is a famous delicacy in Ilocos, specifically Vigan. This sinfully delicious food is one of the favorite items that tourist buy when visiting Vigan. Some say Lechon Kawali and Bagnet are just the same, but I disagree. There’s a subtle difference to the taste and the level of crispiness of Bagnet and Lechon Kawali. Well, logically, if the two items are just the same, then why is Bagnet in-demand, especially to local tourists? Maybe the secret of Ilocanos is the ingredients added while boiling the meat and long process of making Bagnet. Some say that Bagnet has a strong garlic flavor than the Lechon Kawali.
Originally, the Bagnet is served as ulam or main dish. Ilocanos would prepare a condiment they called KBL, it means kamatis (or tomato), bagoong (or fish paste), and lasuna (or onions). Ilocanos also used this delicacy as an ingredient to add taste to their Pinakbet and Balatong or Ginisang Monggo in Tagalog. Since then, people have used Bagnet in other famous Filipino dishes like Bagnet Kare-Kare, Sinigang na Bagnet, Bagnet Sisig and etc.
Considering Bagnet became more famous and marketable, there are many restaurants in Metro Manila that serve Bagnet as their main ingredients. Some of these restaurants are Bagnet 8065, Stoops, and BagSik.
The Lengua of Mangan restaurant was cooked perfectly. It is tender and soft to bite. The lengua still has a very distinct beef flavor. The creamy mushroom sauce did not overwhelm the taste of lengua, but it enhances more of the beefy flavor. The onions were cooked perfectly to add sweetness to the dish.
The Grilled Bacon Belly Thai style is a delicious appetizer of Jatujak. The bacon belly is well grilled, it is moist and juicy, and it is soft to the bite. The taste of the belly bacon is salty with a very strong flavor of their secret marinade.
The innovative Crunchy Salmon Maki is very fun to eat. One big bite of this piece gives a playful experience to your mouth. The softness of the rice rolls, the crunchiness of the tempura flakes and croutons, and the smooth dressing oozing out for every bite adds kick to your mouth because of the spicy dressing.
The Parsley Pesto rice is well seasoned. At first, I was afraid that I may not like the taste of a green colored rice. But when I tried it solo, it has a very interesting taste. It has a fascinating taste than any ordinary rice. The parsley pesto adds an interesting flavor, but not too strong that may overwhelm the other ingredient in the dish.
The Angus beef tapa is very tasty. It has a strong flavor of garlic and it is sweet. The tapa is soft to bite.
Typically, garnishes were just a decoration to add color to the dish. But the sliced radish and cubed watermelon helped refresh your taste bud and it lightens the strong flavor of tapa.
Other than the garnishes the egg also boosts a new taste with the tapa and pesto rice.
All in all, the dish was well planned and all items in the dish compliments each other that made this item perfect!
Of course, a breakfast is never complete without a coffee. I tried the Dean and Deluca’s Creme Brulee iced coffee. This coffee is sweet, creamy but does not overwhelm the strong flavor of the coffee.
Sisig ni Mely is a very savory appetizer. The amount of onion sautéed with the sisig is just enough, not like any other sisig that I’ve tried. This dish is well seasoned and very flavorful. Other than the seasonings and spices that made this dish delicious, the Mangan added another ingredient to add crunch to a more exciting dish to eat.
This is more fun to eat if you have Mangan’s delicious refresher, Fresh Cucumber Lemon juice. I can tell that this is made fresh from cucumber and lemon because you can see the fibers of the fruit. This refresher surely refreshes your taste bud and washes off the umami taste from the sisig.
The Pad Thai of Jatujak has a very sweet and strong peanut flavor. The bean sprout is not over cooked. It is crunchy as you take a bite that adds extra texture aside from the chopped peanut to the chewy noodle.
The Katsu Curry sauce was very aromatic, even from afar you can smell the curry. The curry sauce has a strong flavor. The spiciness of the sauce was mixed with enough spice to give that extra kick to the sauce. The pork Tonkatsu was very tender and well seasoned.
The Shoyu ramen of Jipan café & bakeshop is very savory and smooth to sip.The Shoyu broth was very light and flavorful. The Ramen noodle was cooked right. The pork tenderloin was very tender and soft to bite.
When I first read “Crispy Leche Flan”, I got curious how the Mesa restaurant turned the soft custard dessert into a crispy one. Lo and behold! The leche flan was wrapped with a wonton or lumpia wrapper. Surprisingly, the Crispy Leche Flan was not too sweet, it is still creamy and can still taste the egg yolk. Mesa made it a new and unique way to eat leche flan. The crispy wrapper adds texture to the soft leche flan that made this dessert a winner.
This Crispy Catfish with Mango salad is like another version of ‘Ensaladang Mangga’ in the Philippines, only it has a lot more flavor. It is sweet, sour, salty and spicy. The sourness and a little bit of sweetness is from the mango and the added sauce in the salad. The saltiness is from the deep fried strands of catfish. Jatujak also added spices to add ‘umph’ to the dish and increases your appetite.
Pinangat or Paksiw? What’s the difference? Pinangat is a Filipino dish that is similar to Paksiw. The difference between the two is that Paksiw uses vinegar, while Pinangat uses sour fruit like tamarind, santol, and kamias.
Mangan’s Bangus Pinangat uses santol for this enticing dish. The taste of the soup will surely make you feel sentimental, as the sourness of the soup with a hint of sweetness and a familiar aroma of the Santol fruit will give you comfort especially during rainy season. As you take a bite of the Bangus, you can still taste the distinct flavor of the fish. The soup is not overpowering the taste of the fish.