Must-Try: Pinakbet and Bagnet
Suggested Pairing: Basi Puro or Basi Maria
Oh pinakbet. It is the holy grail of Ilocano vegetable dishes, the symbol of the simplicity of Ilocano cooking, and a reminder that even if the land is not fertile, Ilocanos can still grow veggies. The question is, where will you find the best pinakbet in the north? Most Ilocano restaurants have pinakbet but the winner is definitely La Preciosa’s. The restaurant uses the original recipe and has the right balance of tomatoes and bagoong. If you want wine with it, try it with our Basi Maria or have some Basi Puro. Make sure to add Higado if you’re planning to go full-on Ilocano. Oh that rhymes but that is apt because you will suddenly become lyrical once you’ve tried La Preciosa’s food.
Every Ilocano I know is proud of La Preciosa. It showcases our heritage and our love for good food. It is not just a restaurant but a symbol of Ilocano dedication and hard work. La Preciosa is like a welcoming Ilocano home. It reminds me of my grandmother’s home and I am sure that many other Ilocanos like me have the same sentiments.
The restaurant is always busy during the peak season as most Ilocanos touring friends from abroad and other parts of the country bring their visitors to the place. La Preciosa is owned by Pamela Palma Arragoza and her family. Apart from being an awesome cook, her baking prowess will have you rescheduling your diet. Her cakes are amazing, her carrot cake being the most popular. It is addictive and pulls the right stops every single time. To find La Preciosa, go to Ilocos Norte’s capital Laoag. Ask a trike driver for directions or rely on waze.
If you’re in Metro Manila, you can get La Preciosa’s carrot cake at Carrot Cake Manila.
Warning: Do not ogle the cakes until it’s time for dessert.