My father is pure Ilocano. He’s a farmer before when we left Isabela. My mom told me that she adapted their culture as well as their language (which I didn’t had a chance of absorbing it) and their food in Ilocos Province. We lived in a kubo way back then with a lots of edible plants around it.
What I liked the most is their famous diningdeng. It is consists of both round eggplant and bittergourd, kidney beans, string beans, sweet potato and even squash (or just any kind of vegetables in general as long as it has bagoong) plus a kilo of fried liempo together with native garlic, onions and plenty of ripe tomatoes. Wait! I forgot bagoong isda!
First cut the vegetables accordingly to their sizes. Heat the pan and put vegetable oil. Fry the liempo until it is golden brown then after washing the main ingriedients, the vegetables, put it in the pan after the golden brown liempo then top it with garlic, onion and tomatoes. Put a bit of water to have its own broth then the famous bagoong isda. Please do strain the bagoong to avoid the fish bones getting along with the broth. Cook in low heat as you stir it occasionally so the vegetables can be cooked equally. Lastly add salt to taste only if it is needed because the bagoong isda itself is already salty.
The image stars the main ingriedient, bunga ng malunggay
I really liked eating diningdeng. I don’t know why. Sometimes they put grilled fish on top of it instead of liempo. I rather dig diningdeng than lechon! Once mommy told me that as early as 8 months old, she fed me with their freshly harvested rice from their fields and bagoong isda only and she told me that I really liked it but then afterwards I got an itch around my mouth yet still I kept on eating. It is already a que so they brought me to the doctor and probably discussed what happened. The Doctor said “Lintik ka, why did you feed her bagoong? Babies should eat the broth of a stewed beef together with its potatoes and carrots. Or a boiled cauliflower maybe. Are you out of your mind?” So on and so forth plus a little prescriptions to cure to the itch and voila! That would be the main reason why I really liked to eat diningdeng. I do love it and I wanna keep on eating it until the day I die!