Apart from its natural wonders and heritage sites, Ilocos Norte is also famous for its local cuisines served in its restaurants and food spots that keep both tourists and balikbayans coming back.
One such up-and-coming restaurant is the newly-opened “Buena Komida,” which sits beside the UNESCO world heritage site of the St. Augustine Church at the Jardin de Paoay.
A trip to Buena Komida, a play on the Spanish phrase Buena Comida, which means good food, is like traveling down memory lane as it features heirloom recipes with an Ilocano twist.
Owner-couple Dr. Norman and Dr. Lilibeth Rabago said each food offered at the restaurant has a story behind it.
“The foods we offer at Buena Komida are family heirloom recipes we love and enjoy,” Lilibeth said, as she disclosed her love for baking and her husband’s love for cooking even before they became doctors.
Some of Norman’s signature dishes, which are now being offered at the restaurant, are the Paella Ilocana with shrimps; tukmem (clams); bagnet (crispy pork); Ilocos garlic; Pan de Callos with tender tripe, spicy chorizo, and garbanzo beans; and pochero, a mix of pork belly and Ilocano longganisa.
Catholic Church historian Rev. Father Danny Laeda said the birth of Buena Komida de Paoay tells a lot about the significant influence of the Spaniards on both the language and the cuisine of the Philippines.
“When you visit this restaurant overlooking the famous Paoay Church, it is like you had already been to Spain,” said Laeda.
The couple thought about putting up their food business primarily to help employ people and promote Paoay’s tourism. At the same time, it is also their way of preserving and sharing their family heirloom recipes.
On top of that, the couple vowed to share a portion of their profit with seminarians. (PNA)