Gastric Pulse: Which Ilonggo Food Do You Miss The Most?

By sheeber joyce

The flavors of home bring comfort to the soul. No matter where you go or how far you’ve reached—figuratively and literally—there will always be times when you crave for the food you grew up with. Along with being “homesick” for being away from their loved ones, our fellow Ilonggos abroad are longing for Ilonggo food. Project Iloilo asks several respondents what their tastebuds miss the most. Here are their hearty yearnings:

Ginisa nga ginamos nga may baboy (Sauteed shrimp paste with pork)

Ilonggo Food - Project Iloilo

“I miss ginisa nga ginamos nga may baboy. Everything else, we can replicate here but our ginamos [Editor: Otherwise referred to as ‘bagoong’ in Filipino] is really one of a kind. Compared to Tagalog and any other shrimp pastes available, our ginamos has a distinct taste and texture. Fresh ginamos with calamansi makes me want to go home right now.”
Felirose B. Llanora, Physiotherapist, UAE

Ginat-an nga dahon sang balinghoy (Cassava leaves in coconut milk)

Ilonggo Food - Project Iloilo

“I’ve been thinking about ‘binukbok nga dahon sang balinghoy nga may gata sang niyog’. We used to cook this at home like it’s the vegetarian version of corned beef. It is best when paired with uga (salted dried fish).”
Tedie Lalantacon, Correctional Nurse, Singapore

Sinugba nga Bangrus (Grilled Milkfish)

Ilonggo Food - Project Iloilo

“I miss eating “sinugba nga bangrus”. The Danish people I live with don’t favor the smell of fried fish so I try not to cook any dish of fish here in our house. Eating fish with my host family here is just rare. They prefer to eat them raw like the fresh tuna and salmon in sushi. Grilled bangus paired with soy sauce and vinegar dip that has tomatoes, chili and onion is something I really long for.”
Faith Rose Jagodilla, Au Pair, Denmark

Adobo nga takway (taro tendrils stewed in vinegar and soy sauce)

“I miss adobo nga takway. It’s really my favorite and I think most Ilonggos like it, as well.”
Grace Miranda, Domestic Helper, Hong Kong

Ginat-an nga Dagmay nga may Bagongon (Taro root and Telescope Snail in Coconut Milk)

“Even if I search the entire Korea, I won’t be able to find bagongon here and because of that, I haven’t eaten it for nine years. It’s one of Ilonggos’ best, [and] not to mention the ‘kutitot’ siling labuyo added to the extremely good tasting dagmay in coconut milk.”
Genevieve Borrero Kim, Teacher, South Korea

You must have a favorite Ilonggo dish that reminds you of home. What are they? Care to share? You can do so by writing your fave food in the comments section below!

(Photos by the author)