(Sixth of the La Union Series)

La Union doesn’t run out of surprises. Aside from surfing, there are grapes farms for a relaxing porch life. And, aside from grapes, there are other stuff to make the visit memorable. Here’s what to eat in the farm:

The recipe for dinengdeng was perfected in the Ilocanos’ kitchens long time ago. Trusting their homegrown culinary skills, the natives discovered that the best vegetable dish can be as plain as boiled vegetables seasoned with bagoong (fermented fish sauce).

Danica’s grandmother prepared a big pot of dinengdeng for the entire team. Of course, the hobbit was game for the taste test. When the vegetables landed on his tastebuds, geeeez it was perfect! In between bites, there was that unstoppable guessing game on what vegetables were playing with the appetite, and there was that urge to sing the lyrics of Bahay Kubo, the childhood folk song and vegetable lover’s hymn.

Ar-arosep or Lato
Lato (also called ar-arosep or arorosep) looks like tiny, translucent bunches of green grapes.  After three decades, the hobbit’s curiosity about this seaweed finally came to an end. Fresh seaweed—harvested perhaps from the shallow seas of La Union—was served on the table for lunch. Crunchy, slimy, salty. Dipped in fish sauce, the small delicate balls burst in full flavor and woke up the hobbit’s tastebuds.

Ensaladang Talong
Eggplant grilled over charcoal, carefully peeled and loosened by fork + half-ripe mangoes diced into small cubes + fresh tomatoes—that’s the classic ensaladang talong. You can’t miss it. It’s easy to prepare and it’s a trusted appetizer for an enjoyable meal.

* Photos taken with Cherry Mobile Flare.

Part I: Not Just Surfing
Part II: Journey to the North
Part III: Welcome to the Farm
Part IV: A Legacy
Part V: The Porch Life


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.