These are some food treats you must try when visiting Cagayan:
1) PANSIT BATIL PATUNG—Batil means mix. Patung means topping. This noodle (pansit) dish has the regular ingredients of pansit-–onion, carrots, fish sauce, soy sauce, pork liver, sliced leeks—only that batil patung has a generous amount of all of them plus some surprises: carabao meat and egg topping. One can get the best batil patung from Lebron’s Place in Tuguegarao.
2) ALCALA MILK CANDY—Alcala, a town in Cagayan, is one of the popular brands of carabao milk candy bar in the region. Make sure you buy some for pasalubong. You can get it from the stores in the market, or the peddlers at the bus terminal where I got mine for 3 pieces for P100.
3) TUPIG—This popular ricecake from the Ilocos region, is the slim version of bibingka. It’s made of glutinous rice and coconut strips wrapped in banana leaf and grilled over charcoal.
4) PAPAITAN—This soup is an exotic Ilocano dish which has found its way to many areas in the Philippines. It’s usually made of cow or goat innards. In Cagayan, however, expect it to have the taste of carabao. The name of this dish was derived from the Filipino word “pait”, which means bitter. I’ve seen this in Manila many times, but I only dared to try it as a treat from my friends in Tuguegarao.