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A Taste of Iloilo: Local Favorite Food You Have Got to Try

Experience what it’s like to be an Ilonggo with these local dishes!

By: Karen Bermejo | October 09, 2020
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Due to changing quarantine measures, the destination/s, store/s, establishment/s featured in this article might be temporarily closed under the latest government policies. LGUs might also implement health protocols and travel requirements. Please contact the establishment/s before visiting. Stay safe!

local favorite food

Iloilo gives a new spin on some classic Filipino dishes.

Image: Café Iloilo Facebook Page

When it comes to provinces with sumptuous cuisines, Iloilo will always be part of the list. While Ilonggos are known to be the most lovable because of their soft accent, they are likewise known for the local favorite food they serve. While they are already known for dishes like batchoy (pork noodle soup), pancit molo (pork dumpling soup), and KBL which stands for kadyos (pigeon beans), baboy (pork), and langka (jackfruit, among others, the Ilonggos don't just stop there. They continue to innovate to tickle everyone’s palate.

To have a taste of local favorite food Iloilo offers, read this list.

1. Buko Batchoy

Where to find it: LARS Buko Batchoy, 122 Oñate de leon Street, Mandurriao, Iloilo City


Buko batchoy is a hearty batchoy with a twist.

Image: LARS buko batchoy mandurriao Facebook Page

Batchoy (pork noodle soup) is a hearty Ilonggo soup people love not just on rainy days but on all seasons. This noodle soup, which originated in the market of La Paz district, has pork liver and kidney and topped with crushed pork cracklings and vegetables. It can also be served with either boiled or raw eggs. While many are claiming to be the original, some have already made their own version. One unique take to this classic dish is the addition of coconut flesh or buko in the batchoy. It can be found at Lars Buko Batchoy in Mandurriao district.

October 2020 Update: LARS Buko Batchoy is open for delivery

2. Butterscotch sauce

Where to find it: Cafe Iloilo, M. H. Del Pilar Street, Iloilo City


You can enjoy this fried rice cake in a butterscotch sauce at Café Iloilo in the Molo district.

Image: Café Iloilo Facebook Page

As the City of Love, it’s no surprise Ilonggos are also known for their sweet accent. Aside from that, the sweetest thing about the city is their food. And when it comes to dessert, Iloilo is known for its butterscotch. This soft chewy brownie-like confectionery is a favorite pasalubong (souvenir) from the city. But did you know that this dessert can also be turned into a sauce. Butterscotch sauce is being used by Café Iloilo for its fried ibos (rice cake). This is one of their classic twists to modern Filipino dishes.

October 2020 Update: Café Iloilo is open for take-out and delivery.

3. Crispy Kare-kare

Where to find it: Crispy Ulo Ulo Iloilo, Central Park, Taft North, Mandurriao, Iloilo City

local foods

Kare-kare with a crunch, anyone?

Image: Crispy Ulo Ulo Iloilo Facebook Page

Kare-Kare is a popular Filipino dish with peanut butter sauce. It is usually made of pork and also has vegetable-only options. But if you’re a pork lover, you’ll love this even more with its crispy twist. Instead of the usual pork meat, Crispy Ulo Ulo Iloilo uses crispy pata (crispy fried pork shank) instead. With its crispy twist, you can have your Kare-kare meal with a crunch. Their version still comes with pechay, string beans, banana heart, of course, a sautéed shrimp paste on top.

October 2020 Update: Crispy Ulo Ulo Iloilo is open for take-out and delivery.

4. Liempo chips

Where to find it: Punot Restaurant, Boardwalk Diversion Road, Iloilo City

local dish

Who knew liempo could be even crispier?

Image: Punot Restaurant

Punot Restaurant has found a way to make liempo (crispy pork belly) even more tempting. Liempo is usually grilled or fried and chopped in smaller bites. But at Punot, they made it into chips. The pork is thinly sliced and you can eat it anytime you want. Being bite-sized, you can forget how much calories you can gain after eating it.

October 2020 Update: Punot Restaurant is now open.

For more mouthwatering dishes from all over the country, check out

5. Chicken Inasal spring rolls

Where to find it: Ang Kamalig Restaurant, Donato Pison Avenue, Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City

local favorite food

Instead of the usual ground pork filling, these spring rolls have grilled chicken inside.?

Image source: Ang Kamalig Restaurant

Spring rolls or lumpia are also very traditional to the point that you can eat it for every occasion. Meanwhile, chicken inasal (marinated, roasted chicken) is famous as well in Iloilo. In fact, there are a lot of local chicken inasal restaurants in the city with their own flavor. At Kamalig restaurant, chicken inasal is not on a stick but is wrapped in spring rolls. Since it is grilled, it has a unique, smoky taste you will surely love.

October 2020 Update: Ang Kamalig Restaurant’s Atria branch is closed indefinitely, but its branch in Robinsons Jaro is open for delivery.

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. With this unique take of the Ilonggos on these classic dishes, you will surely love the city even more.

This article was originally published in Yoorekka on August 08, 2019.
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About Karen Bermejo
Karen writes to earn a living, tell stories and promote her advocacies. She’s a traveler and a volunteer. Her adventurous soul makes her more comfortable to sleep on the couch of a stranger than pay bucks for accommodation. Her ultimate dream is to travel the world, master a foreign language and learn how to swim. To keep her sanity while chasing her dreams, she chases waterfalls on weekends.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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