Deutsch: Ilokano / Español: Ilokano / Português: Ilokano / Français: Ilokano / Italiano: Ilokano

Ilokano refers to both a group of people and a language in the northern Philippines. In the context of food, Ilokano cuisine is known for its distinct and flavorful dishes, often incorporating local ingredients and traditional cooking methods. It reflects the culture and lifestyle of the Ilocano people.


Ilokano cuisine is a rich and diverse culinary tradition that originates from the Ilocos region in the northern part of the Philippines. This cuisine is known for its unique flavors, often characterized by the use of fermented fish (bagoong), local vegetables, and a variety of meat, especially pork. Ilokano dishes are typically bold, with a preference for salty and sour flavors, and they often include indigenous cooking techniques.

One of the most notable aspects of Ilokano cuisine is the use of bagoong (fermented fish paste) as a primary seasoning ingredient. This adds a distinct umami flavor to many dishes. Another staple is pinakbet, a mixed vegetable dish seasoned with bagoong and cooked until the vegetables are tender. Dinakdakan, a grilled pork dish often served with a tangy dressing, and igado, a savory pork and liver stew, are also popular.

Historically, Ilokano cuisine developed from the region's agricultural practices and coastal resources. The Ilocos region's arid climate and rugged terrain influenced the development of dishes that can be preserved for longer periods, such as dried fish and meat products.


An interesting aspect of Ilokano cuisine is the traditional practice of "lamayo", which involves marinating fish or meat in vinegar and spices before drying them under the sun. This method not only preserves the food but also intensifies its flavors.

Application Areas

Ilokano cuisine is prominent in the following areas:

  • Home cooking: Traditional dishes are a staple in Ilocano households.
  • Restaurants: Many Filipino restaurants feature Ilokano dishes, especially in regions with significant Ilocano populations.
  • Festivals and celebrations: Ilokano dishes are often prepared during cultural festivals, weddings, and other significant events.

Well-Known Examples

Some well-known Ilokano dishes include:

  • Pinakbet: A vegetable stew with eggplant, bitter melon, okra, and squash, seasoned with bagoong.
  • Dinengdeng: A lighter version of pinakbet, often with fewer vegetables and more broth.
  • Empanada: Ilocos-style empanada filled with grated green papaya, mung beans, and longganisa (local sausage).
  • Bagnet: Crispy deep-fried pork belly, similar to lechon kawali but with a distinct Ilokano twist.
  • Vigan longganisa: A garlicky sausage from Vigan, a city in the Ilocos region.

Treatment and Risks

While Ilokano cuisine is delicious and rich in cultural heritage, it is important to consider the potential health risks associated with certain ingredients and cooking methods. The high salt content in dishes like bagoong and the use of fatty pork in many recipes can contribute to health issues such as hypertension and heart disease if consumed in excess. Moderation and a balanced diet are key to enjoying Ilokano cuisine healthily.

Similar Terms

  • Pampangan cuisine: Another regional Filipino cuisine known for its rich and diverse flavors.
  • Kapampangan cuisine: Similar to Ilokano cuisine, known for its use of fermented ingredients and bold flavors.
  • Visayan cuisine: A cuisine from the central Philippines that also features distinct regional dishes and flavors.


Ilokano cuisine is a distinctive and flavorful culinary tradition from the Ilocos region in the Philippines, characterized by its use of fermented fish, local vegetables, and pork. With dishes like pinakbet, dinakdakan, and bagnet, Ilokano food is celebrated for its bold flavors and traditional cooking methods. While delicious, it is important to consume these dishes in moderation due to their high salt and fat content.


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