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People in Pampanga definitely know what good food is about.  So, it’s not surprising to see that specialties from other regions are being slowly incorporated into the local Kapampangan cuisine.  This is the concept behind a ‘bagnet’ house we found tucked in Brgy. San Isidro, San Fernando, Pampanga.

The locals of Pampanga can turn almost anything into good food.  But there are specialties that people love in other regions that we don’t have abundant in Pampanga.  One example is bagnet – specifically the Ilocos bagnet.

Bagnet is a cross-over between a crispy pata and lechon kawali where the meat is boiled until its tender.  When the meat is tender enough, it is removed from the pot and the water is left to boil until only the fat from the meat remains.  They add a bit of oil into it and then deep fry the same meat.  So basically, the meat is fried in its own oil.  The finished product is a chunk of tender meat with a crunchy and crispy skin.

You will need to travel to Ilocos just to experience bagnet – that was before.  But now, there’s a lot of restaurants in Pampanga that have already included this on their menu with some adding their own twist to it.

Nineteen Bale Bagnet is one of the restaurants that offer bagnet as their main specialty.  The bagnet they offer is as close as you can get to the authentic ones since the people who trained them to prepare this type of dish has been making bagnet in Ilocos for years.  Aside from the traditional way of eating it fried with vinegar dip, they have created bagnet dishes that are all worth trying.  Here’s a look at what we’ve sampled:

Bagnet Kare-kare

Topping our list of “we’re definitely going back for this!” This is a crunchy version of the kare-kare where slices of fried bagnet are topped with a thick, peanut, kare-kare sauce and paired with vegetables on the side.

Bagnet Curry

The aroma of curry in this dish is dominant but surprisingly tamed in flavor which is good especially for people who are not fond of spicy food.

Bagnet Binagoongan

Another take on a classic Filipino favorite matching bagnet with sweet-chili bagoong.

Bagnet Spicy Gata

Something spicy and cooked with coconut milk.  We love how the crunchiness of bagnet is combined with the rich and spicy coconut milk.  Definitely a must-try like the kare-kare.

Of course, we didn’t pass up on trying the classic bagnet served deep fried with vinegar dip.  Just like chicharron, you can’t help but go from one bite to another.

Daing na bangus and paco salad are also available for those who want to pass up on pork.

End a satisfying bagnet meal with Turon ala Mode.  And yes, don’t forget to try the sago’t gulaman as well.

Nineteen Bale Bagnet is located in 19 Daisy Street, San Isidro Village, San Fernando, Pampanga

Operating hours: 10:00AM to 8:00PM

Cuisine: Filipino

Budget per head: 150+

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