Can't get over with poqui-poqui of Vigan

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I know, it has been made popular by Jessica Soho in her Sunday TV show.  Those who frequent Vigan already know this.  Coming from an Ilocano clan, this is something not unfamiliar.  In fact, my father used to cook this one for us.  But there is something that makes it hard to forget poqui-poqui (otherwise called by its more seemingly sexually-suggestive term, at least in Tagalog dialect, which is puki-puki).  Perhaps, the name itself? [Smile!]

For an unfamiliar ear, it may sound naughty, but that is just the way Ilocano words are: like utong, kabatiti, warek-warek..etc.  Ilocano vocabulary is so rich and very evocative that sometimes, one finds it not easy to translate or describe in Tagalog or English--just like the way Iloko dishes are.

Ilocanos have a penchant for something fetid and stinky, like the ever-gratifying bagoong (shrimp paste and halubaybay).  They love fermented rice (burong kanin) on their friend fish or boiled eggplant. They just love to munch fresh shallots with their tomatoes or chopped radish (which has an equally unpleasant smell).  Tuyo (dried fish) is their breakfast staple. They delight at the stomach-churning warek-warek. The real warek-warek, which my late uncle loves, is actually a concoction of an offensively bitter juice of half-digested grass meal which can be found in the stomach of a goat, mixed with either the half-cooked and grilled goat's testicles or goat skin and other spices like shallots. So what does this have something to do with an Ilocano dish, called poqui-poqui?

Just as how rich Ilocano dialect is, this also translates into their everyday dishes. Yet no matter how unpleasant the smell is, when mixed together, the taste lingers in one's palate--and memory, that one makes it hard to forget, let alone to describe.

Having been to Vigan one time, made me experience the real Ilocano cuisine--of course one of them is poqui-poqui.  It is just actually commonly known as ensaladang talong (eggplant salad).  I wanted to blog about this a long time ago, but I forgot to take good photos.  The eating came first, then the photo, thus the poorly composed photo below.  So you already know what I mean!  Good thing I even remembered to take a photo!

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Anyway, the inborn food connoisseur that I am (woohoo!), and the fact that I cannot get over with the tasty poqui-poqui, I tried to cook my own version, and here it is! (.....drum roll!)

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It is easy to cook.  You can try one:

6 eggplants, inihaw (skin removed)
2 sliced sweet onion (white)
3-5 sliced tomatoes

saute onions, tomatoes, then add eggplants (last)
add some ground pepper (to taste)
add some vinegar (to taste)

Cook for 3 minutes in strong fire or while the tomatoes and onions are still looking crunchy.

You may fresh egg, or salted eggs as toppings.

Serve hot. Best with grilled meat or Ilocos bagnet, or just plain fried fish.


As seen in Awesome Food Experience While Traveling In The Philippines” hosted by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet.

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Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.


Islandvacations said...

I must have savored the poque-poque during my visit to Vigan last October, 2010. At any rate, I had entered it into my travel journal to ensure that I could order it during my return trip to Vigan and in any other parts of the Ilocandia. Thanks for sharing this.

Admin/Author said...

Poqui-poqui is best with bagnet! Just be careful with cholesterol! LOL!

MheAnne said...

yea Ding.You have a nice the logo. this is a funny nice post. If you put the Pinoy Travel Blog Carnival logo and the link this is a great entry to this month's blog carnival on "Awesome Food Experience WHile Traveling in the Philippines".

Admin/Author said...

Thanks, Mhe-anne!