Every Filipino possesses a sweet tooth, one way or the other, and Ilonggos aren’t an exception. Honestly, with the huge number of restaurants that exist in Iloilo City today, you’d think Ilonggos would have had enough of the taste of food. But as everybody says, food is the pleasure. But Ilonggo desserts are life themselves.
So when you step into the land of the City of Love, don’t miss out on the opportunity to satisfy your own sweet tooth for 6 of these Ilonggo desserts that you should absolutely try.
A very popular local dessert dish among Filipinos, ginataan is made of different kinds of tubers — particularly sweet potatoes, taro roots, and purple yam. Other ingredients are added to the mix: bananas, tapioca pearls, bilo-bilo, coconut milk, and refined sugar. Mix all of that together and you have one gigantic sweet concoction.
Baye-baye: a local delicacy hailing from Iloilo and other parts of Western Visaya. It’s a delicacy that requires arduous hard work. One of the reasons for this is because the rice is roasted twice. It’s made from toasted pinipig, coconut water, and grated coconut meat. Cylindrical in shape and coated with flour — of the grayish and dark brown variety, baye-baye is popularly served during highly regarded events — like Holy Week.
Nothing spells Ilonggo like the smell of freshly baked bread, all soft and coated all over with refined sugar. It’s an all-time favorite snack you’ll find Ilonggo kids eating after school while waiting for their parents. It is made of sugar-rolled deep-fried dough coated in oodles of refined sugar. It is, in every way, the local doughnut. Appearances differ, depending on the baker. But they all taste the same — delicious in every way.
Bandi is basically candy made of peanuts and caramelized brown sugar. The peanuts make it brittle — the perfect cany to sink your teeth into or leisurely suck as you go about your daily activities. It’s the sweetest among these seven must-try Ilonggo desserts, and you’d be wary to eat too much of it. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re sweet and crunchy; aromatic and loaded with peanuts. Dessert at its sweetest.
Puto Lanson is an Ilonggo dessert famous for being consumable at any time of the day. You can practically buy them anywhere, but particularly, you can get them at public markets. It’s made of balinghoy, and in English, it’s called a Cassava cake. Puto lanson is best eaten warm with margarine or butter and Muscovado sugar.
One might say bitso-bitso is a close relative of the bichocoy. They’re pretty much made the same way, except instead of using refined sugar, bitso-bitso is coated with muscovado sugar syrup and coconut cream. Deep fried and twisted, bitso-bitso is the perfect panghimagas to every full course meal.
And on that note,
Sink your teeth into these absolutely mouth-watering Ilonggo desserts. Beware though. They’re sure to leave you wanting more; compelling you to come back again and again to have a taste of every dish this fair city will have to offer.