A calorific feast hailing from the Northern province of Vigan, bagnet is thrice-cooked deep fried pork. Big slabs of pork belly is boiled in an assortment of spices. It is air dried, fried slowly, then sold along the streets of Vigan. Bought by the kilo, it’s simply wrapped in brown paper. When ready to eat, we take a few slices, then fry to a delightfully sinful crispness. Served with a side of tomatoes and onions slathered with bagoong balayan (fermented fish paste) and copious amounts of rice, all notions of healthy eating is put aside as this palate pleasing treat tantalizes your appetite.
While the best bagnet is most definitely the one from Vigan, since it’s more than half a day’s drive to get there, it’s not always a feasible option to buy direct. Instead, my mom makes her own bagnet, which, after much trial and error, is now a very satisfactory replacement.
Presented here is our homemade bagnet, cut to big chunks for easier eating. On the side is a soy egg shaped like a flower. It’s supposed to be a star, but I guess the egg I used wasn’t big enough. I hardboiled an egg, stuck it in an egg mold, then dipped it soy sauce before slicing in half. Together with this, is a tomato, sliced to manageable cuts, then sprinkled with salt.
As with most of my Filipino food-based bento, I have some freshly steamed rice. For a bit of color and sweetness, I sprinkled it with sakura denbu (ground seasoned codfish), a Japanese condiment that’s usually sprinkled on rice. And of course, I can’t have my bagnet without a dipping sauce. In this case, it’s a mix of red cane vinegar and soy sauce.
A very easy bento to prepare, though not necessarily the healthiest. Still, if it’s only eaten a day or two in every few weeks, I guess it doesn’t really set my health back that much, does it? Moderation is always the key.