Dining at Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant
Balay de Blas’ in-house restaurant in Laoag City is a popular hangout for travelers going up North. Thanks to certified foodies, bloggers, local and Manila-based media networks: this restaurant’s audacious Ilocano style cooking has become a popular destination for Pinoys with itchy feet cravings whenever they visit Ilocos Norte.
Saramsam is an Ilocano word that means informal; and such is the laidback atmosphere in this cozy diner where one can enjoy a pleasurable dining experience together with close buddies and family. Its interior exudes traditional Ilocano art but with a homey, old charm vibe.
Located at the corner of Hizon and Rizal Streets, Saramsam offers dishes with a unique fusion of Western cuisine and traditional Ilocano fare. The brain behind this cross-cultural blend, Samuel “Sammy” Blas, is a former expat who worked in the hotel industry in Europe and decided to use his earnings to put up Balay de Blas Pensionne House.
A lot of Saramsam’s avid fans swear having a blast with their Saramsam Pasta (topped with shrimps, cilantro, green and red bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, green and ripe mangoes in olive oil and grated parmesan cheese), Dinardaraan (Dinuguan pizza), Bagnet (crispy pork) with KBL (kamatis, bagoong, lasona). Vegetarians and or veggie lovers go for their Poqui-poqui, an Ilocano eggplant dish that shouldn’t be mistaken for the female private part.
But if you’re craving for a lighter snack, Saramsam delivers a hearty and healthy merienda that would surely tease your palate for more. Try their version of spicy tuna in mini tacos with a hint of wasabi, pansit guisado, ginataan, meatballs and pocket veggie pizzas.
If you’re in the mood for more, try their Chorizo de Laoag pasta, Pinakbet (stewed eggplant, ampalaya or bitter melon, okra and tomatoes that’s seasoned with bagoong or anchovies); and Kalti, an Ilocano fondue. Fried bananas and kamote (sweet potatoes) are soaked in this warm melted Muscovado sugar syrup mixed with coconut milk.
Wine lovers should try out their Duhat wine, and Basi, the popular local alcoholic beverage of Ilocos made from sugarcane. [Ched Romulo]