How to make bagnet taste awesome(r)

Crispy bagnet from Ilocos (Photo from The Lifestyle Network)

Is there anyone who doesn’t love bagnet? That twice-fried slab of pork liempo known as one of the foodie treasures of Ilocos?

Well, yes.

Sandy Daza, well-known chef, restauranteur, cookbook author and TV host, admitted he wasn’t a fan.


“Kasi ang bagnet, walang taste. Parang boring,” he explained when he met the press to launch “Foodprints,” his new Lifestyle Network food adventure show airing on September 21.

But when he and his TV crew hied off to feature Ilocos on his new show, a friend advised him, “Try it with KBL.”

KBL stands for kamatis, bagoong and lasona, the Ilocano word for onion.

Bagnet for breakfast!

Though there’s nothing Sandy won’t eat (see his answers to our Quickfire Questions), he steers clear of pork.

“But when I tried (bagnet) with KBL, I ate it every day,” he confessed.

He found the combo so “unbelievably delicious,” he even ate it for breakfast.

Mouth watering

The KBL, a salad of tomatoes, onions and spring onions, is dressed with fish bagoong.

But, instead of diluting the liquid of the bagoong with water, “what I do is put a little chicken broth…pour it over and just mix it,” he said.

“And then my suggestion is, you get this mixture: spring onions, sibuyas, kamatis, bagoong and then (place) one piece of bagnet on top of it.”

Shove that spoonful in your mouth and then bliss out.

“Napapalunok ako just thinking about it!”

People and culture in ‘Foodprints’

His new show “Foodprints” hopes to tell the story of a people and a culture reflected in their foodstuff. (For its first season, the show is also taking viewers to a food adventure in Batangas and Bulacan—devoting 2 episodes per location).

It will also reveal where to get the best of a region’s delicacies, the authentic way the food is cooked, and the people who began or carry on the tradition.

“We want you to leave saying, ‘The food there is so good,’” he said.

‘Like opening a gift at Christmas’

Sandy also wants to bring to a wider audience the little-known produce and delicacies from around the Philippines.

He mentions tabon-tabon, a fruit that the people in Bacolod use as a souring agent for kilawin.

Such discoveries are “like opening a gift at Christmas,” he said. “You don’t know what to expect but when you open it and you like what you’re given, parang you’re so happy, di ba? That’s the idea behind this food show.”

As told by Miling Malaben of Ilocos Norte to Sandy Danza

  • Boil a whole 3-kilo pork liempo covered for 1.5 hours. (You can use chicken broth instead of water.)

  • Deep fry the boiled liempo. Make sure the cooking oil is still cold when you introduce the meat.

  • Under a low fire, allow the oil to heat up slowly and fry the bagnet till it’s crunchy.

  • Fish out the liempo. Let the oil cool and then repeat the slow-frying step.

  • When done, get a spoonful of a mixture of spring onions, onions and tomatoes dressed in diluted fish bagoong. Then, add a piece on bagnet on top of it and enjoy.

TIP FROM SANDY: “Watch the bubbles on the surface of the oil. The bigger the bubbles, the more moisture the meat has. The moment the bubbles become smaller, that means pakonti na ng pakonti yung moisture niya.”

‘Foodprints,’ hosted by Sandy Daza airs September 21 on The Lifestyle Network.

Photo of Sandy Daza on location courtesy of Tina Tan, whose blog BlauEarth, celebrates everything she loves about her hometown of Ilocos Norte, "quirks included." 

You might also like:

Quickfire questions for Sandy Daza

Culinary icon Nora Daza passes away

More evidence that the Mediterranean diet is good for you

Rainy weather comfort food: How to make thick, lomi soup

What’s the most popular recipe on the Internet?

In photos: 7 breaded chicken recipes everyone will love