Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday, June 06, 2013
Dinuguang Bagnet

Bicol Express Bagnet




Most food lovers and restaurant-goers almost always gravitate towards malls in Metro Manila. This dining phenomenon has been a reality since those big concrete leisure centers first opened in prime cities of the metro in the mid '80s. This is also now slowly taking place in key cities in the provinces. Suddenly, the humble store or restaurant facade gleaming against the sunlight was no more.

There are still a few stand-alone dining establishments that attract loyal guests though. I recently found out from foodie friends that one such food joint is found in Marikina City right across SDS Medical Center. Specializing in bagnet (deep fried, crispy pork) or what is popularly known as the Ilocos region's token table mascot, Yohel's Bagnet Station couldn't be more unique in its selection of bagnet-inspired dishes.

Pinakbet with Bagnet
There are already a few kiosks in the metro that are selling bagnet as a meal but the servings are normally a few small pieces of pork and a bird-like ration of rice. It's like misrepresenting the Ilokanos. I should know a typical Ilocos serving of bagnet because I was served exactly that in Pagudpud during my visit of Ilocos Norte in 2012.

Just imagine my eyes popping out when I saw a table full of specialized bagnet dishes at Yohel's Bagnet Station one humid Sunday for lunch. I was only expecting the conventional serving but seeing some of my favorite dishes reinvented with bagnet, I was certain that the restaurant is seriously in the business of good food.

Winning Bagnet-Inspired Dishes

There's always a winner in a vast selection of anything. In this case, I pin my foodie stars on three interesting Filipino dishes that husband-and-wife owners Joel and Karen are proud of. My top favorite was Yohel's Bicol Express Bagnet (P115) for perfectly combining the saltiness of the crispy pork with the spicy and rich coconut milk flavor. Neck and neck in second place are their Pinakbet with Bagnet (P120) and the Dinuguan Bagnet (P115).

Bagoong Rice

Remarkable Bagoong Rice

I tried all three reinvented Filipino dishes with plain rice and the tasting session was superb. I was advised by the owners to try them again with Yohel's signature Bagoong Rice (P30) but I hesitated. My preconceived notion was that such flavored rice could be rich in flavor already and might ruin the act of tasting the viand. Boy, was I wrong! A few spoonfuls of that Bagoong Rice and my palate was eager to eat faster just to catch up with the deliciousness of the viand and the rice being tossed back and forth in my mouth. It was clear that the flavored rice complimented the bagnet-oriented dishes.

Yohel Favorite Cassava Cake

Yohel Favorite Chocolate Cake
Desserts Packing A Wallop

If anything, I found out towards the end of my lunch who Yohel was. It turned out he's the kid of the owners and both father and son loved the restaurant's desserts so much that the couple included them in the menu. The Yohel Favorite Chocolate Cake (P65 per slice) and Yohel Favorite Cassava Cake (P120 per box) are both dining and takeout bestsellers. True enough, when I sampled a slice of that moist chocolate cake and a piece of that tasty cassava cake, I felt a sense of comfort after drowning myself with the intense bagnet flavors.

H O W    T O   G E T   T H E R E 

Yohel's Bagnet Station is near the city center of Marikina, just along Katipunan Avenue (Concepcion Uno). If commuting to Marikina City, simply board any tricycle from the city center to reach the restaurant. Operating Hours: 10:00am-10:00pm

Click here for commuting tips to Marikina City, particularly the nearby Sta. Lucia Grand East Mall.

Special thanks to and Khaezel Espiritu.

More Tasty Treats Below:

Kare-kare Original (P250)
Pancit Canton with Bagnet (P230)
Tilapia with Garlic Butter and Manggang Hilaw at Bagoong

Check out my other Marikina City blog posts:

For invites, email me at

My travel stamina partner, Laminine   +   My personal blog, New Self    +   Pasig City Natin


Got anything to add to my post or want to express your thoughts about it? Comment away!

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