This is ipon, tiny fish, but this actually fries of the goby fish, or in some instance, that of the anchovy fish. Some non-Ilokano folks mistake it as hipon or small shrimps (aramang, alamang in Tagalog), due to mispronunciation or the way it sounded to them. It is also called dulong in some Ilocos places (not the big and rare, and as a result expensive, ludong). Ipon for some is considered an Ilokano exotic food or deleicacy because of its mystery, rarity, high price, and of course of its distinct flavor favored by Ilokanos.

Ipon, freshly caught, is best as kilawen (kilawin, raw) with sliced tomatoes and onions, some ginger, and salt.

It’s also good as sinigang with soup or broth, and as tamales, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or broiled. It’s also one of the best for bugguong.  And yes, as a torta or omellete. And dried as daing.



Sardinas. Canned sardines. Goes so well with almost every vegetable you can think of, and many more. Good with green papayas, chayote, gourds (kabatiti, tabungaw, tangkoy), banana blossoms (sabunganay or susop), young jackfruit/breadfruit, boiled beans (balatong, utong, kardis [pusi]), even with green leafy veggies like spinach, camote, kangkong, petchay, and the like.

These, sautéed, or just plain boiled with.

And of course with some rice noodles like bijon, sotanghon, misua and other noodles.

Hmm, you can even put it in your scrambled egg or as garnish/topping/filling in your holy pasta (spaghetti, carbonara, lasagna).

And but of course, it’s also good as it is, right from the tin can, with sliced tomatoes and onions and a squeeze of calamansi or a hint of vinegar, and some hot chilis. What a bliss…!