Dinengdeng, or inabraw if you will, yet again! Yes, I’m forever be a grateful Ilokano because of this thing, the fact that I’m a kind of a vegetarian (but not certainly a vegan, uhuh), courtesy of this truly Ilokano dish authenticated by bugguong (bagoong, fermented fish paste/sauce [not to be mistaken with the patis] ). I specially mentioned bugguong with regards to stewing vegetables or making a soupy veggie broth because dinengdeng or the brisk boiling of vegetables is not actually exclusive to Ilokanos. Down south the Philippines, the Ilonggos (Hiligaynon, of Ilo-ilo) also have theirs, the laswa, which is very similar to dinengdeng. The only difference is that while Ilokanos flavor their dinengdeng with bugguong, the Ilonggos simply add salt. Even the Tagalogs’ veggie soup pride bulanglang is also flavored with salt, if not patis (fish sauce). Big, big difference because bugguong not only flavor the dinengdeng, it also gives that unique aroma and sweet smell that only emanates from a good bugguong and that can grace a genuine Ilokano dish. And so with that, dinengdeng is a truly original Ilokano bugguong-based delicious and nutritious veggie soup that has become a kind of a delicacy, even exotic, to some and the uninitiated.