Would a trip to the north be worth it? 

Published March 25, 2021, 10:22 AM

by Sandy Daza

Pasuquin Bakery’s bread and biscocho have to be experienced when going to Ilocos

Grilled beef and chicken over biryani rice

One afternoon, many decades ago, we were driving around Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte after visiting some tomato farms in the area. Famished from work and the heat, we stopped at a famous local bakery called Pasuquin Bakery. I had heard about this place but had never tried their products. We stopped and ordered their popular freshly baked buns and whatever filling they had for sale. Vienna sausage! That combination with orange soda so hit the spot I still dream of that combination to this day.

Owner of the cafe, Ahmad, and the author at the La Union branch

A few weeks ago, we were doing our “Foodprints” rounds of food places to visit in Ilocos and I had to tell my team of this experience long ago. I wanted to recreate the exact same combination. Fortunately, the owner Glenda had some Vienna sausage in stock. These sweet buns are like dinner rolls that are soft with a slight aroma of anise. Stuffed with Vienna sausage and some cheese spread, it can easily be one’s comfort food. Everyone thought it was so good we had to go back two days later to recreate the experience. Pasuquin Bakery’s bread and biscocho have to be experienced when going to Ilocos. Unique and outstanding!

Pasuquin Bakery’s sweet buns are like dinner rolls that are soft with a slight aroma of anise. Stuffed with Vienna sausage and some cheese spread, it can easily be one’s comfort food.

After nine days of hard but fun work and food discoveries, we had to take the drive back. Easy driving, I knew it would take us about 11 hours. I didn’t mind. I love to drive. We left in the morning and planned to have lunch in another favorite restaurant of mine. Ahmad Brother’s Café started in Baguio. It is owned and run by Ahmad and his wife. I was so happy to see they opened a branch along the highway in Bauang, La Union. This is where we planned to have our lunch. They have the best authentic Pakistani food. We featured them a few years back and every time I’m in Baguio, there is no reason I won’t drop by.

Paratha bread

We got to their branch in Bauang around 1 p.m. and were hungry. For appetizer, I always order the Arabic shawarma. This is pita bread with meat filling, rolled and cut into bite size pieces. With their yogurt sauce and chili sauce, the shawarma is a delicious prelude to the main dishes. Then came the chicken tandoori. This red chargrilled chicken dish is perfect with their flavored basmati rice. I also ordered the combination of grilled chicken with beef kebab, which is ground seasoned beef on a stick served over biryani rice. I have my moods. Sometimes, I like all beef and other times just grilled chicken. Yummy! I always have the dipping sauces on the side.

Freshly baked Pasuquin bread with Vienna sausage

They also make falafel, which are vegetarian fried balls. Wrapped in pita bread, it will make the diet-conscious smile. You may also order their homemade paratha bread with chicken curry. They also have grilled lamb kebabs. After all that food, I had a chilled mango lassi, a yogurt drink that is not only healthy, but also refreshingly good. I love Ahmad Brother’s Café. I wouldn’t mind traveling this far for my Pakistani fix.

The drive home was a breeze. The roads are nice and the trip hassle-free as long as you have all your papers in order. Pasuquin Bakery and Ahmad Brother’s Café will always be part of my food craving every time I’m in the area. Would a trip to the north be worth it? Wait for our “Foodprints” show to air and decide.

Until then, stay safe and healthy.

Happy eating!

 
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