5 MUST-TRY IVATAN DISHES IN BATANES

by Cielo Fernando

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Photo: Cielo Fernando

There’s no doubt that the breathtaking landscapes and seascapes remain to be the main reasons to visit Batanes. But aside from these, the Ivatan cuisine is also something worth going for.

Eating good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And Batanes serves you that. To help you out, here’s a list of Ivatan dishes you should not miss:

LUÑIS

It’s a traditional recipe of pork cooked with just rock salt. It is then stored in jars drowning in its own lard. This is the Ivatans’ way of preserving pork. Luñis is quite similar to dried pork adobo. This is best served with supas (turmeric rice), another Ivatan specialty.

This Luñis and Turmeric rice cost not more than 500 pesos good for 2-3 persons at Octagon Restaurant.
Midtown Inn’s Sinigang na Luñis is definitely a must-try.

UVED BALLS

It’s the Ivatans’ version of meatballs. Uved balls are made from banana corm and minced pork. Your stay in Batanes wouldn’t be complete without trying Uved balls.

Photo by Mr. Opal E. Bala

PICADILLO A BAKA

This dish is usually prepared after butchering a cow. It is served to those who helped in preparing the cow. Mostly served with nisuhad a wakay or boiled sweet potato.

ARAYU (MAHI-MAHI)

When in Batanes, it’s very usual to see those long dried fishes hung in stores or at some houses. These are the Arayu or Mahi-Mahi. It is a famous catch in the province. It’s a mix of gold and hues of blue and green. In Batanes, harvesting this fish is a part of a sacred tradition called kapayvanuvanua. Up to this day, the Ivatans still practice it to gain the favors of the sea. They believe that it will protect them from the sea and will give them an abundant catch.

VUNUNG

Although Vunung is not really a dish, it’s one thing that you must try when in Batanes. Vunung is the Ivatans’ traditional way of serving food. They wrap the meal on Kabaya (breadfruit leaves). Usually, these are served on special occasions like weddings where people help hand in hand in the preparations without compensation.