LAOAG CITY. Anyone who has bren to Ilocos Note would do well to sample the heirloom dishes of the Ilocanos.

Ilocano cuisine is often said to emanate from a “refined acquired" taste. 

Flavor notes, if you will, are salty and earthy, with a bias for the flavors of meat innards and garlic, and the ubiquitous Ilocano bagoong flavoring their dishes. Yes, it is much more than pakbet.

Herencia, that Ilocano restaurant serving traditional Ilocano cuisine, does not disappoint.  Located near the Paoay Church and beside the Marcos Stadium in Laoag, it is a family restaurant that does not pretend to be a fusion joint and is not a turo-turo. Spacious, with many tables for groups, it tells us that their cuisine is meant for families and group celebrations.

The iloko-style dinuguan, inabraw (ilocano version of visayan Law-uy or tagalog Bulanglang), eggplant- based Poque-poque, dinakdakan (ilocano sisig) and bagnet are Ilocano basics cooked very well.

Before indulging in these, however, we had the famous pinakbet pizza, a must try for any visitor to Ilocandia.

As Filipino food takes the world stage, Ilocano cuisine's "refined acquired" will now reach a larger audience, winning over more followers seeking that special set of flavors it offers the world. 

Herencia defines the traditional way these dishes should be prepared. It sets the standard for flavor and texture of Ilocano food as locals from the Iloko heartland know them. 

Worth a visit? Yes.