Bagnet is a Filipino dish referring to twice-cooked pork belly. This is a well-known specialty in Vigan, Ilocos which is often confused with lechon kawali. The difference is mainly on the cooking method. Lechon kawali is deep-fried only once, but bagnet is fried twice with much longer frying time.
The Ilocano bagnet is cooked by boiling the pork (pork belly is usually used) in water and salt. Some marinate the pork first with soy sauce, vinegar, onion, garlic, and black pepper overnight to enhance its taste.
When tender, it is set aside to dry. After a while, the pork is submerged in hot cooking oil until it is brown. Then, it is drained and dried in paper towel to remove excess oil. After it has cooled down, the cooking oil is reheated to a very high temperature and the bagnet is again deep-fried in it for some time.
This process needs to be repeated several times until the pork skin pops (to be crispy). After cooking, the bagnet is best eaten right away as it becomes soggy after a while. It is served with atchara (papaya salad), lechon sauce, or soy sauce. Some also like it with just plain ketchup.
You do not need to go to Ilocos just to indulge yourself in eating bagnet. If the preparation and cooking time is too long for your cravings, there are some restaurants in Manila which offer well-cooked and very tasty bagnet.
You can try going to Flying Pig restaurant in Eastwood City, for example, or to the Bagnet Restaurant & Bar in Metrowalk, Pasig City.
Of course, you do need to be conscious in eating too much fatty food (yes, bagnet is very fatty indeed!). A simple walk outdoors and some simple exercises like running may help you bring your cholesterol level down, which can certainly help you prepare for another bagnet session!
This is a guest post from Jennifer E.