Filipinos love their hearty vegetable stews, and dinengdeng is a prime example from the Ilocos region. This dish is known for its flavorful broth and the interplay between savory and slightly bitter flavors. Dinengdeng is also sometimes called inabraw.

Dinengdeng’s origins lie in the resourcefulness of the Ilocano people. Traditionally, Ilocano cuisine reflects the need for practicality due to their labor-intensive agricultural lifestyle. Dinengdeng utilizes readily available, homegrown vegetables like calabaza squash, okra, and green beans. The key ingredient that sets it apart from other stews is bagoong isda, a salty fermented fish paste that infuses the broth with umami. Fried or grilled fish chunks are often added for protein, creating a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Compared to pinakbet, another popular Ilocano vegetable dish, dinengdeng boasts a thinner, soupier consistency. The focus is more on the flavorful broth, allowing the natural flavors of the vegetables to shine. Dinengdeng’s simplicity and adaptability make it a testament to Ilocano ingenuity. Home cooks can adjust the vegetables based on seasonality and personal preference. Bitter gourd (ampalaya) or malunggay leaves can add a depth of flavor, while seafood like shrimp can provide a richer taste. No matter the variation, dinengdeng remains a delicious and nutritious dish perfect for any occasion.

To celebrate this culinary gem, Agoo, La Union, holds an annual Dinengdeng Festival during the summer months, typically around May 1st. This week-long festival serves a dual purpose: honoring the beloved dinengdeng and promoting tourism in Agoo. A highlight of the festival is the large-scale dinengdeng cook-off, where barangay teams and restaurants compete to create the most delicious version of the dish, showcasing over 100 variations!

How to cook Dinengdeng

Additional Information

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