Pinakbet is a popular Ilocano dish and has became known in the whole Philippines. Pinakbet is a contracted form of the Ilocano word pinakebbet, meaning shrunked or shrivelled. Pinakbet is cooked with bagoong (fermented fish) with native vegetables like tomato, bitter gourd (ampalaya), eggplant, string beans, okra, lima beans (patani), chili pepper, and other Filipino vegetables like parda, and winged beans. The Tagalog version (usually called pakbet) includes calabasa. Pinakbet is best when cooked in clay pot. As its name suggests, it is usually cooked until its almost dry and the vegetables are ahrivelled. In Ilocano fashion, it is not stirred until its cooked and ready to serve. The taste is determined by the right amount of bagoong and tomato (sometimes tomato sauce is used). Pork (bagnet in most cases) is added.
Pinakbet - an Ilocano pride. This dish may describe the life of the Ilocanos. How a healthy and delicious dish can evolve from a harsh and rugged, yet fruitful region of Ilocandia.