The ‘saramsam’ in Saramsam Cafe is actually an Ilocano word that means ‘informal and constant dining or suggesting a fun atmosphere of friends getting together to eat.’ This restaurant is known for its traditional and fusion Ilocano recipes at prices that would give other local fastfood chains a run for their money.
It was a beautiful coincidence that we stayed at Balay da Blas for Day 2 of Project Windmills. Mr. Sammy Blas actually owns both this restaurant and the said pension house. The menu was available at the front desk so we just called in our orders before we rode a trike for Saramsam.
We got the Lauya a Baka (Php165.00) for our soup. It is primarily composed of meaty beef bones tossed with potatoes and cabbage and then delicately soured with tomatoes.
Since Insarabsab was not available that evening, we chose Pork Chop Adobo (Php 155.00) instead. It tasted like a good adobo to me but the meat lacked the tenderness that I expected.
We got the Nalengta nga Ikan (Php155.00) as a mandatory diversion since we have been eating meat the entire day. I actually liked this among the bunch. It just had the right mix of spice, salt and sour flavors. These only complemented (and did not overwhelm) the fresh fish.
Dessert was Kalti (Php150.00), a popular Ilocono fondue made of latik (curdled coconut cream). We then dipped the plantains and camote (sweet potatoes) slices into the sweet and warm fondue.
Saramsam Café has indeed gone beyond just a cozy restaurant for a spontaneous rendezvous among friends. It now has a small pub where diners can sing or party to their heart’s content. Dining in the restaurant is indeed a unique Ilocano culinary experience that must not be missed when you happen to be in Laoag City.
This entry completes my Ilocos Norte restaurant series: Herencia Café, Saramsam Café and La Preciosa. Here’s my fearless verdict: if there’s one thing that Ilocanos know by heart, is that they love to cook. The food was really great. That’s why I abandoned all my dietary inhibitions in Project Windmills and that decision was worth every pound I gained afterwards.
Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant and Bar
N.Corpuz Building, Rizal St. corner Hizon St.
Barangay 7-A, Laoag City
+63 77 771 5825
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