Where To Eat In Ilocos Norte: Jade Karla Food Center

Because we were almost two hours late for our 7AM assembly time, we finished our Vigan tour past 12 noon. We were indecisive whether to eat right away or wait until we reach Laoag. We had heavy breakfast at the hotel but the non-stop walking and the exhausting heat drained our energies. Fortunately, Kuya Lenzer had a brilliant idea of making a stopover for lunch at Currimao, a town in Ilocos Norte.

Jade Karla Food Center sits in the busy road of Currimao. According to Kuya Lenzer, it is a famous place for travelers and tour guides who feel the need for good food in the middle of traveling from Ilocos Sur to Ilocos Norte. There’s nothing fancy about this restaurant, but I was amazed that there were a lot of vehicles parked within the restaurant’s vicinity even if it was already past 1PM. The ambiance reminds me of the usual karinderya, but the wooden sturdy tables and chairs they have are far from the karinderya I have in mind. They also have big tables with a rotating center which reminded me of the Chinese restaurants I used to frequent as a child.

I like that their menu is very concise which made it easy for us to choose what to have for lunch. We couldn’t afford to go through a confusing menu because we were terribly hungry. In just a couple of minutes, we were able to decide what to get.

DSC_1114 Yang Chow Fried Rice PHP90

We got two orders of their Yang Chow Fried Rice. This place is the perfect example of the famous saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The fried rice was served in an ordinary plate. The plates they use are not even uniform. But the fried rice was really good! It’s not oily and there’s a very distinct aroma that separates it from the usual fried rice. You can even eat it as it is. Plus, it’s very inexpensive too.

If my husband sees a fish dish on the menu, he’d definitely go for it. I don’t like eating fish with soup or “wet fish” as I fondly call it. But since there’s Fish Sinigang on their menu, we couldn’t object when Boyet decided to get it. I can’t remember what kind of fish they use on their sinigang. It was something unfamiliar which I only heard from the waitress for the first time. Whatever it is, it’s good. Coming from someone who hates fish, that’s a big compliment.

DSC_1115 Fish Sinigang PHP 150

Joie requested if we could try their Buttered Chicken. I didn’t expect too much from it knowing that Ilocos is well-known for their longganisa, empanada, bagnet and pinakbet, and not for chicken dishes.

But then I realized that Joie suggested Chicken Karimbuaya which was unanimously our favorite dish from Café Uno. That got my hopes high. And I wasn’t mistaken. The buttery flavor of the chicken isn’t overpowering but still leaves a nice aftertaste. This is the best buttered chicken I’ve ever tasted.

DSC_1117 Buttered Chicken PHP120

Spicy Minced Pork with Eggplant is such a sneaky dish. I was expecting it to be sautéed minced pork and eggplant that comes with a sauce. We didn’t have the slightest idea that it’s deep-fried. I checked out underneath the bed of fried eggplant to check out for the minced pork, but there was none. I took a bite and I realized that the minced pork are actually embedded on the sliced eggplant. It was surprisingly good. You’ll get that crispy batter on its crust, and that moist and soft texture at its core. Oh, and it's quite spicy too. :)

DSC_1123 Spicy Minced Pork with Eggplant PHP100

I haven’t seen a one-liter Coke for such a long time that’s why I got a little too excited when I saw one at Jade Karla. Two of these monsters were absolutely the perfect accomplices to help us gulp down all the wonderful dishes from Jade Karla Food Center.


Jade Karla Food Center
Ilocos Norte


  1. ehem.. galing ko pumili ng chicken sa ilocos :p

  2. This is the first time to see the the Spicy Minced Pork with Eggplant, it look yummy. Ma i try nga! :-), happy ftf, this is my entry for ftf granadillas juice

  3. The Spicy Minced Pork with Eggplant looks interesting at mukhang masarap..:)

    Food Trip Friday…Chocolate Chip Cookies

  4. Looks so yummy! Love the spicy minced pork with eggplant.. interesting! For sure masarap yan! visiting from FTF


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