Dagupan's Great Taste Pigar-pigar Restaurant: Pigar-pigar at Last!


It's been three years since learning pigar-pigar on a travel show I already could not recall. Since then, there have been plans of hitting the road for Pangasinan, particularly the city of Dagupan where the dish has its roots. Too much planning really sucks, haha!

Before heading back home from our family trip in Dasol, we drove to Dagupan City's bustling Galvan Street at lunch time only to learn that we're hours ahead from successfully carrying out my gastronomic mission. It was only at dark when this busy avenue along Malimgas Public Market transforms into a pigar-pigar food park, so quickly I grabbed my phone and browsed for a diner nearby. I stumbled upon Great Taste Pigar-pigar Restaurant located a few blocks away.

Great Taste Pigar-pigar Restaurant's facade

A green sticker on the restaurant's glass paneled door grabbed my attention; the eight-year-old pigar-pigar house has garnered numerous recommendations on Trip Advisor, it denotes. Enlarged photos of the owner smiling with famous personalities, a framed magazine clipping, and various certificates mostly received during Dagupan's annual Pigar-pigar Festival adorn the diner's cozily furnished walls. This seemingly positive repute raised my craving.

Magazine clipping and photos hung at the walls

I scanned the menu. Great Taste's star dish comes in beef, pork, and its authentic carabeef (water buffalo's meat) variety; each comes in either original, special and premium options. Original contains no added solid ingredient other than the thin slivers of meat. For special, meat slices are stir-fried with onion rings and bits of cabbage. Premium stands out as the meat strips are marinated first before stirred with the vegetables. I ordered "premium carabeef" without much thinking. It's the original and seemed the most flavorful, after all.

Pigar-pigar is Pangasinan's meat and vegetable stir-fry delicacy. I expected it to taste like the usual bistek (Filipino meat steak). Somehow it is, but it differs in a way since pigar-pigar is not stewed. I like how the crunchiness of half-cooked onion rings and cabbage bits complement the tenderness of the fat-free (almost) carabeef slices. The onion's tangy punch mixes well with the umami flavor of the marinated meat. On our plate, however, few pieces of meat were left uncooked that even my fork can't tear. Just an isolated instance, I believe. Nevertheless, Great Taste's version of pigar-pigar lives up to their name.

Pigar-pigar

Pigar-pigar servings are measured in kilograms of meat. A kilo at Great Taste is equivalent to 4 regular sized plates, good enough for our extended family sitting on a long table. And since we need some soup for my little angel's lunch, they suggested us to try their sinigang na malaga (rabbitfish in sour broth). Malaga is one of the country's expensive fishes, mostly grown in fish ponds around Pangasinan.

Apart form pigar-pigar, sinigang na malaga, and of course, bangus (milkfish) delicacies with which Dagupan City are known for, Great Taste's menu includes a variety of seafood sinigang, sizzlers, rice toppings, grilled meat and seafood, and kaleskes — an exotic Pangasinense delight made from boiled intestines, pancreas, blood, sebum and some meat.

Cozy walls of Great Taste Pigar-pigar Restaurant

Address: #41-43 Sim Bldg. Gomez Steet, Dagupan City
Operating hours: 8:00 AM to 11:30 PM, everyday
Price starts (carabeef pigar-pigar): 130 Pesos, good for 1-2 persons
*chicken variety costs less while beef variety is a bit pricier
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GreatTastePigarPigarRestaurant
Website: www.greattastepigarpigar.com

Pigar-pigar's now a reason to drop by Dagupan every time I travel up north. I'll definitely go back for that local delight, check out Galvan Street at night and certainly grab some beer! But I'll collect some guts for that quirky kaleskes for now.

Disclosure: I'm not in any way connected with business entities mentioned in this blog post. All views and opinions expressed are inspired by my own experience.

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