Next on my Ilocos’ pancit agenda is their famous Miki. Miki is Ilocanos’ take on the chicken mami, a Filipino comfort food found everywhere from Binondo to famous Chinese fast-food chains.
While the Ilocano Miki is more popular in Batac, a neighboring town of Laoag, it is also abundantly available all over the city of Laoag itself. The pancit king has already tried the Batac miki during his first visit of the province a couple of years ago at the Batac empanadahan area along with another of their infamous street food – empanada. This time the focus will be the version of Laoag itself. Upon the advice of my reliable kuya tricycle driver, he brought me to Christine Marie’s Miki Hauz. For only Php.40, a pipping hot bowl of miki is served in just a couple of minutes. The serving is overly filling as the bowl is composed of 70% noodles – a dish heavier in carbs than my usual lunch or dinner. Fresh flat springy miki noodles is cooked in atchuete-colored thickened chicken stock. The serving is topped with shreds of chicken meat also cooked with atchuete and crushed chicharon and also includes a hard-boiled egg. As compared with the Miki I tried in Batac, the serving is definitely bigger, the soup is a little light in consistency and the chicken shreds are a little too salty for my taste. Overall their versions are almost exactly the same.
Upon searching the net though, I came across another Miki place called Seachelles. The place is a bit far from the center of Laoag and is almost at the farthest end of a residential area. When we got there it was already 2:30 and the place was still closed. I asked manang who was cleaning the vicinity and she told me to come back at around 4pm. Apparently this store only opens between 3-7pm everyday except on Sundays. Going back at the place at around 6:00pm, I was surprised to see the place full of customers all eating a somewhat unique bowl of Miki. As soon as my order arrived, I was easily amused by their modern presentation of the dish. The miki noodles is fried to a crisp forming a somewhat abstract art lying diagonal in its serving bowl. The bowl also has the yellow-orange colored thick chicken soup with sliced egg, fried chicken meat shreds and this time with additional bits of toasted garlic and some spring onions. At only Php.50, their take on the Ilocos Miki is definitely delightful infusing this classic Ilocano comfort food with some creativity. Although without chicharon bits, the crispy noodles has successfully replaced the missing texture one may have in other miki places. The addition of garlic and green onions also complements the soup something that is not offered by their competitors. With only an additional of Php.10 and 5 minutes of travel time it is definitely worth visiting this Miki place although some manong tricycle drivers are not yet familiar with it.