LAOAG CITY — The Ilocanos love for food—especially the traditional Christmas rice cake will again highlight this year’s merrymaking in line with “Paskua Mi Ditoy” (This is how we celebrate Christmas), the province’s annual series of activities to celebrate the Holiday season.

Dubbed as the “Tupig Cook-off” on December 16 aims to boost the market of the native delicacy and preserve the culinary heritage.

“Tupig” is a sticky rice cake which makes use of glutinous rice as base and is usually cooked over a coal fire. The traditional recipe includes seasoning the base with coconut gratins, cheese, and molasses before it will be wrapped in a banana leaf.

Though the cooking process usually follows the recipe mentioned above, the cook-off aims to introduce more flavor variations in making the said delicacy.

In previous years, contingents from the 21 municipalities and 2 cities including from the neighboring provinces of Cagayan and Ilocos Sur joined the competition.

This year’s competition will be held at the Paoay Church complex hosted by the municipal government of Paoay.

While expecting more participants this year, Ianree Raquel, head of the Provincial Tourism Office said the event hopes to restore the quality ingredients of the old heritage recipe and at the same time innovate new products to boost livelihood particularly among women. PNA