Laoag students give Ilocano delicacies a malunggay makeover at the 4th Marunggay Festival

Laoag students turned malunggay into mouthwatering dishes during a cook-off to celebrate the 4th Marunggay Festival in the city.

In Laoag, students have proven that malunggay isn’t just a superfood but also a superstar in favorite Ilocano dishes and delicacies.

As part of the 4th Marunggay Festival, high school and college students added a creative twist to local dishes and desserts using powdered malunggay leaves in a recent cooking showdown to celebrate the many health wonders of one of the world’s most useful plants.

Among the mouth-watering featured dishes were pusi-lunggay, a steamed stuffed squid with pork and malunggay leaves, pasta with malunggay pesto infused with salted rabbitfish and bagnet, malunggay embotido, and moringa cordon bleu.

The students also showcased their creativity by infusing the star ingredient into beloved Ilocano desserts like kalti (a deconstructed banana/kamote cue), bilo-bilo, and bukayo. Winners of the cook-off were announced on June 21.

“I hope that through this program, marunggay will be further promoted as a superfood,” said Mayor Michael Keon in a Philippine News Agency report.

Malunggay has become a profitable income source for Laoag residents, who are trained by the local government in food processing to turn malunggay leaves into noodles, cookies, pretzels, pandesal, and even beauty products.

The local government continues to push for more malunggay planting, encouraging farmers and investors to tap into its full potential in the global market.

Currently, all 80 of the city’s villages are expanding their malunggay plantations, utilizing idle lots and village streets for growing malunggay trees.