The empanada recipe traces itself back to our Spanish heritage, but the recipe varies from country to country (at least, those who have histories of Spanish colonization). Commonly, an empanada is stuffing wrapped in bread. In the Philippines, particularly, they usually contain ground beef or chicken meat, potato, chopped onion, and raisins (somewhat similar to the Cuban “picadillo”) in a sweetish wheat flour dough. There are “bready” baked versions, as well as flaky oil fried versions.
In Manila, empanadas are sold in bakeries and restaurants and are typically small in size. However, empanadas in the northern Ilocos region are very different. These ones can fill a small plate, and is already a small meal in itself. The unusually savory filling is made up of green papaya, monggo beans and, upon request, chopped Ilocano longganisa (Chorizo) and whole egg, to top it off. Rather than the soft, sweet dough favored in the Tagalog versions, the dough used to enclose the filling is thin and crisp, mostly because Ilocano empanada uses rice flour, coloured orange with achuete (annatto), and is deep-fried rather than baked.