At Home at Balaw Balaw

Eating together on one table bonds people, but sharing the food in a single container makes the relationship tighter. And uh… the competition with food fiercer. :p

My paternal grandparents’ graves are located in two different places in the province of Rizal. So every All Saints’ Day, it is always part of my family’s agenda to eat at Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant in Angono, Rizal for lunch since we are not often around the area. And though we weren’t able to do the annual tradition for the departed loved ones for the last two consecutive years because my father suffered a stroke, we didn’t forget the restaurant and it was even the first that we remembered when dad is already half okay and my mom finally learned how to drive this year.

Welcome sign upon entering the restaurant

The Filipino restaurant, best known for its exotic food, was already featured on the CATV show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern a few years back, adding to its popularity among locals and foreigners.

We’ve been there for already a few times prior to the feature, but we didn’t know about its bizarre food offerings until we saw the show. And although we have seen how Andrew Zimmern munched in the still moving uok (or coconut rhinoceros beetle larva) on the boob tube and still looked okay, my family and I aren’t adventurous enough to experience its taste so we ordered the best-seller Minaluto for this year’s All Saints’ Day lunch (I am actually adventurous, but I would never ever eat or even look at anything that wriggles, and though I wanted to taste a frog, since my family doesn’t want to, I had to adapt. So… Sorry for me.).

Family-sized Minaluto (good for 6-8 people) for only 1,200 pesos

A regular Minaluto order, good for one person, comprises of steamed rice, mussels, prawns, crabs, water spinach, pork adobo, tomatoes, and salted red eggs at the price of 250 pesos. If you want to change your steamed rice with yellow rice, the price is 280 pesos, then 270 pesos for binagoongan rice, and 280 pesos for pink rice.

The medium order of Minaluto, good for three to four people, also contains the same viands as with the regular one at the price 970 pesos. But with yellow rice, it is 1,100 pesos, 1,050 pesos with binagoongan rice, and 1,100 with pink rice.

What we got was the family size, which is for six to eight people. It is composed of steamed rice, squid, mussels, prawns, crabs, water spinach, fried pork, fried chicken, salted red egg, tomatoes, eggplants, and okra for 1,200 pesos. With yellow rice it is 1,350 pesos, with binagoongan rice 1,250 pesos, and 1,370 pesos with the the pink rice.

Placed in a bamboo container lined with banana leaves, the mix of food was perfect. It was authentic Filipino cuisine, and it could make one think of and appreciate the once very simple Filipino life, that which still makes one genuinely laugh and smile despite all the lemons being thrown at him.

When the server placed the container on our table, I had to forcefully stop everyone a couple of times for the camera. Everybody was already hypnotized by the Balaw Balaw food right in front of them that I had to remind them that without a group photo, I won’t give my share on the bill (haha! Whatta blackmail! XD). And so they stopped and looked at the my camera patiently.

SMILE! Before we started gorging our scrumptious food

And since I, myself, was already starving, I let them go after two shots, then we forgot we were related for a few minutes until nothing’s left but a few specks. Times like that, silence was especially important since all our food was in one container. We had to eat faster to make sure no one was successfully greedy to discreetly eat our share. And ehem… Ehem… Please do not underestimate our body sizes. These days, gluttony can not be based on how thin or not the person is. Believe me, I’m a living proof. 😀

Proof that we love Balaw Balaw’s Minaluto

My sister craved for something sour that day so we ordered Sinigang na Hipon, too. But to my palate’s dismay, the viand wasn’t sour at all. I had some on my bowl just for the sake of having a soup.

I don’t know if it was really cooked that way in Angono, Rizal, but my mom’s version of it is definitely better, in fact, I think she cooks the best tasting Sinigang using only natural ingredients.

Sinigang na Hipon (I forgot its price)

The food offerings at Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant is superb, if not, why would celebrities and businessmen, among others, flock to it? And if you think Filipino cuisine is all there is to it at Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant, think again.

Situated in the Arts Capital of the Philippines and home to two national artists, Lucio San Pedro for music and Carlos “Botong” Francisco for arts, the restaurant also serves as a gallery for visual arts.

Aside from the native style, the interior is decorated with a lot of masks, while the tables have paper-mache on them.

Masks on the ceiling

Masks on the wall

Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant is accredited by the Department of Tourism and is a member of Philippine Convention & Visitors Corporation

The restaurant is also a receiver of numerous awards and plaques.

Paper-mache on the table

Then farther into the place are paintings and one of the spiral staircases to the second floor.

Paintings here…

… Paintings there

More paintings lying on a table

When you enter the restaurant, there’s a door on the left side. The room there also contains paintings, some sculptures, and another spiral stairs.

The spiral wooden staircase to the second floor.

On the second floor are religious and non-religious sculptures, while on the third are giant paper mache creations. Frankly speaking, if I’m not into art appreciation, I would be very scared of these two upper floors.

The Last Supper

Another religious art

On the second floor

If I was alone, I would be scared of this place.

Still on the second floor

Photo op with the giant paper-mache on the third floor.

Can’t get enough of the Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant? There’s a pasalubong area located at the right side of the place where fermented shrimp pastes and paper-mache creations are on display together with their prices.

Pasalubong corner

Fermented Shrimp Paste

Cocodan all-natural coco jam

Burong Hito

Burong Dalag

Sauteed Shrimp Paste

 

Going to Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant is definitely worth it. That’s why my family and I will never get tired of going to it every year. 🙂

 

 

BALAW BALAW
Specialty Restaurant Folk Food, Folk Art

16 Doña Justa Subd. Ph. I Angono, Rizal, Philippines 1930
Tel. #: 651-0110
Mobile #: 09237144209
E-mail: balaw2x@yahoo.com

 

 

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