Gastronomic Journey: Folk Food at Balaw Balaw

I Love food. Period. There’s no doubt about that. That’s why everytime I bumped into a friend or someone I knew, they’ll ask me either the 2 questions: How long I’ve been pregnant? or When’s my pregnancy be due? Anyway, this blog entry is not all about Dr. Phil on the issue of obesity at Oprah. It’s about my trip months ago.

In every trip I’ve been in the Philippines, there will always be a unique or interesting sets of dishes a town or a province has to offer — that my taste buds always looking forward too . This is where Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant and Art Gallery in Angono, Rizal is known for.

The restaurant’s name derived from a sauce called Balaw balaw — fermented shrimp paste mixed with rice gruel and angkak, an herb with a reddish coloring.

Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant facade with Ces Rodriguez on the scene

Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant facade with Ces Rodriguez on the scene

But before Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant became what it is now, it was conceived first as an art gallery by the late sculptor and painter Perdigon Vocalan. Now, both the restaurant and the art gallery is managed by Vocalan’s wife, Luzvimin.

Paper mache masks

Paper mache masks

Ces Rodriguez talking with Mrs. Perdigon, Balaw-Balaw Specialty Restaurant owner

Ces Rodriguez with Mrs. Luzvimin Vocalan

Below are excerpts from SEAIR InFlight Magazine February – March 2009 Issue written by Ces Rodriguez:

“First celebrated for serving exotic food and as a showcase for the late artist Perdigon Vocalan’s canvases and sculpture, Balaw Balaw has evolved into a restaurant that serves “folk food” together with its “folk art”. Among the favorites in its menu are Minaluto, a one-dish meal consisting of steamed rice, mussels, prawns, crabs, kangkong or water spinach, fried pork and salted red eggs (PhP235 serves one, PhP900 serves 4-5)…”

Minaluto, one of Balaw Balaw Specialy Restaurant's signature dish

Minaluto, one of Balaw Balaw Specialy Restaurant's signature dish

Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant

Manila sea catfish in sour broth

“and the appetizer balaw-balaw, made from small shrimps mixed with gruel and “angkak,” a herb that gives it its reddish hue…”

Eggplant with Balaw-balaw sauce

Eggplant with Balaw-balaw sauce

Balaw-balaw dessert

Leche flan topped with kaong and pinipig

“As a nod to its exotic past, there are still items on the menu for the adventurous including “hantik” or ants (P280), “kamaro” or crickets (P280) and “sinabawang balut” or unhatched duck eggs in broth (P205).”

For me, Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant is a colorful palette of exotic and non exotic dishes both for the adventurous and the non adventurous. The restaurant is part of the town’s long standing reputation in the art culture and of the province’s rich cultural heritage. A must-try when in Angono, Rizal.

Contact details
Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant and Art Gallery
No. 16, Don Justo Street, Dona Justa Village, Angono, Rizal, Philippines
Tel. No.: +632 651 0110

About battlefield_man

Jocas A. See. Art director. Visual journalist. Visual communication designer. And a casual tourist

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