Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Balaw-Balaw Restaurant - Angono, Rizal
Tapang usa, adobong sawa, inihaw na bayawak (sun-dried deer meat, sweet and sour python, and grilled large lizard)---the first time I heard about these native menus, I fell in love with Balaw-Balaw Restaurant at once.

Though I haven't gone there, really.

Being Juan Hiker, I "hiked" to the place via a TV magazine talk show that featured the exotic restaurant with an art museum. And today, I'm doing a second "hike" to the place via online research.

My goodness! Just look at how Balaw-Balaw describes its menu---"authentic Filipino cuisines cooked in the traditional way." And that's what we all miss---traditional cooking the way "lola" (grandma) did it.

Can you imagine 12 kinds of sinigang, some of which are fish native to Angono---kanduli, dalag, hito?

But that's not all. What I'm really talking about are the exotic food dishes---fried itik (native duck), sinabawang balut (stewed duck egg), ginataang kuhol (rice snails cooked in coconut milk), and the special Minaluto---I don't have an idea what it is but just the sound of this dish is mouthwatering. But research says it's a bilao-full (flat native basket) of delectable mixed native dishes like prawns, crabs, veggies, salted eggs plus more.

And what about the so-called Adobong Uok (beetle larvae cooked in soy and vinegar with special native spices) said to be rich in flavor and nutrition? There's even a dish called Nilasing na Palaka (frog intoxicated with wine) and fermented shrimps (burong hipon) with "angkak" that makes it red.

Of course, the regulars include kare-kare, kaldereta, and ihaw-ihaw among many others, all cooked the special Rizal-way.

Among factors that make this so appealing to me is its location---far away from the hassle and bustle of Metro Manila (about 30 km. away). You climb up the hills of Antipolo if you're from Quezon City, and it's mostly rustic scenes from there---hills, trees, forest, fresh air, simple life---though the area is also kind of urbanized a bit.

The place itself is blanketed with an aura of the romantic old-fashioned native past. Dining and cooking utensils are wooden and native, there's the use of bilao (native tray) and dahon ng saging (banana leaves), earthen cooking pots, and wooden but elegant interiors.
And the art museum is quite enchanting and enigmatic and the art works (I think) are uniquely Angonian.

Balaw-Balaw opened for business in October 1982 and is owned by Perdigon N. Vocalan of Angono and Luzvimin L. Vocalan, a teacher.

One day soon, I'm going to hike to this place with the wife and get myself a plateful of adobong sawa, take lots of pictures, and probably buy an art piece or two.

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