Angono, the art capital of the Philippines, is not only a haven for artists but also a showcase of the Philippines’ rich culinary heritage. Talk about Angono and Balaw Balaw will eventually come up in the conversation. Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery has been known to serve exotic dishes utilizing indigenous ingredients used by our forefathers like the balaw balaw (fermented shrimp sauce). They are also popular for serving exotic dishes like butt and balls Soup #5, the fried itik (native duck) and uok (giant coconut worms). While the staples are still there, the Vocalan family who run the restaurant still tries to innovate on traditional dishes to adapt them to the modern times.
Balaw Balaw Restaurant
Just a brief background: Balaw Balaw restaurant started as a small eatery run by husband and wife, Perdigon and Luzvimin Vocalan, in 1982. Artist Perdigon also wanted a place to show his works so the small eatery also doubled as his gallery. The restaurant eventually grew. Now more than three storeys-high, it showcases the late Perdigon’s elaborate and meticulous works. Luz, with her sons Rembrandt and Andre, continue to run the restaurant.
Old Favorites, New Flavors
For appetizers, we were treated with Toasted Alamang, a sweet and slightly salty krill (shrimp) dish. Crunchy and addicting starter.
The soothing Soup #5 known for its bull butt and balls as well as aromatic broth had a little twist. They made the broth a lot creamier than the usual.
Old and New Favorites
We got to taste one of the new dishes the family worked on, the Cream Dory Wrapped in Alagaw Leaves with Mango Sauce. Alagaw is a herbal plant found in abundance in Angono, also used as a herbal treament for soothing stomach ailments. For this dish, crispy alagaw leaves were used to wrap the tasty cream dory. The crunchy alagaw lent a slighty minty flavor to the fish while highlighting the pleasurably sweet and tanginess of the mango sauce.
There’s also the Sizzling Tapang Kabayo (horse) which is cured horse meat similar to a jerky. This one is a little gamey with some crunchy parts served on a sizzling plate.
I was intrigued by the other dish, Tahong with Buro, which is mussels with buro (pickled rice). The blend of cheesiness and sourness was good.
Not to be missed is the staple favorite in Balaw Balaw, the Minaluto, which is a beautiful kaleidoscope of food from different types of rice concoctions (squid and alamang rice), fried chicken, water spinach, crabs, fish, pork, salted eggs and squid. My personal favorite is the native fish, kanduli, with its really tasty meat with the right amount of saltiness.
I’ve been to Balaw Balaw Restaurant a few times and enjoyed each visit. It’s nice and comforting to know that the Vacalo family likes to change things up and offer something new aside from their old favorites, to keep old diners happy and keep the new generation of diners coming.
Balaw Balaw Restaurant
16 Doña Justa Subd. Ph. I Angono, Rizal
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 10:00am – 10:00pm
Contact: (+632)651–0110; (+632)295–2698/ 09237144209