It must be the cool weather, the bountiful freshness of greens in the region and the creative vibe the city of Baguio exudes that makes food tripping in Baguio so fun. A recently opened creative space called Ili-likha Artist Village, which is getting quite an attention from foodies and artists alike. A hub for healthy eating, they have a Kiwing na Kahoy Food Community and each member establishment offers something different. One we tried is Balbacua at Urban Kamote, bringing a famous Southern Philippines dish to the highlands of Baguio.
Balbacua at Urban Kamote
It is easy to spot Balbacua at Urban Kamote since it is one of the first establishments found at the entrance of the the Ili-likha Artist Village. Their menu isn’t complicated, highlighting their main dish of Balbacua with add-ons, their all-day breakfast, a page for beverage and desserts. Staff is quite knowledgeable and friendly on suggesting orders. It doesn’t take too long to get our orders on the table even if we dined at the peak hour of lunch where a lot of students also hang out and eat in the area.
A soup specialty in Southern Philippines like Cebu and Baguio, with a slow-cooked ox tail or beef skin meat for at least 6 hours. Balbacua at Urban Kamote version is different as they use meat from grass-fed beef and cooked for 6 hours on herbs. My friend who ate with me here hails from Mindanao and is used to eating Balbacua growing up. I’m guessing that it’s quite different from what he’s used to. Since I don’t remember eating balbacua before, I can only judge it from what it taste here. The meat was soft but chewy, not as gelatinous as my friend would like I guess. But I did like the soup which was quite thick and pepper strong and has that moderate spicy heat. It’s quite a dish to try and experience.
Aside from their balbacua, they also have sausages and hams to go with their red rice and eggs. We tried the Botifarra, which I thought was very good with its heavy pepper flavor. There’s also the Longganisa Hamonado which is on the sweeter side of the sausage but still good as well. The Free Range Smoked Bacon was a bit above the ordinary, I do like the crispiness on how it was cooked but a tad salty still.
For beverage, Balbacua at Urban Kitchen have their version of Chia Fresca, a chia-seed packed watered-down coco-lime flavor drink. It’s a light tasting but quite refreshing drink which is considered as a natural energy booster.
Balbacua at Urban Kamote prides itself as using all-natural ingredients and has a “farm to table” philosophy making eating our favorite bacons, meat and sausages a little guilt-free. Price is also quite affordable, it’s no wonder students also flock this eatery for lunch.
Balbacua at Urban Kamote
Kiwing na Kahoy Food Community
Ili-likha Artist Village, Assumption Road
Baguio City, 2600
Contact: (074) 442–4880
Operating hours: 7:00am – 8:00pm