Posts Tagged ‘exotic food’

Balaw Balaw is synonymous with native Philippine cuisine, exotic food and arts. I had a lesson in Arts when we visited this quaint place located in the heart of Angono. I could not express my delight in finding so many paintings on different subjects displayed in their three-storey gallery. I am ignorant when it comes to such a medium but I can admire a beautiful painting and a lovely wood carving.

Angono, Rizal is known as the Art Capital of the Philippines. It is the hometown of the famous artist Botong Francisco. Balaw Balaw started as a “tambayan” of sort by the owner, the late Perdigon Vocalan with his artists friends. It is now being managed by his wife. One of the waiters who served us is also an artist and his artworks are displayed at the second floor of the old building.

First thing you’ll see before entering the restaurant are these large busts. It was quite a little eerie seeing so many mascots hanging at the ceiling of the ground floor but the garden/pond in the middle of the restaurant is a welcome site. You could listen to old familiar music, think kundiman and Tagalog songs which you may not have heard  of for the last decade or two.They do offer exotic dishes like kamaro (cricket), frog legs, adobo or fried, fried itik, and the one which they call Uok, an edible worm found inside coconut trees.  We were not brave enough to try one. No exotic food please!




Minaluto is the specialty of the house. a big “bilao” consists of steamed rice, mussels, prawns, crab, water spinach, fried pork, salted red egg, tomatoes, eggplant and gambo. It’s a complete meal in itself, a typical  dish that you would find in any Filipino household specially during fiestas and other occasions so dear to us. Wow, this is what I like best, Sinigang na Kanduli sa Bayabas.  I like any kind of sinigang mixed with bayabas.  It reminds me of those days way back in the province when my three brothers and I used to climb guava trees to pick those ripe fruits for Mom’s kitchen. I love their Kare-Kareng Baka, beef chunks stewed in peanut sauce,  vegetables and shrimp pastes. Balaw balaw simply means shrimp pastes mixed with gruel and angkak, a food coloring to make it a little pinkish.

My son tried the Gayuma. It’s made  of coconut milk with gulaman (gelatin) cooked in  pandan. I settled for the safest drinks, buko juice (young coconut juice) and plain water.

We enjoyed going to the art gallery after our hearty lunch. What a sight, it was full of art collections and wood carvings.





The Gallery

The Gallery

Your visit to Angono would not be complete without dropping by this place.  This is not just an art gallery, but a museum of sort.


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I always love looking and buying produce at the wet market.  One can find  fresh things there that you rarely and never see in an air-conditioned supermarket.  Seafood  and vegetables come in plenty and everything looks fresh.  Since I have a restricted diet, I always try to find something delicious and healthy and easy on the budget.  I  crave  for this edible fern every time I have the chance to do the marketing.

We simply call it  pako in our native dialect.   These are grown in some remote areas and they are not your regular choices of vegetables in the market because it takes months before they harvest them again (that’s according to the lone vendor who sells it now and then).

What a nice surprise!  Can’t help but buy at least three bundles  for lunch.  There are lots of ways to prepare this edible fern – you could have it fresh as veggie salad mixed with radish, fresh tomatoes and any dressing that you want.  You could have it  cooked in coconut milk  or simply blanched and mixed with grated green mango and onions.  But one sure way of having a really yummy treat is to saute it  in a little oil, add  about 2 grams of ground pork   and top it with two sliced hard-boiled eggs.

Or you can try this other recipe which is as nutritious and delicious as this one.

2 bundles of pako
6 pieces of fresh tomatoes
1 head of onion
a pinch of salt
coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup of small, fried dilis for toppings

Saute the tomatoes with the onion and diced ginger, set aside. Fry small dried dilis, the smallest ones are better, since they are crispy when cooked. Blanch the pako in hot water for a minute or two then put them in cold water to keep its crunchy taste. Top it with the sauteed tomatoes and serve!

And have you ever tried this crunchy and edible seaweed as starter?  This is  perfect for those freshly catched  tilapia or that daing na bangus. One kilo goes for P120.00 and I bought about 400 grams and mixed it with fresh tomatoes,  sliced onions, julienned ginger and a dash of paprika.

We call  this ararosep but some people call it lato. 

There you go, you might find these a little exotic to your taste but they are family favorites – pako and ararosep. You couldn’t go wrong having these on your table.

Bon Appetit!

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