The town of Angono in Rizal province is dubbed the Art Capital of the Philippines, so it’s no wonder that it’s where you can find a unique concept such as the Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery.
Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery
Balaw-Balaw Restaurant combines good food and art. It started in the 1980s as a painting studio and, today, it’s considered one of the best local restaurants in Rizal. It offers traditional Filipino dishes, as well as local delicacies that can be found in Rizal and even exotic food — such as nilasing na palaka (frog marinated in alcohol), kamaro (fried crickets), uok (coconut worm), sizzling balut and ball, among others.
I visited here as part of the 2-day Calabarzon food tour organized by the Department of Tourism.
Location and ambiance
The restaurant looks like a gigantic nipa hut. The inside is spacious and lit by warm light. (I actually had to adjust all my photos to a more neutral color, so you’ll get to see what the food actually looks like).
Aside from the dining area, you’ll find a souvenir section where you can buy souvenir and food products, as well as bits of art pieces. Here there are also masks and miniature versions of higantes (paper mache giants used in Higantes Festival). There’s also a separate 2-story art gallery where you can see paintings and sculptures of Perdigon Vocalan (the late owner) and other local artists, as well as religious artifacts.
We ordered some of the best dishes in Balaw-Balaw restaurant. We were given various side dishes and appetizers, which included ginataang kuhol (snails in coconut milk), crispy alagaw (herbal mint leaves, an alternative to crispy kangkong), nilasing na hipon (shrimp marinated in alcohol) and different vegetable salads. We also had binalot na itik sa pita (native duck in pita bread) which comes with a dip.
I like most of the side dishes especially the green mango salad and nilasing na hipon. The binalot na itik sa pita was also good, though I think the dip is unnecessary and competes with the already tasty meat of the pita — a creamy dip would probably work better.
We also had a bowl of lauya (beef soup).
Anyway, what really excited me in this restaurant is the minaluto. Minaluto is a local version of Spanish paella. The serving of minaluto is huge and 1 order alone could feed our whole group. It’s rice served with pork, chicken, seafood such as squid, shrimp and crabs, salted egg and various vegetables. We had minaluto with yellow rice and minaluto with squid rice.
Both minaluto are good, though I like the squid rice better. I also stuffed myself up with shrimps and crabs, since no one else in our group seem to be interested in them. (It’s the same when I was in media trip in Zamboanga. We had plates of curacha and my fellow bloggers don’t seem too interested in them! Weird.) I was so full by the end of it that I could hardly get up.
For drinks, we had tamarind juice which was good.
Overall, Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery is a good option if you’re craving for traditional Filipino dishes and exotic fare usually served in various provinces in the Philippines.
Practical Info: Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery
How to get here
Address: 16 Dona Justa Subd. Ph 1, Manila East Highway, Angono, Rizal
From EDSA Central, take a jeep or van to Binangonan, Rizal. Get off at the corner of Dona Justa Subdivision. From there, it’s just walking distance to the restaurant.
10AM to 10PM daily
You can contact Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery in the ff:
Have you been to Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery in Angono, Rizal? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!