From my urban roots in Quezon City, I replanted myself in semi-rural Rizal after The Hubby and I tied the knot in 2002. Its proximity to Metro Manila (15 minutes from Pasig City) makes dwelling here convenient and relaxed without sacrificing access to the city life that I am used to.
Several years of being a Rizaleña and I have not explored the beauty of the province save for Antipolo City, a one-time visit to Binangonan (for my good friend Armie's graduation party back in 1996) and Montalban to visit Avilon Zoo. It is why when The Hubby had a whim to have lunch in Angono that I did not waste the chance.
Angono is dubbed the 'Art Capital of the Philippines' and it is evident with all its landmarks and tourist attractions of art galleries and studios. But aside from its artsy popularity, Angono is also known for the exotic dishes of Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant.
The dining area is small, a bit cramped and can get very hot and humid during lunchtime. There is no airconditioning unit and electric fans are the only source of relief.
From their exotic menu, there's Uok (larvae of beetles found in coconut trees), Nilasing na Palaka (loosely translated to drunken frog - we ordered this), Kamaro (crickets), the dreaded Soup No. 5 (butt and balls of a cow), various dishes of Balut (unhatched duckling) and many more. It's like Fear Factor challenge but you'll have to pay for it :)
I read in some blogs that they also serve the extreme variety such as Pritong Bayawak (fried monitor lizard), Adobong Sawa (python), Tapang Usa (deer steak) among other items only the chef knows what else but for some reasons, these are not on the menu (or maybe we just didn't ask).
We didn't really know what to order and my companions (our whole household) are not the adventurous types so we ended up getting the Minaluto set. We chose the yellow rice minaluto dish in family size (Php1300) which the waiter recommended as it is apparently good for 4 (we're 5 adults and 2 kids).
Our Minaluto was served in a huge kawa (wok) - yellow fried rice mixed with shrimp and chorizo, steamed crabs, mussels, prawn (medium size), crunchy squid (which really taste good), fried chicken, fried pork, salted eggs, okra, eggplant and kangkong. The serving is huge, we should have ordered only the medium size.
I was the one who insisted ordering from the exotic menu as I feel the whole exercise of going there was to sample exotic food. However, I was hesitant on getting a lot at it seems it's just me and The Hubby who will end up eating all of them - and I was in no mood for munching crawling objects that day.
To be safe, we got the Nilasing Na Palaka (frogs cooked in wine). I was expecting the dish with a sauce so imagine my reaction when I saw it's just deep-fried. It didn't even had any taste of wine. It felt like highway robbery for paying Php220 for this dish that has really nothing special about, well, except that they're frogs.
|froggies na bubuka-bukaka, haha|
A note for those planning to dine, they don't serve free water. Ask for water and bottled mineral ones will be served. To me that's quite a turn off, especially that they are not a cheap resto to begin with. A water purifier is a must for all restaurants or else, they should buy purified water from a refilling station (Php30 per 5 gallons).
Suffice it to say the food did not 'wow' me but the pay off is the restaurant also serves as an art gallery of the owner, the late artist Perdiigon Vocalan.
I like how the entire establishment is decorated with paintings, wood sculptures, old capiz windows, stone sculptures and other works of art.
Huge heads made of paper mache are on display too. They are usually for the Higantes Festival, an annual event to honor Angono's patron saint, San Clemente.
|I love the details of this wood sculpture|
Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant is at16 Don Justo, Doña Justa Village, Angono, Rizal. Bring your camera to capture the rare gastronomic adventure.