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Sumptuous Sundays: Balai Ilocos


I am officially bringing back Sumptuous Sundays. I noticed that my food features are some of my highly viewed posts and even if I don't have proper food blogging skills, looks like it has been helping a lot of people, thus I'm bringing it back-wouldn't say no to helping others! :D

Why did SS go on a hiatus? For one, I am not a food blogger-I'd rather eat my food than observe it. Second, this segment falls on a Sunday and it's my only rest day. Third, I am on an eating pattern and I haven't been adventurous lately-I would always go for what works for me and what's convenient, especially after working out!

Anyway, I'm not promising anything so I'll just say that I will try my best to produce weekly SS posts. :)

Debuting in my SS revival is Balai Ilocos, this quaint, true- blue Pinoy restaurant in BF Homes, Parañaque. For transparency, I will mention that this restaurant is owned by my friends, but I paid for my own meal.

PRICE RANGE: P150.00- P600.00


The Mendoza family hails from Ilocos and in the years that I've been friends with Niño and Nikki (my couple friends and co-owners of the restaurant), the one thing that stuck with me-aside from the awesome friendship-is the cooking of Niño's family. To say that their cooking is very good is an understatement-let's just say it will be very, very hard for me to lose weight if I live in their house.

For a family who loves to eat and cook, I guess it was an obvious decision for them to put up a Pinoy restaurant that specifically serves classic Ilocano fare. Wait, we'll get to the Bagnet portion later on.


The restaurant: Small, private, and homey. Call in advance if you're arriving as a group!

So after months and months of planning, Balai Ilocos became a reality. Located in BF Homes, Balai Ilocos is one of the newest must- try restaurants in the area if you're looking for a serious love affair with rice and pig in one of my most favorite places in Metro Manila.

Yes, Na-B.I. ako!

Let me show you what they got after the cut!

At the tables, you'll find these condiments so you can personalize your meals and give it a more Ilocano touch. FYI, their vinegar is legit Sukang Ilocos and they source it from Ilocos!


Balai Ilocos Platter

- A trio of Balai Ilocos' finest meals: Bagnet that with crispier-than-crackers skin and soft meat, authentic Vigan Longanisa that travels all the way from Ilocos to BF homes, and Igado without the unpleasant taste of the Pig's innards. The Bagnet comes with the special Bagoong Balayan sauce that's really, really good (or you can dip it in Sukang Ilocos for a different flavor!). 

The Vigan Longanisa is super meaty and has this soft, break-in-your-mouth texture. 

I don't eat Igado because of what its made of, but Balai Ilocos just made me do it because it's like my favorite Sisig with a softer texture. By the way, their atchara is one of the best I've ever had! 

I thought of ordering these separately (which you can, by the way), but Niño said that the platter would be good enough for me and my boyfriend, plus it'll come out cheaper too.

Binagoongang Bagnet

- Bagoong (Shrimp Paste) and Bagnet-can you say Heaven in a plate?! It's like Bagnet Lechong Kawali with Bagoong Sauce-it's got the right amount of saltiness and I don't know how they did it, but the Bagnet stayed crispy and its own flavors would come out occasionally despite the strong taste of Bagoong-it's like getting two orders in one bowl.

Confession: I had two cups of rice because of this dish! :)

Dinakdakan

- It's like Sisig, Ilocano style. This one's a tad bit sour for my liking and it doesn't help that I've got an acidic tummy. I prefer Igado better than this, but it you've got a penchant for sour meals, I bet you'll like this.

'Di Makakalimutang Mechado (Unforgettable Mechado)

- This is one, nice Mechado recipe: It's rich and delectable, and you can't have just one cup of rice with it. I appreciate that it doesn't taste entirely like tetra pack tomato sauce, which is the sad fate of most Mechado recipes. Balai Ilocos' Mechado has this taste of stewed, real tomatoes and Beef that's oozing with flavorful juiciness. One serving can feed 2 to 3 people because as I said, it's very rich in taste, not to mention the Beef cuts are huge. I wasn't able to finish an order myself and the 'umay' started to kick in after devouring two huge chunks of Beef, but yeah, this one is very good.

Apple Pie Ala Mode

- A staple recipe of Niño's family. This soft, chunky Apple Pie is not too sweet and not too huge-it's enough to wash off all that Pork taste in your mouth afterwards.

Leche Flan

- A Filipino restaurant is never without the national custard! :D Their Leche Flan serving is small, just right, and I like its milky taste.

Aside from these, they also have other dishes such as shawarma, quesadillas, pinakbet pizza, and more, recipes that are straight-out-of-the-home-kitchen and with a family twist.

Since my friends are the owners, I can't call it hole-in-the-wall because I was informed about it, but I would say that it is if I wasn't. Balai Ilocos is worth trying if you're craving for some of the best fried, genuinely Pinoy pig dishes in town or if it's your cheat day because Pinoy food and Pig (anything Pig for that matter) always work! Just go easy on the Bagnet and remember to take Apple Cider Vinegar to somehow wash away the fat inside you!

This restaurant is quite easy to miss though-I've been there for a couple of times and I'd still miss it while on the way. Maybe a bigger, brighter sign would help!

That said, here's their address so you can locate them easily and that your Bagnet feast won't be delayed: 188-D Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City. They have a branch in Pagsanjan, Laguna too!

BALAI ILOCOS MUST-TRY DISHES ROUND- UP:

1. Balai Ilocos Platter
2. 'Di Makakalimutang Mechado
3. Binagoongang Bagnet
4. Apple Pie Ala Mode

Please visit BALAI ILOCOS on Facebook for more information about this restaurant.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beauty. Fitness. Fashion. Food. Travel. Unicorns. World Peace. Digify Corporation.

4 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Food looks yummy! I so love bagnet. Super sarap and crispy. I don't like egado too. Haha. Anyway, the place looks homey and the dishes are affordable. Hope to try that out soon

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  2. the place looks very nice!! for a second there I thought you were really in Ilocos! Not really a fan of Filipino food, but I love binagoongan! :)

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  3. Galing. The place looks like it transports you right into Ilocos. They made the old-time look work to their advantage.

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  4. Hahaha! Hilarious placemat! :D I was in Ilocos in 1995, on World Youth Day to be exact. I remember watching on TV Pope John Paul II's Manila visit while I was there. I think B.I. would give me a nostalgic feeling! I'd munch on Vigan longanisa while enjoying the brick walls and capiz windows.

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