Balai Ilocos: Na-B.I. Ka Na Ba?

The family went on a beach trip to Quezon last weekend which seems to be the last weekend of summer for the year, if we’re basing it on the gloomy weather we’ve been having for the last few days. En route back to Manila, we were looking for a good place to nom and didn’t find any promising establishments until we got to the town of Pagsanjan (yup, we were all quite hangry by then). Luckily, it was Balai Ilocos along National Highway that caught our eye.

Balai Ilocos near Pagsanjan

Stepping inside the premises of Balai Ilocos feels like being transported to a different time. Balai Isabel is a grand house from generations of old. You’d half expect ladies in sayas and men in barongs to come out and start singing kundiman (or you know, start stabbing you with bolos/itaks for trespassing). There are even old pictures displayed in one area of the restaurant that gives it a homey feel.

The homey interior of Balai Ilocos with all wooden things.

Then again, we’re here to talk about the food. But instead of me rambling on and on about the noms at Balai Ilocos, I’ll just let the pictures tempt you (I’m mean like that).

Di Makakalimutang Mechado (p250)

One of Balai Ilocos’ specialties is the Di Makakalimutang Mechado. That is actually what they call it. And yes, the dish does do the name justice.

Bagnet (p220)

Another specialty is the dish simply called Bagnet. This heart stopper is well known in Ilocos, and Balai Ilocos’ version does not disappoint.

Ginataang Gulay (p150)

The Ginataang Gulay was one of the healthier things on our table at that time, it’s like your typical pakbet minus the bagoong plus gata. I liked it so much I’ll be attempting to replicate it at home.

Buco Pandan (p85)
Turon Ala Mode (p80)

Pinoy desserts are always a yummy treat.

The restroom is labeled as kasilyas (the child in me keeps snickering).

Oo, na-B.I. na ako. Magpa-B.I. ka na din!


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Mel is a developer by day, a couch potato by night, and a bacon lover at all times. She likes good noms, cute puppies, the color orange, and all things bacon. You may contact her at admin@bacontunamelt.com or anywhere via this blog.

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