I enjoyed everything about that place because it is located in Pampanga (I consider it as my second home), wonderful customer service, and their scrumptious authentic Kampampangan dishes.
We had a full course meal and it was hosted by the lovely Mary Ann. She and her husband Claude owns the restaurant. Mary Ann even went to each table to personally explain each dish, so we can have a better appreciation of the flavors. She even told the stories behind some of the dishes. Being part Kapampangan and having tried my Lola's cooking since I was a child, I thought I already knew a lot about their dishes, so this certainly became a delightful eating experience for me.
|Dalandan juice. Ligaya table.|
They served us the Lechon Menu. The refreshments, dalandan juice and salabat juice, were served first. The dalandan juice was served in a glass, while the salabat juice was served in a pitcher, which means you can refill it to heart's content. Then we had non-Lechon dishes: the Ensaladang Pakô (fiddle head fern salad), Piniritong Lumpiang Ubod sa Claude'9 Oriental Sauce (fried all vegetable spring roll with lemon coriander Thai basil sauce), Inasal na Manok at Claude'9 Talangka Sushi (BBQ chicken wings with lemon grass marinade and crab fat sushi), and Hito at Balo-balo Sushi (cat fish sushi).
The piniritong lumpiang ubod was my favorite appetizer in the menu because I love lumpiang ubod, and the sauce just made it extra delicious!
|Pritong Lumpiang Ubod sa Claude'9 Oriental Sauce|
The (taba ng) talangka sushi was really something new to my taste. It was my first time to try a food that is a fusion of Japanese and Kampampangan. Amazing, right? The inasal na manok was delicious too.
|Inasal na Manok at Claude'9 Talangka Sushi|
I remember Mary Ann saying, "Don't give up yet," as the lechon dishes were served. The lechon dishes were: Balat ng Lechon at Liver Sauce (crispy roast pork skin), Fried Lechon Flakes binalot sa Tortilla at Claude'9 Oriental Sauce (crispy roast pork flakes on a tortilla), Sinigang na Lechon (pork meat in sour soup), Inihaw na Tadyang na Lechon at Ensaladang Talong (grilled pork ribs with eggplant salad), and Sisig Ulo ng Lechon (pig's cheeks with onion and liver sauce).
|Fried Lechon Flakes binalot sa Tortilla|
This was my favorite part of the menu. I lechon skin was so crispy and it felt like 7th heaven by the time I sinked my teeth in its juicy fat trimmings.
|Balat ng Lechon|
|A matchbox-sized brown rice wrapped in banana leaves|
The sinigang na lechon tasted like kare-kare. Yes, there is bagoong for this too.
|Sinigang na Lechon|
When it was time for dessert, the host announced that we now can get a cup of Sinaunang Kape (coffee) or Tsaang Pandan (tea). While my friends at our table were getting their coffee and tea, I was still busy finishing my sisig. Moments later, they began serving Paradiso (dessert of yam, coconut, egg yolk in water buffalo milk). After finishing my sisig, I waited for them to serve me Paradiso, but I noticed that the servers kept passing me by. So, I called one of the servers and asked for a serving of it. Then, I learned that I had to get a cup of coffee or tea first before they serve me the dessert that I have been anticipating. And when I finally got to try their signature dessert, I thought it was certainly a heavenly treat and it was not even too sweet.
At Bale Dutung, they do not have air-conditioning units, but they have huge industrial fans with mist sprayers to keep you refreshed on a hot weather. At the end of the course meal, they provided frozen towels. Aaahhhh..... so cool!
|A frozen towel|
I am really glad I got to try these foods for free. If you're into a gastronomic adventure, I highly recommend going out of town on a weekend to try Bale Dutung's menu.
To know more about Bale Dutung, go to http://baledutung.com