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Authentic Filipino Cuisine in Bale Dutung or the House of Wood of Pampanga

The Bale Dutung welcome arc in Angeles Pampanga
Located in the peaceful city of Angeles in Pampanga, Bale Dutung (translated as House of Wood) is the humble abode turned restaurant of Chef Claude Tayag and his wife Maryann. Unlike any other restaurants, this is a very special one, since you can only dine here with reservation. This explains why House of Wood is only open occasionally.

Garden of Bale Dutung in Angeles City, Pampanga
The magnificent garden of Bale Dutung that gives a refreshing sight!
A Dab of Luck
Bale Dutung was the chosen venue for the launch of the newest premium Filipino meals in 7-Eleven (read more about it here: 7-11's Chef Creations by Claude Tayag), and since I was fortunately invited to the event, I got to try dining here in Bale Dutung!

Now, as you may observe through the photos, Bale Dutung really captures the eye with the refreshing and inviting sights (i.e. the garden, the pond and etc.).
The alluring pond with this stunning statue in Bale Dutung
The alluring pond with this stunning statue in Bale Dutung
As you may know, Chef Claude Tayag, aside from being known as a great chef, is also a well-renown artist. This may give explanation as to why the place looks really fascinating! Every corner is really a picture-perfect spot for your selfies or any other photos.

The Beautiful House of Wood (Bale Dutung) in Pampanga
More of the beautiful mini-garden of Bale Dutung
If you found the outside fascinating, you'll find the inside just as much with all the wooden stuff and artsy elements found almost everywhere.
Bale Dutung (interior) in Angeles City, Pampanga
Bale Dutung (interior) in Angeles City, Pampanga
Okay, now that you've seen the spectacular place, let's now proceed with the food. Hmmmm, how about some lechon as a starter (served by Chef Claude himself)?

Chef Claude Tayag with his Four Ways Lechon
Chef Claude Tayag serving probably the best lechon in the Philippines!
The Famous Four Ways Lechon
The authentic Filipino lechon called Lechon Four Ways of Bale Dutung
The authentic Filipino lechon called Lechon Four Ways of Bale Dutung
Looking at the lechon from afar, I didn't expect the skin to be as crunchy. However, when I had a bite of it, lo and behold the heavens just came down. I may have been exaggerating, but I honestly found it the crunchiest and tastiest I tasted all my life!


Crispy roast pork skin in Liver Sauce of Bale DutungLechon Four Ways of Bale Dutung

The best about this lechon was that the flavor and tastiness was really skin deep penetrating down to the meat fibers.

Ensaladang Pakô (Fiddle head fern salad)
Bale Dutung's Ensaladang Pako with Quail Eggs
Bale Dutung's Ensaladang Pako with Quail Eggs
Sadly, I was too distracted by the lechon and other delights that I forgot to try this one.

Lechon Tortilla (Crispy Roast Pork Flakes on a Tortilla)
Lechon Tortilla a Filipino Delicacy
Lechon flakes from the roasted pork belly shredded into flakes
Being in Bale Dutung will definitely be part of my 2014 highlights because of the diversity of Filipino food I was exposed to. Can you believe that the pork belly can be turned into flakes, and then placed in a tortilla wrap? It was just bliss at its purity.

Maryann Tayag preparing the unique Lechon Tortilla
Maryann Tayag preparing the unique Lechon Tortilla that will put halt to your world!
When all done and dolled up, this is how the tortilla will look like:
Lechon Tortilla of Bale Dutung - a must try
Lechon Tortilla of Bale Dutung with flavors dancing in exaltation! 
After placing the flakes on top of the tortilla wrapped, the onions and tomatoes will follow. It will then be garnished by the coriander and the special Oriental sauce that will breathe more life to it. This sauce is made of basil and coriander which originally a Vietnamese-Thai recipe altered to become more sour than spicy (to adapt to the Filipino palate). For me, the sauce was the crowning glory of the dish that brought a diversity and avalanche of flavors!

Sinigang na Lechon (Pork Meat in Sour Soup)
A Filipino classic dish with a twist - Sinigang na Lechon of Bale Dutung
A Filipino classic dish with a twist - Sinigang na Lechon of Bale Dutung
Although I found it really sour than what I can tolerate, it was such a nice dish. I never knew that lechon can be used for sinigang.

The Pork Sisig
The pork sisig of Bale Dutung in Pampanga
The pork sisig of Bale Dutung in Pampanga
This sisig was the version with relatively bigger chunks with a taste leaning more towards salty. It is best paired with the pig brain that has a semblance with a liver in terms of the flavor and texture.

Note: There is a simple restaurant (or more like an eatery) in Sampaloc that offers delicious Ilocano Bagnet Sisig! You may want to read about it here: Ilocano Dishes in Tinuno Grill and Cafe.

*Ahem ahem* Drum roll please!

Kare-Kareng Laman Dagat (Seafood cooked in Peanut Sauce)
The Must-Try Kare-Kareng Lamn Dagat by Bale Dutung
Kare-Kareng Dagat by Bale Dutung - The most unique Kare-Kare I've had so far 
If you've closely tuned into my blog, you'll know that I am not fond of coconut milk in dishes. However, that was broken by this Kare-Kareng Laman Dagat.

Kare-Kareng Laman Dagat of Chef Claude Tayag
The plating of the Kare-Kareng Laman Dagat of Chef Claude Tayag

Moving on, this Kare-Kareng Laman Dagat was definitely exquisite and unique! As implicitly stated, it was my first time to have a Kare-Kare dish that had some coconut milk, and NO I am not complaining because I found it brilliant! The coconut milk just embraced all the zests in the dish and unifies them all into one solid palatable experience.

Undoubtedly, the seafood was fantastic in terms of quality and freshness too. This is why I sensed perfection in this amazing dish.

Now, when I thought the goodness just peaked there, it just didn't. This next dish which was the dessert served was definitely GOLD!

The Paradiso Dessert
Dessert of yam (ube), and coconut (macapuno), eggyolk (pastillas) in water buffalo (carabao) milk
The carabao's milk was cooked in a way that it solidifies and somewhat caramelizes (i.e. indicating it was also sugarized). It was really fun to eat it because you need to scrape the cooked milk, get a portion of the three balls, and munch it in. However, you need to be warned that extreme pleasure will follow!
The mouthwatering epic Filipino dessert in Bale Dutung called Paradiso
The mouthwatering epic Filipino dessert in Bale Dutung called Paradiso
Not only was I fell in love at the first sight, but also on the first bite! It had an stupendous presentation and the marvelous taste (top-notch!). You'll surely never find this anywhere else but here!

No wonder it is called "Paradiso" - you will experience Paradise by eating this jaw-dropping dessert!

Anyway, there you have it - Bale Dutung "The House of Wood". I sure hope that you can drop by this place even once in your lifetime because I'm telling you, you are missing quite a lot of things! Now, do you know places that can top this one off? Share them away. Also, I'll be excited to hear the dishes you want to try here in Bale Dutung!


Bale Dutung (House of Wood) in Pampanga
Location: Villa Gloria Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga
Contact Number: (045) 625-0169

Menu and Prices can be accessed here.



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