Death by bulalo and balbacua

on the big island of mindanao, their version of luzon’s bulalo and papaitan is … well, bulalo and balbacua. but as you can see theirs is far more sinful. yesterday i tried the locals’ recommended balbacuahan, “awengs,” which they said has been featured on national television because of their excellent soup. if the locals say it’s good, it must be so.


this is the sight that welcomed us, yes, right in front of the store, beside the entrance were two big pots of orangey beef broth (i’m not sure if it’s from vegetable coloring, like anatto, or from the meat itself.) there were only two items on the menu: balbacua or bulalo. if you’re looking for ambiance, stay away. it was a big hut with monobloc chairs and tables. but if you’re looking for a tasty meal, stay.

our table got three orders of bulalo and one order of balbacua. the broth is actually the same for both, only the meat is different — beef and marrow for bulalo, and beef skin and innards for balbacua. both had jiggly chunks of fat floating all around.

you cannot have this dish without rice and a dip of toyomansi (soy sauce, calamansi) and chili.


yes, that is a spoonful of fat above. don’t worry, i did not and i will not eat that even if you kill me first. (i think i’d die of all the cholesterol in the yummy broth though). 🙂



One Comment Add yours

  1. Guagua Girl says:

    I showed the photos to my parents: my mom shuddered, my dad salivated, HA HA HA! Thanks for explaining the difference between bulalo and balbacua. So, you actually had this … was there an anato taste? Did you find out why it's a bit orange?


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