Is Balbi's Pancit Palabok the Best in the City of Love?
Belle Piccio | Nov 09, 2015
Balbi’s Nutri Food and Snack Bar, or simply known as Balbi’s, has been serving its delicious heirloom recipes since 1962. But it is unknown to many that as early as 1958, the restaurant has already been catering to the Ilonggos who requested for their dishes during special occasions. They started with arroz valenciana, ensaymada, chicken galantine and cheese roll.
Today, they continue to serve snacks such as palabok, dinuguan, ensaimada, cheese rolls, sandwiches and a lot more now in their restaurant. For many Ilonggos, Balbi’s has a special place in their hearts as it brings back good memories for some who grew up dining in the restaraunt.
Balbi’s is owned by Balbina Zaldarriaga where the name of the restaurant came from. Balbi’s signature dish, pancit palabok, is loved by many Ilonggos. The family recipe was then passed on to generations. The restaurant is now owned by Balbina's granddauughter, Marissa Montelibano.
Balbi’s palabok is said to be the best in town of Iloilo which only costs at around PhP 75 per serving. Want to know how to cook Iloilo’s favorite palabok? Here’s how:
- Bihon Noodles
For the Sauce
For the Toppings
- Eggs, hardboiled
- Spring Onions, chopped
- Meat, precooked and chopped
- Shrimp, precooked
- Squid, precooked
- In a pot, place the achuete while waiting for the water to boil.
- Add cornstarch. When the mixture is starting to thicken, add the slightly beaten egg. Continue to stir.
- Add the meat and squid. Remove from heat.
- In a separate pot while waiting for the sauce to thicken, cook the bihon noodles according to its package instructions. If the bihon is already cooked, drain and place it on a strainer.
- Leave the cooked bihon noodles in the strainer until it no longer dripping water.
- While waiting for the bihon noodles to be completely drained, prepare the toppings.
- Crush the chicharon. You can use a mortar and pestle.
- Remove the head and the shells of the pre-cooked shrimps and slice it in half.
- Mash and slice the hardboiled eggs.
- Slice the spring onions.
- As soon as the bihon is ready, place it on a container.
- Place the sauce on top. Make sure to spread it all over the noodles as it quickly absorbs it.
- Garnish it with your toppings: spread the crushed chicharon, mashed hardboiled eggs and sliced hardboiled eggs. Place the sliced shrimp on top and sprinkle with spring onions. Then add the sliced calamansi.
And you know what their secret ingredient is? Marissa revealed that they have maintained the quality of their recipes even it is already handed down from generations to generations.
The small modest restaurant in Iloilo is located at St. Elizabeth Center, Room 104-A, Valeria St., Iloilo City Proper, Iloilo City and is open from Monday to Saturday between 9:00am to 6:00pm. For inquiries or orders, contact (033) 337-3564 or 320-2850.
(All photos are screen grabbed from MagTV na Amiga unless otherwise stated. Watch MagTV na Amiga every Sunday or at www.iwantv.ph)
How to Get There
From Manila, you can fly to Iloilo (estimated cost of Php3,000++, round trip, one hour). You can also opt for a bus trip (estimated cost of Php875++ per head, air-conditioned bus and boat fare, 17 hours plus).