Situated in the nearby province of Pampanga, Bale Dutung houses the gastronomic meals made by Chef Claude Tayag. On a calm and dewy Monday, Lifestyle TV held a press lunch in Bale Dutung for its upcoming new show “Chasing Flavors.” It is set to premiere on June 3rd, Saturday, at 9pm where Chef Tayag takes viewers to discover the colorful variety of local Filipino cuisine.
Different food writers and bloggers came to experience Filipino food with one of the Philippines’ leading culinary artist. Chef Claude is a self-taught culinary expert known to have uplifted Kapampangan cuisine through Bale Dutung. Take note that they only take reservations in Bale Dutung, with a minimum number of 12 guests, and that lunch can take up to four hours! Why so? You have to bask in the flavors of each dish, with matching stories told by Chef Claude himself!
Before we basked in the scrumptious lechon-inspired meals, Chef Claude gave a mini tour of his lovely abode. Apparently, he is a collector of items from the 50s era. Aside from his kitchen know-how, he is also an accomplished painter, sculptor, furniture designer, and a food and travel writer.
My curiosity of Bale Dutung was filled and answered with little knick-knacks and bits of new information. I found out that Bale Dutung means “Wooden House.” This explains the restaurant’s interiors and landscaping, which are centered on the concept of homeyness.
Upon entering the dining area, we were welcomed by wooden tables and chairs with colorful dining sets. The platings brought me back to those Sunday family lunches I grew up with.
In Chasing Flavors, the well-known Kapampangan chef will probe the origins of Filipino’s iconic dishes from region to region, one dish at a time. He will also attempt to answer what makes each dish unique and outstanding in its own right.
Featured dishes in the coming episodes of Chasing Flavors include adobo, paksiw, sinigang, kilaw and sisig, pacit, lechon, cured meats, inihaw, salted dried fish, gata, gulay, panghimags, and rice.
For the different menus offered in Bale Dutung, the prices are as follows:
- Lechon—P1,750 plus VAT
- Anthony Bourdain—P1,850 plus VAT
- Kapampangan—P1,850 plus VAT
But for this press lunch, we got a taste of mainly…guess? EVERYTHING LECHON!
The food that were served before us was beyond my expectations! The concept behind Bale Dutung is degustation—the food sampling is smaller as the experience focuses on the senses, culinary art, and of course, good company. So, are you ready for Lechon Six Ways?
SINGKAMAS with BAGOONG
Usually, as an appetizer, Filipinos are used to the green mango salads. But for starters, we were served sliced turnips in skewers, and a small dish with shrimp paste to add a bit of saltiness.
FRESH FRUIT SHAKE
While waiting for the program to start and the food to be served, we were given fresh Honey Dew Shake. It is truly a refreshing drink since it relies on the fruit’s own sweetness. Some guests even had second servings of this!