If you want a unique experience of Filipino cuisine, try Binulo Restaurant in Clark Field, Angeles City, Pampanga.
On our way back to Manila after a three -day vacation in Kuala Lumpur two months ago, my friends and I were looking for a resto were we can have brunch. We were at Tunes Hotel and scouting for an eatery. There were many Korean restos around and figured we could just settle for one. However, a friend texted me and advised us to drop the plan and just head to Binulo, for a sumptuous lunch.
I’ve had my share of dining experiences in some restaurants specializing in Kapampangan cuisine. I have an uncle who hails from Pampanga and I can vouch that Kapampangans are really good cooks. I’ve tried eat-all-you-can dining at some branches of Cabalen and its sister restaurant Mangan at Greenbelt which are just among the best Filipino restaurants in the country. I figured my friend had a reason to recommend Binulo. It’s nothing really special from the outside. There’s nothing grand with the interiors which I can say is pretty modest but airy and spacious. But once we saw the menu, we simply learned we have barely scratched the surface.
Binulo Restaurant may have had a simple and modest interior but I assure you whatever food they offer is nothing like that. Our stomachs are growling the moment we checked out their menu and makes us think ‘delicious’ is an understatement.
We started off with their ensaladang pako (or fiddlehead fern salad), shown above. I’m not a fan of fern salads but the other people I was with were very strict in checking their cholesterol levels. However, after taking a bite of this crunchy fern, it made me an instant fan. The crunchy ferns were cooked to perfection. It’s not bitter and the inclusion of slices of red eggs, tomatoes, shrimps and nuts gave this salad a refreshing take.
With ample rice ready at the table we started devouring the pork sisig. It’s a good thing that at this age, I can still enjoy eating food such as this without having to worry about cholesterol. Besides, there’s a time for everything, including time to exercise.
There’s also another bestseller: the okoy or deep-fried slivers of papaya and shrimp which we could not decide whether to pair it with rice or just eat it as an appetizer. The latter won.
Good thing I suggested another vegetable specialty, an all-time favorite, the pinakbet which Kapampangans are known for. I pretty well know how to cook one like this, but I have to concede, the authentic ones are better.
There’s an ample dessert choices offered in the menu but since our stomach are already calling on surrender mode, we opted to try their leche flan which my friends immediately attacked before I even got to take a picture of it. Oh well, I guess I just have to settle with the buko juice I ordered. Not bad.
Binulo is actually a cooking technique where you cook in fresh bamboo stalks called “bulo.” If Binulo restaurant is just anywhere near Manila, then maybe, I’d be a frequent diner. But as it is, it’s too far from me and so I have no choice but to settle for other Filipino restaurants available here in the Metro. Once I get a chance to go up north, then I would surely make an effort to stop by this restaurant to try their other specialties which I didn’t have a chance back then.