Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happiness at Bahay Ligaya Filipino Restaurant

Ever wondered of a place where good and old antique pieces eventuate with the traditional and delicious Filipino dishes? Well, I got all of your queries (and cravings) covered! This time, The Strolling Spoon sets foot on a restaurant that houses amazing mementos and at the same time palatable meals that will surely tickle your taste buds. All these and more, only at Bahay Ligaya Restaurant.

I was extremely euphoric and thankful the moment my dear friend, Yedy, of the Yedylicious Food Blog, asked me to join her in visiting Bahay Ligaya. Just by it's name makes me think of how they can make me and my tummy, not just contented but also in full high spirits. We were also joined by our fellow foodie friends, Donver and Cj in this great event, as well as the restaurant's owners, Mr. Ray and Joy Bueno who were very kind and accommodating.

It all started with a small capital and Mr. Bueno's idea of putting up an antique shop which he called Luma't Bago. From that insight gave birth to the Bahay Ligaya Restaurant, which was named after his wife, Joy. And since the cuisine that they're concentrating on is Filipino-Regional gastronomy, they have translated the restaurant's English name, "House of Joy", to our own lingua franca; making it "Bahay Ligaya", a catchy and beguiling name indeed. Their stories of hard work and success truly encouraged and inspired us to be young entrepreneurs. Add to that the food that they have generously shared and feasted on with us, which is the highlight that I will be imparting in this one of a kind experience.

A good meal starts with a delish appetizer. For us, their Sizzling Pork Sisig is a perfect way to initiate a hearty feast! Tender pork minced to perfection along with some chopped onions, red and green chilis to give the dish a delicious spicy kick.

Sizzling Pork Sisig

What I love more about their sisig, aside from its mild to medium hint of spiciness, is the crunchy bits of toasted pork that gives the whole dish some sort of bite and texture. It also has a tasty and delicious meaty flavor that blends really well with its distinct smoky taste. Its also good with or without any seasonings like soy sauce or calamansi. No one could ever resist this classic ulam/pulutan that originated from Pampanga, one of my personal favorites and probably one of the best sisig that I have ever tasted.

Another much loved dish of ours is the Grilled Liempo. The pork was remarkably awesome - it is tender, juicy and well-marinated. One serving is not enough for this great deal of a grilled pork 'cause aside from it being carefully cooked and grilled (love that smoky, smoky taste), you will be amazed of how the herbs and spices from the marinade highlight the yummy and flavorful taste of the meat. I love how its flavors linger in my mouth at every bite.

Grilled Liempo

One of the dishes that also made into my list of personal favorites is their Manok Pandan. It is actually the first time that I have tried this dish but it easily made its way not just to my tummy but also to my heart. It is tender chicken meat wrapped in pandan leaves and then deep fried to perfection - simple but very flavorful. Also, though it is fried, it is not greasy and the chicken remained succulent and juicy. Its already amazing as it is but you can also dip it in star anise sauce to experience another depth of flavor that blends really well with the chicken. Without a doubt, a healthier and better alternative to the usual breaded fried chicken.

Manok Pandan

It was also the first time that I have tried this dish called Sizzling Bulalo and I must say that I was really impressed! The beef went into a slow fire cooking process making the meat really soft that it noticeably falls off the bone. Also the juices from the beef combined with the sauce brings out the delicious and flavorful meaty taste of the dish - a sure hit for a beef lover like me!

Sizzling Bulalo

Another beefy dish and in fact one of the house specialties is the Bulalo Pochero. They have used the same carefully cooked, soft and tender beef and then submerged it in a rich and tasty tomato sauce. The already delectable beef has also absorbed the sauce making it extra flavorful and juicy. Add to its goodness the fresh and perfectly cooked vegetables that makes the whole dish complete. As what Mr. Rey have mentioned, this dish basically contains everything - from a rich sauce to its delicious meat, fresh vegetables and even bananas - a hearty meal that each member of the family will surely love.

Bulalo Pochero

Diningdeng is one of the dishes that I actually grew up eating. It makes me think of my mom's inviting Ilocano home cooked meals. So the moment they mentioned that they will be serving this dish, my tummy suddenly growled because of great excitement. I love the aroma coming from the bagoong (fermented fish which has more intense flavor than the usual "patis" or fish sauce that we know) as well as the combined flavors of the green and leafy veggies, eggplants and bitter gourd. The juices and flavors from the vegetables blended really well with the bagoong and a bit of water, making this dish a really refreshing choice and is undoubtedly an ideal partner to those equally delicious and meaty dishes. They have also topped it with crispy pork for added crunch and meaty flavor.


Crispy Hito with Burong Bulig and Fresh Mustasa Leaves is another great course that you shouldn't miss in visiting Bahay Ligaya. I am not actually a big fan of the "hito" or catfish and of the "burong bulig" or fermented mudfish which has a pungent aroma, but this dish proved me wrong. Tearing the fish meat into pieces, drizzling a bit of the buro and then wrapping it into a roll with the mustard leaves is the preferred way of eating it. Doing so, it gives out a certain piquant and interesting taste at every bite. The crispiness of the fish is such a feat in this fare and the strong flavors of the buro as well as its squishy texture is balanced by the fresh taste and crunchiness of the mustard leaves. After one try, you'll certainly ask for more - such fascinating and a signature dish to be discovered only at Bahay Ligaya.

Crispy Hito with Burong Bulig and Fresh Mustasa Leaves

All of their entrées are generously served and can actually feed 3 to 4 persons. Also the plating is simple yet very appealing. The use of green peanut parsley and orange plump tomatoes added colors to some of the dishes and made it even more appetizing. I also find their food very affordable, ranging from 100php to about 600php and can already feed a family of 3 ot 4. Imagine having all these great tasting and reasonably priced food in a very intimate and classic venue. Intimidating? I guess not. As for me, its more of having good eats and at the same time appreciating the fantastic artifacts that reminds us of our historical past.

I always make sure to leave some room in my tummy for heavenly desserts - Filipino-style this time! Being a sweet tooth, I believe that its always good to give such a hefty and hearty meal a saccharine ending. So, enough with me talking and lets now move on to my favorite part of every dining expereince - the desserts.

Who wouldn't be familiar with this classic Filipino dessert/afternoon merienda? Bahay Ligaya's Ginataang Bilo Bilo has loads of surprises to offer - chewy bilo bilo (glutinous rice balls made from powdered glutinous rice and water), sweet saging na saba (bananas), kamote (sweet potatoes), gabi (purple taro), sago (tapioca pearls) and of course, sweetened creamy coconut milk. This dessert actually reminds me of my fondness for sweets for when I was a kid, I always make sure to help my mom in the kitchen in preparing it.

Ginataang Bilo Bilo

Another delectable dessert and a classic Filipino sweet treat is the Buco Pandan. Bahay Ligaya's version is made with shredded fresh buco and pandan flavored gulaman over milk and cream - so fresh that you can still taste the certain sweetness that comes from the buco strips. Add to this goodness the mild flavors of the pandan that gives this dessert its signature Filipino taste.

Buco Pandan

One creamy dessert after another, this time with the sweetness of ripe mangoes and red sugar palm or "kaong". You can never go wrong with this delight; it doesn't just look good but also tastes wonderful. The ripe mangoes and sago blends well with the milk and cream - a fruity and refreshing end to every meal.

Mango Pandango

Tapioca pudding with coconut milk topped with pinipig for added crunch - a simple yet a delicious treat. I love the mildness of the coconut milk that blends just right with the rice-like flavors of the pinipig. Also, being not to sweet and straightforward, this dessert is perfect for those who wants to enjoy their dessert with less sugar.


Another simple yet magnificent treat is their Turon with Langka Jam. Imagine dipping the crunchy banana lumpia into a sweet, fruity jam made out of sweetened jackfruit and sugar. I was amazed by how the bananas and langka compliment each other making the dessert a perfect treat. And for those who's not that fond of the langka, you can try their mango dip for a different but equally tasty ensemble. Along with the ginataan, this is also a classic Filipino snack that truly reflects our love for sweets and desserts.

Turon with Langka Jam

For our drinks, we had the Fresh Green and Ripe Mango Shake and the all-time Filipino favorite drink, Sago't Gulaman. All were refreshing and a sure thirst quencher and goes well with all the dishes we have eaten.

Fresh Green and Ripe Mango Shake

Sago't Gulaman

Bahay Ligaya offers a wide range of Filipino cuisine that every foodie will surely be excited about. Its like travelling all over the country and tasting every province's specialties in just one stop. Also, it feels proud to dine in a Filipino restaurant that not only serves great tasting food but also houses artifacts and artworks that have stood the test of time. With your visit, you cannot help not to be amazed of the pieces that tells a story of its own - it is not just barely good food but also great appreciation for our culture and for the arts. The restaurant also has a spacious dining hall that is perfect for family gatherings and reunion with friends and colleagues. Aside from that, you can also enjoy the drinks from their liquor bar (they are also known to be a resto-bar) in a separate smoking area or lounge in their comfortable and roomy nipa huts outside the main dining hall. Parking space is adequately provided since most of their customers are in groups or families. Security is also not a problem so as to the internet connection for they also offer free WiFi to their customers. Check out some pieces that I really wanted to share with you guys!

amazing wooden cabinets and decors that makes the restaurant's ambiance classy and timeless! also, you can dine in any of their beautiful wooden tables and chairs to have that extra feel of an exquisite Old Manila lifestyle.

this chandelier which adorns the main dining hall is made up of crystals and is my favorite piece inside the resto. i find it alluring, splendid and radiant. with its beautiful and enchanting yellow light, the restaurant's ambiance becomes more classic and elegant, perfect for romantic dates or even just a simple dinner with the family.

I have a great fascination with lamps; can't help not to love these amazing lamp pieces.

impressive wooden furniture at the al fresco part of the restaurant.

Truly, Bahay Ligaya is not just your ordinary Filipino restaurant. Picture a fusion of good food, affordable prices, great rustic ambiance, and excellent customer service all in one domicile. Most importantly, it is a place that gives significance to authentic dishes that serves as our trademarks as Filipinos. At the same time, it values our rich culture, our love for the arts, having tight family bond through good food and the lesson that we should never take the past for granted for our lives will never be the same if we do not know how to look back and learn from the things and experiences that molded who we are.

Bahay Ligaya Filipino RestaurantLuma't Bago Antique Shop

#176 Katipunan Rd., Blue Ridge A
Quezon City, Philippines
(corner of Katipunan and Bonnie Serrano going to Blue Ridge)
Business Hours: Open everyday from 11am to midnight
Contact Numbers: 4397198 / 6473834
Look for Mr. Ray Bueno

My hearfelt thanks to my dear friend, Yedy Calaguas of the Yedylicious Food Blog for the antique pieces and furniture shots; as well as for the pictures taken for the Sago't Gulaman and Sizzling Pork Sisig. Also for Donver and Cj for making us laugh the whole night. ^__^

Special thanks to Mr. Rey and Joy Bueno for the warm and kind accommodation that they have given us during our stay at the restaurant.