Balay Negrénse Goes Organic With Organic Lunch


Resting a while in the resthouse of Fresh Start Organic Farm, I overheard that there will be an organic lunch at our destination in Balay Negrénse. I thought all along that we would be eating in Balaring but instead, we will actually be savoring the organic products harvested at the farm. Our guide even mentioned of the organic lechon made from the vegetarian pig. If you just read this article and do not have a nick of idea of what it is, it is best to refer to my previous blog entry. Seems like they prepared a hearty lunch for us after all. I haven’t been to Balay Negrénse and the prospect of eating there in style gets me all the more exciting.

Going down the city bus, we were eagerly went to the table to check on the food available for our lunch. We were greeted immediately with the organic lechon on the table. Among all food selections on the table, the organic lechon got me by the wayside since I was curious with how the lechon would taste like and, how about the fat content? Turns out that fat is negligible at all with a tender and tasty meat. I did not taste a single langsa in the meat and it was a pleasant experience eating it with no dizzying feeling after eating. All I can say is that this is the best lechon I have tasted so far but I wished they kept the lechon from being exposed in the air so that it had retained its crispiness. Taste wise? It was a heavenly treat.

Asking about the rice, there is no sign of white rice here whatsoever. What we have here is actually a mix of all healthy rice variants ranging from brown, red and black rice. Really? My family is a fan of brown and red rice but I have not tasted black rice before. Speaking of black rice, a myth once said that if you are walking on a secluded trail and someone invites you to eat food with black rice, never accept it for you will never return to the real world. Junking myths aside, I chose black rice with mixed vegetables and fried kalkag. Fortunately, I was able to return to the real world and tell my tasty tale. Black rice has a sweeter and stickier consistency but tastier than your usual rice. This goes as well with your brown and red rice too.

After a busy round of lechon, I decided to look on the vegetables served on the table. I found mixed vegetable adobo of takway, eggplant and okra with bagoong to add further taste and some chilis to spice or garnish on top. For those who are not familiar with takway, it is a marsh-grown vegetable that is taken from the shoots of taro plant. This is an award-winning recipe and has been continually served in the adobo festival every Cinco de Noviembre on that same spot where we are eating. Takway is supposedly a sacada dish since it grows mostly on swampy farmland but nowadays, enterprising chefs has lift the takway from its lowly status in the farms to the tables of some fining dining restaurants in Bacólod and Manila with laswa or as adobo in itself.

Being a kilawin lover, I was elated to have found kinilaw nga tangigue on the table with some steamed okra immersed in bagoong. For those going to Negros, kinilaw nga tangigue is a must since tangigue is very much abundant in Negros Island. If you are going to restaurants or even simply wet markets in Manila, you will find tangigue disturbingly expensive there. Kinilaw or kilawin is very much similar to the ceviche of Latinoamerica only that the Negros variant sometimes put coconut milk into the mix apart from cane vinegar. In some restaurants and household recipes, you will be even find salted eggs added with tomatoes, chilis, onions and calamansi to add or improve taste. Missing kinilaw na tangigue, I got a lot on my plate and it never goes sum-od or nakaka-umay.

If you something more fishy, there is also fish buried in tons of flavorful fruits to taste like pineapples and passionfruit with eggs as sidings. Though I have seen a passionfruit and has tried passionfruit juice, its my first time to have seen passionfruit served on a dish. Getting bit of fish on my plate, I took some passionfruit. Not knowing how a passionfruit taste but to my surprise, passionfruit is actually sour. No wonder why they turned it into a juice mixed with sugarcane but the sourness has class and flavor too.

Though late on the table, I was able to enjoy tinola too made from native free-range chicken. Native free-range chicken, or what is locally called bisaya nga manok, is a kind of chicken raised inside an enclosed wide space. Instead of being fed with corn or any kind of processed feeds, they are set loose to feed on whatever they can find on the ground or on the leaves of kamias trees. The usual regimen in cooking tinola is having papayas and ginger to remove the langsa or bloody smell but ginger is not as effective all the time. In Negros however, tanglad or lemongrass is used with ginger to not only remove the smell but to enhance flavor with aroma. Malunggay or horseradish tree leaves were mixed when the cooking is almost done as not to completely wilt the leaves.

Just as I thought tinola was the last dish to arrive, roasted duck immersed in pineapple sauce also added to our delight. Like the chicken used in tinola, this duck too is free range and set loose to feed on plants, insects and some small snails. Free range ducks are most flavorful since ducks set loose produces dark meat which is most flavorful and less with fats. In fact, this roasted duck is leaner than what is usually served in Chinese restaurants too but the meat is oozing in flavor especially enhanced by pineapple juice. With potatoes as sidings, its a filling treat which reminds me of dessert. While there were cookies on the table, what attracted the attention of guests was the homemade piaya.

I was able to document the whole process of making piaya and while I was able to wait a while, the Manila Bloggers were very much eager to see piaya making in action. The lightning speed of the cook in making piaya amazed the onlookers which was very excited to munch on the proud delicacy from Negros. While Bacólod is known for piaya, the first documented piaya was made in Silay but then on was sold in Bacólod bakeries. It was good that piaya-making was exhibited from the city of its roots with an extra-special treat too since the filling was also mixed with sweet mangoes. They served organic coffee too and prefered mine done in latte to compliment my plate of piaya. It was a filling afternoon indeed for me and other bloggers. While I was enjoying my cup of organic latte, a call from the tour guide was my signal that we will be touring Balay Negrénse in a while.

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More photos on the Organic Lunch at Balay Negrénse in the Photo Blog.

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About Mark Mayo - Magallanes

MARK MAYO - MAGALLANES – blogger by passion, cook by hobby, student by life, theater actor by fate, writer by work, and Christian by grace. Part Filipino, Chinese and Spanish by blood, he is proudly 100% Negrénse. His love for his home Island of Negros, heritage and lifestyle has led him to write much about it and full-time, all-time. View all posts by Mark Mayo - Magallanes

14 responses to “Balay Negrénse Goes Organic With Organic Lunch

  • paoloabdon

    Your organic lunch seems to be both highly appealing to the eyes and tongue. Beautiful presentations and interesting food choices. I wonder how did they make the veggie lechon healthy from the inside out? Black rice is something that I haven’t heard of until I read this article. 🙂

    • Mark Mayo - Magallanes

      If you read my previous blog, you will see why the pig is called vegetarian. The person eating the pig is obviously not vegetarian but the pig itself is vegetarian. I’ll try to organize this kind of tour again in Silay with the tourism office for an affordable pay naman. 🙂 Black rice has been the substance of some myths and legends pero obviously me still being here and able to blog it confirms that there is no such thing. The taste of black rice is legendary and worth noting. 😀

  • LasalleBacolod

    oh, im curious what are the taste of organic foods,i always ate a food that has fertilizer fattend..how i wish i tatste that vegetable too. wow u says black rice? i wonders whats the taste of it..first time i hear the black rice food

  • LasalleBacolod

    oh its nice thanks in the info..if we ate not fertilized food..it was healthy food,i want to try to eat that kind of food with no fertilizer and chemicals of it..or maybe i can try to plant veges that have no chemicals on it

    • Mark Mayo - Magallanes

      May fertilizer ma na giyapon, organic lang galing. Indi magdabong iya tubo kung wala fertilizer. Nami ang organic fertilizer, law-ay ang chemical fertilizer. Ang chemicals sa chemical fertilizers, amo na ang naga-hilo sa duta ta so ang tubo sang iban na tanum kalaw-ay. Ang ginahimo sang organic fertilizer, ginabalik ang sustansya kag bitamina nga nadula sa duta kay tungod sa chemicals. 🙂

      Pwede ka guid ka istorya sa akun sa Hiligaynon para makaintiendehanay ta sang maayo kay 100% Negrénse guid ko, dako sa Negros, diri lang nagka-career sa Manila. 😀

  • Martin Banana

    I’m so annoyed! The other members of the Bacolod Food Hunters skipped out on documenting THIS event because they wanted to watch pacquiao!! ~facedesk~

    I was on duty at the hospital and was unable to attend. Thanks for making such a great post and photos mike!

    • Mark Mayo - Magallanes

      Kaya pala I did not spot anyone from Bacólod Food Hunters. Its was a fun experience. 🙂 If you want, I can guest post in Bacólod Food Hunters so that you’ll have an article about it. I’ll just use pics without the RepúblicaNegrénse watermark. 😀

  • Isabel Rodriguez

    I’ve neve seen organic food look this good! And now, I want kinilaw na tanigue! Hungry nooow. -_-

  • Kc Canlas

    My weakness is perfectly illustrated by the second photo. ^___^

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