Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung – The Best Kapampangan Restaurant in Pampanga

Updated 1/12/2011.

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My love affair with Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung (House of Wood in Kapampangan) started last March when 22 foodies decided to bravely go where none of us have gone before. I was speechless. I was not able to complete my blog post on Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung last March 20, 2007 because of the overwhelming emotions that I don’t know where to start.

It is like a dream come true experience where you relive the experience in your head and rave about it to yourself. I felt writing about it will not bring justice to the experience because I would only write – Awesome food! Awesome hosts! Awesome ambiance! I was contented with reading the food trip account of Wysgal (Rants and Raves), Mila (Watergirl), Spanx (Manila Boy), Nena (Ramblings from a Gypsy Soul), Anne (Eat Bangus) and Joey (80 Breakfasts).

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Six (6) months after that experience, my brother, Lorenz and wife, Carmina, who got married just last October, requested me to organize a Pampanga Tour with Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung as the highlight of the trip. How could I refuse?

We were lucky to get a booking at Claude’s on the last minute because you would need advanced reservations. He usually only accept one booking per month and you need to be at least 10 because Claude and wife, Mary Anne will be your personal hosts for the 4-hour lazy weekend lunch.

People often ask me on the direction of the place. You would have to drive all the way to Pampanga via North Expressway, exit San Fernando Pampanga, find your way to the Ayala Alabang of Angeles City– which is Villa Gloria Subdivision and find your way to Claude Tayag’s house. From the outside, Bale Dutung looks an ordinary corner lot that spans a few blocks.

As you enter, it looks like an old place full of antiques where in fact, it was built only in 1998 – 80% of which came from junk of old churches, bowling alleys, and old wood furniture. Claude and Maryann emerged from their personal room on the second floor and greets you with a smile, “Welcome to Bale Dutung!”

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Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung is the Best Kapampangan Restaurant in Pampanga. It offers authentic Kapampangan Food presented artistically like a canvas painted with food. It is not fusion at all and they make sure that they remain pure and true to Kapampangan cuisine. In fact, they are criticized for offering the ordinary day-to-day Kapampangan food at a P1,800/ head fee.

You are paying for the experience of a 4-hour slow lunch cooked by one of the country’s most respected artist and served personally by his wife like their own family guests in their home. The only other couple who does a similar experience is Sunshine Puey and Rob Pengson of Gourmandise who holds a monthly degustation dinner for P2,000/ head in their Global Academy Culinary School in Pasig.

Lets go back and meet Claude (pronounced similar to cloud) and his wife Mary Anne…

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Claude is always excited to share the story of Bale Dutung. It was inspired by the camalig which is a rice storage house in Pampanga. The house was constructed for 7 years which started when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991.

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You will be touched when you see Mary Ann personally serving drinks upon your arrival. During our first visit to Claude’s, they served a cool buko juice to refresh your body and to prepare ourselves for the slow lunch.

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One of the noticeable collections in the house was the Claude’s kudkuran collection. The kudkuran was used to manually grate the coconut meat into shred.

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A serving of steamed peanuts welcomes you as you settle in the ambiance of Bale Dutung.

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Balu Dutung is cooled by natural fresh air. Instead of air-conditioning, they would often serve these frozen towels sprinkled with J&J Baby Cologne white variant. Once you put these towels on your face, you’ll remember flashes of your childhood memories ignited by the cologne.

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On our first visit, I can still remember the serving of Kapampangan sushi plate composed of sushi topped with taba ng talangka and camias, rolled mustasa leaves filled with balo balo (fermented rice) and fried hito (catfish) and mini tapsilog bites made with pindang (traditional carabeef tapa).

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Once your reservations are confirmed by Claude, they would create the menu for you. If it is your first time, you just let Claude and Mary Anne surprise you. Alternatively, you can suggest some of the food that you would like to have. I’ll share with you complete menu line up during our last visit in early November…

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The meal starts with a serving of Ensaladang Pako and Lumpiang Ubod (Fiddlehead fern salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and fried spring roll of palm heart). This is a very traditional Filipino dish and I would only eat it in Claude’s or in Ugu Bigyan’s.

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The soup is personally served by Claude and it is called Bulanglang. It is the Kapampangan’s sinigang version. The hot guava sour soup is served with huge tulang (fresh water prawns), bangus, with gabi and kangkong.

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As the first hour passes by, you began to wander around the house. One particular place of interest is Claude Tayag’s personal gallery where you can buy Claude’s paintings and other works or art.

The main dish was served at this point and you can choose between Kare Kareng Laman Dagat OR Seafood Paella. You need to specify your preference upon reservation but I would recommend the Kare Kare. My brother Lorenz, who is a self proclaimed connoisseur of Kare Kare since our childhood days, raves about Claude’s Kare Kare as the Best Kare Kare he ever tasted. The Seafood Paella is a true testament of Kapampangan cuisine where the chef made sure that the ingredients were generous and rich.

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Kare-Kareng Laman Dagat with peanuts and gata (and aligue) topped with pusit lumot (cuttle fish), tahong, and shrimps. Put some of Claude’s XO sauce and bagoong and you’ll find yourself on your third or fourth serving of this dish as almost in our group had.

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Seafood Paella topped with pusit lumot (cuttle fish), tahong, and shrimps.

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As you go around the house, you would see the pork steak grilled and only assumes a supporting role in the entire experience. It is highly recommended not to eat anything for breakfast so that you can enjoy the entire Claude Tayag lunch.

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You don’t notice the time passes you by, and you start to appreciate the things around you. One particular thing of interest were these vinegar jars where they use it to ferment vinegar naturally. You can also ask Mary Anne about how to culture you’re own vinegar.

The last course were served and make sure to reserve room for these authentic Kapampangan treats.

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Kapampangan lunch is not complete without a serving of fried hito with mustasa and balo balo (fermented rice).

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Ensaladang Talong is served specially for vegetarians in the group or those who wants to eat healthy food.

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Begucan – Binagoongang Tenga ng Baboy similar to Callos. You could also specify to serve Kapampangan sisig if you prefer.

After surviving lunch, you would go around the house and take pictures of these wooden works of art. (Thanks to Lennie for this lomo photo of ours!)

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Finally, dessert is served! Mary Anne served Claude’s White Salad composed of Macapuno, Kaong, and buco strips made by Doren Tayag.

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The late Doreen Ferandez named this dessert Paradiso which is a heavenly serving of kamote, ube, and macapuno in carabao’s milk. This is Claude Tayag’s signature dessert that you shouldn’t miss!

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Sometimes, for special moments/ occasions, Claude would invite you to their humble abode upstairs. Their house is a gallery of their personal collection of works of art from different artist.

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You can decide to purchase Claude Tayag’s book Food Tour (or bring your copy) and have him sign the book. You could also take home Claude’s Balo Balo or XO sauce to enjoy at home.

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Bale Dutung, House of Wood. (UPDATED as of 1/12/2011)
Villa Gloria Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga 
Mobile: +639175359198
Telephone: +632 668-4038, 502-4527
Official Website:

Menu #1: Kapangpangan Menu (P1,800/head)

Ensaladang Pakô
(Fiddle head fern salad)

Piniritong Lumpiang Ubod sa
Claude’9 Oriental Sauce

(Fried all vegetable spring roll with
lemon coriander Thai basil sauce)

Inasal na Manok at
Claude’9 Talangka Rice

(BBQ chicken wings with lemon grass
marinade and crab fat rice)

Adobong Pugo
(Quail – adobo style)

Talangka Sushi
Hito at Balo-Balo Sushi
(Sushi of crab fat and cat fish)

Tortillang Lechon
(Crispy roast pork flakes on a tortilla)

Bulanglang Kapampangan na may Tian ng Bangus,
Ulang at Tadyang ng Baboy

(Milkfish belly, spareribs, crayfish or prawn soup,
flavored with native guava)

Begucan Sisig Babi at Ensaladang Talong
(Pork cooked in shrimp paste with grilled eggplant)

Kare-kareng Laman Dagat
(Sea food cooked in peanut sauce)

(Dessert of yam, and coconut, eggyolk in water buffalo milk)

Sinaunang Kape, Tsaang Pandan
(Coffee and tea)

Menu #2: Lechon Menu (P1,800/head – highly recommended)

Ensaladang Pakô
(Fiddle head fern salad)

Piniritong Lumpiang Ubod sa
Claude’9 Oriental Sauce

(Fried all vegetable spring roll with
lemon coriander Thai basil sauce)

Inasal na Manok at
Claude’9 Talangka Rice

(BBQ chicken wings with lemon grass
marinade and crab fat rice)

Talangka Sushi
Hito at balo-balo Sushi
(Sushi of crab fat and cat fish)

Balat ng Lechon at Liver Sauce
(Crispy roast pork skin)

Lechon Tortilla
(Crispy roast pork flakes on a tortilla)

Inihaw na Tadyang na Lechon
at Ensaladang Talong

(Grilled pork ribs with eggplant salad)

Sinigang na Lechon
(Pork meat in sour soup)

 Lechon Sisig
(Pig’s cheeks with onion and liver sauce)

(Dessert of yam, coconut, egg yolk in water buffalo milk)

Kapeng Sinaunang Panahon
(coffee/ tea)

Menu #3: Anthony Bourdain Menu (P1,800/head) 

Ensaladang Pakô
(Fiddle head fern salad)

BBQ Paldeut at
Claude’9 Talangka Rice
(BBQ chicken tails with lemon grass
marinade and crab fat rice)

Adobong Pugo
(Quail – adobo style)

Hito at Balo-Balo Sushi
(Sushi of crab fat and cat fish)

Lechon Tortilla
(Crispy roast pork flakes on a tortilla)

Bulanglang Kapampangan na may
Tian ng Bangus, Ulang at Tadyang ng Baboy
(Milkfish belly, spareribs, crayfish or prawn soup,
flavored with native guava)

Sisig Babi
(Sizzling pork in onion and liver sauce)

Papaitan Soup
(Goat meat sour soup) or
Bone Collector
(Bone marrow in XO Adobo sauce)

Kare-kareng Buntot
(Oxtail stew in peanut sauce)

Tibok Tibok (dessert)
(pure carabao’s milk maja blanca)

Sinaunang Kape
(Coffee and tea)

How to get there from NLEX San Fernando Exit:



P.S. For the third time, we will go back to Claude’s as part of the Ultimate Kapampangan Show-Off Tour this coming Dec.15, 2007. I do hope you can join us…

The ULTIMATE Kapampangan Show-off!
Saturday December 15, 2007 | 7:30 am – 12:00 mn| Tour cost P4,800 (all in plus surprises)

“Well, not quite Manila but still close…. Journey to the Northern heartland as we immerse ourselves in things Kapampangan! From Baroque to Betute, its fun-filled day as we poke around and get intimate with the very best of Pampanga’s cultural offerings. We’ll gawk at the jewel-box of church in Betis while wading through the half-buried town of Bacolor. We’ll stuff ourselves silly with the best Kapampangan fare by one of the country’s best known Pampango chefs! To it cap-off, we’ll have front-row view of the most dazzling display of Kapmpangan artistry- the Parul Festival of San Fernando! A tour screming with Pampango pride!”

The Tour Experience
* Betis Church* Town of Bacolor*Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung Restaurant* Pampanga Specilaty Shops* Ligligan Parul Festival in San Fernando
This tour is brought to you by Our Awesome Planet, Ivan About Town, Manila Boy and Old Manila Walks . This will be the best Pampanga experience by people who love Pampanga!

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18 thoughts on “Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung – The Best Kapampangan Restaurant in Pampanga

  1. This post was a real treat! This trip is truly special and one that shouldn’t be missed by any diehard foodie(I reckon).The menu is excellent and truly Pinoy and I’ll make sure that I get to experience this when I go there next year. Thanks Anton for sharing this post!

  2. ….i love the bonding kind-culinary-arts-mini local museum pieces kind-architecture-home dining restaurant kind-socializing in mini lounges like and that family atmosphere you showed in here….good job anton in your photography in particular…..

  3. ….re:above my remarks about….love the bonding kind kasi ang mga tunay na pilipino na from pampanga masarap talaga magluto iba ang lasa…..when my husband used to work for the united states government’s via STATE department stationed outside we were once desperate finding-searching where are real filipino cuisines in europe eh theres ‘none’ decades ago so we did not experience this kind of pilipino or asian bonding isolated ako from pilipino o asian communities for almost 4 decades kaya miss excited supportive at happy ako talaga when i see heard gatherings of this kind… i will even feel better if more filipinos will do this around the philippines para spread ang fun…..

  4. Hi, Anton… nice website, really useful. I have a question for this meeting 🙂 (tour)
    Can i follow you in this Kapampangan tour? I don’t understand the timetable … Start at 7.30 in the morning and finish when? (12in the night?)
    Can u provide a map to reach the place from Manila of from Angels?
    Really thanks

  5. ….anton di ba sabi mo you wanna chat lol!….o sige pero please lang new friend tell rache to organized more high end group tours around the country not just in manila….pero tell rache na add some state of the art craftmanships tour besides any crystal clear panoramic nature rivers-lakes state of the art parks-gardens tapos doon na lang kayo mag picnic complete with uniformed attendants-butlers-servers and bring quality folding tables huge umbrellas hammocks trays canopies throw pillows and chairs[folding lahat}state of the art bon fires is what i always fantasize while doing some funny singing chorus lines crazy games including an adult kind of hide and seek or mini treasure hunting no more than 75 yards away from the fire….i love hanging gardens i am so attached to them somehow and make your own packed archery mini garden arrow try outs besides a few volleyball games or sipa{cut green leaves}up to 500 winners get free hugs and kisses lol!…or anton hang{no nails pls.}a few large dart board after meals winners get loosers to do the clearing-packing mess jobs lol!….a part fruit orchards camping is also soooo romantic anton while he can pick fruits i will help him eat the fruits if i am allowed to kiss him too lol!{joke only….hey anton rache aidan that part is really a joke {not serious]lol! my junior high school first love might have me reprimand-arrested sooner for joking too much about the hs boy lol!….lagot ako lol!….my husband will cut half of my allowances lagot din ako lol! so make sure you know what i said last was purely for laughing{fun not serious]lol!….

  6. ….hello anton-rache….you guys are good in keeping me busy lol!….i don’t know yet honestly….kasi i am waiting for my old elementary and high school schoolmates from 60’s-70’s dyan to join me sa pagsama sa mga around the country ninyong high end tours….pero that means you need to have a real folding ‘grand tents’ yung may scallops yung mga corners at ground carpetings at a lot of throw pillos and some extra comfortable folding chairs at a vilinist-musicians during meals or just to play simple card games like pekwa o 41 lol!….anton be kind lol!….some part hand painted grand tents from great artistic oil-acrylic painters from batanes islands we would’nt mind THE BEST sila so far locally lol!….we want helpers-butlers to be in in all white or in all khaki uniforms pero linen or cotton in materials not polyester the head chef in particular kasi mukhang mainit tingnan yung may mga synthetic materials lol! baka kasi pawisan kami lalo lol!
    we wouldnt mind the presence of some of the best finest looking but gentlemen from the armed forces of the philippines in the middle of the any panoramic lala land or even in the remotest paradise in philippine jungles but ONLY if it is a helicopter ‘group’ ride lol!….anton-rache that last part is a joke lol! really lol!….soon
    the boy whom i worship the grounds he walks on in junior high school will have me arrested sooner than later because of my inappropriate jokes about him in this site lol!….i shouldnt be laughing about this i can’t help it i feel like laughing kasi very happy ako lately lol!….kasi my husband said he will pay for the hs boy from the 70’s to join us in one of your and rache high end trip as a ‘treat’ sa akin i told him he will have him arrested too lol!….honestly personally i would’nt mind at all as long as it is the hs boy arresting me i would be very happy i could’nt wait to be arrested lol!….

  7. ….anton rache my jokes above this comment are purely for fun….just to laugh nothing serious{arrested lol}…..he actually save my life in a way….our jr.high school {best friend first love}boy would’nt do such a thing kasi he is our inspirations as i was growing up….the nicest most decent kind helpful person we all knew….a very special person to all of us who knew this hs boy we admire him dearly until now….and i believe he likes kapangpangan-pampanga cooking…

  8. …..happy happy new 2008 year….to all our awesome planet world wonderful inhabitants in pamganga or anywhere….no matter how poor no matter how rich nor how far or misunderstood…..still have a happy blessed year….to my elementary & high school na mga kaeskwela noong maliliit pa lahat kami lol….around almost 4 decades lang naman lol….in particular doon sa our junior high school na ‘hangang hanga’ kami sa ugali nya pero….ina-asar na asar ko naman sya lagi kaya naman asar na naman yan sa aking mga public jokes lol….lol!….sorry talaga ha….wala lang akong maasar na iba kasi nasa bakasyun silang lahat lol!….kaya nga wala ako dyan ….kasi baka pagalitan mo lang ako lol!lol!basta be happy sa many days ahead ng year na to lol!….

  9. omg, I used to live in a place 10 minutes away from Villa Gloria Subdivision but I have never heard about it until now… I would definitely visit this restaurant! thanks for sharing!

  10. Hi Anton:
    It’s already 2011, can you please update the info regarding Claude Tayag’s Bale dutung. Group tour lunch price per head, no. of people, cloud’s contact numbers, etc. thank you!

  11. Good day po sa inyo. i just want to share my story of claude tayag. this can be quite a lil long story. hehehe
    right now im here in madrid,spain working as an international chef(oven section) in a famous restaurant named Restaurante Botin(oldest resto in the world by Guiness book of world records). different people from different walks of life and from different countries eats here. from hollywood stars,well knowed peoples and some personalities coming from the philippines too. 2 yrs ago a fellow kababayan eat here with his wife. and afterwards started asking lot of questions about me. i thought he was a reporter from a Tv station in the phils. he took a photo of the resto, give a calling card and took a photo of ours too and telling me to visit him/call him if im going to have a vacation in the phils. dindt pay much attention to that. thinking that he is just one of those hundreds of clients taking picture with me. Then yesterday(january 23,2011). the same person walked in wanting to have a table for 2 but the resto is fully booked and the doorman telling me that someone is looking for me. we met finally again, but this time we have a lil time for talking. and reintroduce ourselves again.. well he is claude tayag in flesh(he is in madrid for the so called “madrid fusion, a seminar or symposium about culinary arts). after a short chat, i am really intrigue by this claude tayag and started browsing in the net to somehow find something about him. amazed by what ive found that claude is one of the best painter/sculptor we have in the phils. and we hailed in the same province also(kapampangan po ako) and a Chef itself also. last year i didnt fulfilled my promise on paying him a visit. but surely this year i will…and i will be one of those food critic he will tend in his bale dutung. I will surely try those menus. looks like they are really appetizing. and maybe i can learn more something from him more about kapampangan cuisines since im more of the european cuisine. sensya na medyo mahaba. hehehe. regards n lng po s lahat ng nagbabasa nito.

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