Bilao’s bulalo


Today is the Philippine national hero Jose P. Rizal’s 161st birth anniversary and thoughts of Filipino food flooded me. So, to celebrate this great man of letters, I chose to order in from Bilao restaurant in New York City via DoorDash app.

It was a mistake for me to assume that there was only Kabayan in the city; in fact, there could be several other Filipino stores. And today, I found Bilao.

While skimming through the menu, I found myself in a bind: there are a lot of equally tempting choices. Ultimately, I ended up picking “bulalo” — beef shank soup simmered for hours until meat and ligaments detach from the bone. It is enriched by a medley of vegetables like corn on a cob, cabbage, potatoes, onions, and scullions. It is popular in the Tagalog region of the Philippines.

I must say that the price may be a little bit upscale for someone like myself of modest means; however, I thought I seldom order food for delivery anyway and I must sample Bilao’s cooking.

So, I thought about getting bulalo, spring rolls or “lumpia” as it is called in the Philippines, and garlic rice.

After more than half an hour, my order arrived.

Bulalo lived up to my expectations. The soup is rich and not watered down, just how my mother, aunt, and grandmothers make it. It truly reminds me of home.

For a $20 Filipino soup, the serving is sufficient for a party of three—that is, of three moderately hungry individuals. Of course, if the restaurant offered more soup, it might be enough for a family; after all, we eat bulalo with big servings of rice.

I highly recommend diners or those who are considering to place an order for delivery to try Bilao.

Meanwhile, as for my second item, spring rolls, I must confess I was a little disappointed. It was too expensive at $11 for several small pieces. I think the restaurant should consider pairing this with another meal to make it more affordable. How about throwing in three pieces for every order of noodles like canton or bihon.

Thank God I got bulalo, it more than made up for my disappointment with the lumpia.

Because of this pleasant experience with bulalo, I might consider trying Bilao’s other dishes; I am craving for kare-kare, lechon kawali, and menudo. Perhaps on Manuel L. Quezon’s day I might try one of these.

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