THE hills of Cebu City are among the must-visit places for tourists. They can spot some flower gardens or numerous plants and vegetables they can buy along the way. However, one hidden gustatory must-stop along the way is Balay sa Busay. Situated on a side of a hill along Tops Road, Balay sa Busay offers favorite Filipino dishes with a beautiful view of the hillside valley and the lush greenscape beyond, plus, the fresh unpolluted mountain air.
The restaurant’s main dining room spreads out to the open balcony for hillside-view dining. Above the dining room is an azotea for a higher look of the hills beyond. There’s also a function room, usually left open on two sides so the diners can have a share of the view.
Food, from the name of the place, is expectedly Cebuano-Filipino, curated and developed by research and development and commissary manager Kristine Kokseng who tested, tasted and put in her own take of how the food should be.
A surprise appetizer is its mixed root chips, along with fried mandunggo, sotanghon spring roll, calamares and sisig dubbed “Ang Paboritong Sisig ni Tatay.” The sisig is a house specialty, along with its “Adobong Binisaya ni Bebeng” (dry, crunchy, wonderful with a spicy dip) and “Hamonada sa Among Bukid.”
There are other surprises in the menu like Pochero Rice, which is a meal by itself; pomelo salad with toasted coconut and calamansi dressing; Chikenillo— so tender it can be cut with a saucer. Its Lechon Tinola has the usual kamunggay leaves—eating it makes one think he is eating healthier. Among the seafood items, there is mixed seafood, with or without crabs, and shrimps in buko.
The pancit (Pancit Batil-Patong), shared Kristine, is her take of a dish she tasted in Tuguegarao. It is dry, but there is a sauce that goes with it.
For dessert, there is Banana Cue Ala Mode, which is sugar-coated cardava topped with vanilla ice cream; and the Filipino classic halo-halo. There’s a wide selection of drinks: Fruit juices, sodas, coffees and teas, beers, and even wines.
There are so many items in the menu, one cannot taste all of them even on a self-declared “pista sa Busay day.” One has to go back to enjoy the rest of the food Balay sa Busay has to offer, and be surprised at how good the other Bisaya culinary offerings taste.
Balay sa Busay can accommodate up to 200 people.
It is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Sunday.