I was blown away when I first tried Owa’s grilled tuna panga (tuna jaw) at the Silay Food festival. It was so delicious that I had to visit Owa’s balay pangahan in Silay.
The restaurant is tiny, seating only about twenty people at most. Black and white photographs of fishermen catching Tuna hang from the walls.
Owa’s balay pangahan house specials are grilled tuna jaw and grilled tuna belly as well as various tuna dishes. Fresh tuna is shipped to Silay from Gen. Santos city (a fishing city known for its fresh seafood).
Once it reaches Silay, Owa’s chef and owner, Mari Stelle Estrella (Stelle to her friends) cooks it up and serves it to her customers. The Tuna jaw is marinated and grilled and served with a delicious coconut – peanut spicy sauce. It is this tasty combination that keeps her customers coming back for more.
Owa’s balay pangahan house specialty – grilled tuna panga served with two sauces– a peanut sauce and a spicy vinegar. Both are extremely good. 185 php with grilled vegetables.
Stelle is a culinary graduate who fell in love with Tuna as a little girl when her lola made her delicious tuna sinigang. Stelle was too young to pronounce “lola” properly so she would call her lola, “Owa”. The cute nickname stuck and so Stelle eventually named the restaurant after her lola.
Tuna jaw is extremely fun to eat. There’s a lot of hidden meat inside the nooks and crannies of the bones. It’s fun to pry apart the jaw to see what you can find. The exposed meat somehow tastes better too.
Owa’s Balay Pangahan also has delicious desserts. We sampled their delicious Halo Halo turon in which chilled ube, nata and various other halo halo ingredients are wrapped in a turon wrapper and deep fried. The result is a delicious turon that has contrasting temperatures -cold and chewy inside and sweet, hot and crispy outside.
We also got to try Dilis con leche – Stelle’s dessert that she created in culinary school.
Dilis con leche is a twist to the traditional polvoron. Finely ground dilis (small dried fish) is mixed into the polvoron milk powder. The result is a distinct tasting dessert. I’ll be honest, I loved the dessert’s contrasting tastes of fish and milk (I love dilis) but my parents who were dining with me didn’t think it was that great. So, this dessert is quite an acquired taste and may not be a hit with others. I recommend trying it!
Owa’s balay pangahan is located on Mana-ul street, Silay City. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Open Wednesdays – Sundays
11AM–2PM then open again at 5–9:30PM