Homecooked Filipino Food @ Balay Inasal, Wisma Cosway KL

The Narra in Petaling Jaya has always been my go-to for Filipino cuisine – but since N and I were in KL, we tried Googling to see if there were any other options for Filipino food in the city. That’s how we stumbled on Balay Inasal, hidden within Wisma Cosway in KL.

It was easy to spot the restaurant, since it was the only one open in the entire row (most of the other shops were closed for the Raya holidays).

The space was pretty tight – the kitchen took up about 1/3 of the shop, its shelves stacked high with utensils, cooking ingredients, and condiments. The tables and chairs in the dining area were packed closely together, while a guitar sat on a retro-looking sofa in the corner, next to a small fridge filled with canned drinks.

Murals on the walls boasted an abstract, tropical theme, accentuated by old photographs of the Philippines, plus a couple of wide-brimmed farmers’ hats. Although it looked somewhat…cluttered, it was also very charming. A quaint, homely place where you can enjoy good food with friends.

The menu features a variety of Filipino favourites, including pork and chicken BBQ, silogs (rice and egg with a protein dish), noodles such as pancit and palabok, porridges like arroz caldo and champorado, as well as kare-kare, adobo, and of course, inasal (grilled chicken).

Inasal is a dish originating from Bacolod in the Visayas, and has become synonymous with the region. The meat is usually marinated in a mix of vinegar and calamansi together with various spices such as garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, before it is grilled. The result yields a savoury-sweet and tender meat with a smoky, peppery, and citrusy taste.

Balay Inasal menu.
If you’re here on weekdays they have lunch sets that come with a free drink and soup.

N ordered their specialty, the Chicken Inasal. He was served with a large portion of garlic rice, atchara (pickles), and a humongous chicken leg and thigh glistening with juices. The soy sauce taste was more pronounced than the vinegar, but it had great texture. The flavours were also a bit on the salty side, but you can balance it out with rice.

Traditionally when eating inasal, you add chicken oil (made from chicken drippings and annatto oil) as a topping over the meat and rice, to give it more flavour. They have bottles of these at every table, alongside soy sauce and vinegar.

I ordered the Sisig (RM20) and had rice to go with it. While it was tasty (I like the smokiness imparted into the meat from the sizzling plate, as well as the creaminess of the egg), the version here is cut into much larger chunks than I’m used to, and the fatty bits were a bit too rich for my taste. Not bad by a long shot; it’s just that I prefer more cartilage and crunch (like the version at Uncle Don’s TTDI).

Washed down the meal with iced lemon tea and a nice cold glass of Sago’t Gulaman (RM6).

As we sipped on our drinks and an OPM song played over the speakers, N commented that it felt like he was back in the Philippines. “It reminds me of the carinderias I used to go to with my friends back in college. We’d pop into one of them for a quick lunch before going home,” he recalled wistfully. I think coming from him, there’s no higher praise!

For Filipinos living in KL who crave a taste of home, Balay Inasal delivers with hearty fare served in a cozy, homely setting. Service is also friendly, although on the slow side during our visit. Our meal for two came up to RM49.


LOT G39-G40, Wisma Cosway, Jalan Raja Chulan, 50450 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: Mon-Fri (9AM – 8PM), Sat (12PM – 8PM). Closed Sundays

Phone: 011-2115 4649

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PS2: All food reviews are paid out of my own pocket unless otherwise stated. Views here are my own and are based on my personal experience. They are not meant to endorse or disparage businesses in any way.


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