Cabalen Restaurant

Cabalen Restaurant: Buffet of Authentic Filipino Cuisine + Giveaway

Filipinos love to eat so it’s no wonder that buffet style restaurants are a mainstay in the restaurant scene. One of the most established and well-known buffet restaurants in the Philippines is Cabalen restaurant which offers Filipino cuisine especially Kapampangan Dishes.

Starting out as a small “Bahay Pasalubong” that focuses in specialty dishes in Pampanga, they started their first buffet operation at West Avenue carrying the family name, Cabalen. Cabalen restaurant right then made sure that they offer scrumptious traditional Filipino dishes which are the recipes of some of the best cooks in Pampanga, regarded as the “culinary capital of the Philippines.” Now, on it’s 30th year, the Cabalen Group of Restaurants has a long list of branches in the Philippines and one international branch.

We recently were blessed with the opportunity to be among the bloggers for their first blogger’s event. Invited or not everything written here are our own based on our buffet dining experience.


Interior & Ambiance

Cabalen Restaurant

The Cabalen SM City Megamall branch we went to has a modern look yet the traditional Filipino home ambiance was retained. Their dining chairs’ seats are of woven cane, while the wooden tables can easily be arranged to form long tables. Everything also was well-lit complementing the bright personalities of the Cabalen’s staff. Finally, the chandelier fixture and intricate wooden carvings added sophistication to the place making it ideal for celebrating occasions.



In this particular branch we ate at, Cabalen features not only Filipino, but also Asian dishes. And for this Filipino-Asian buffet they charge  PhP 398 (or 7.98 USD). Otherwise, it’s only PhP 298 (or 5.98 USD) for an all Filipino buffet.


Once seated, you’ll easily notice the table display about Cabalen’s clean plate policy. We applaud them for doing so. Not only is food wastage reduced, but it instills positive value to customers that they get only what they can finish.


Appetizers/ Starters Station

Cabalen Restaurant

Among these, what we dove our hands in the most was the CRISPY KANGKONG, or battered water spinach leaves. The batter wasn’t light so it ended up a bit stiff instead of downright crispy. However, it’s a great crowd-pleaser nonetheless with its smooth sauce.


Asian Favorites Station

This station has a bit of Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes that are familiar to Filipinos.

Cabalen Restaurant

The “TAPANG KALABAW,”or dried cured Carabao meat, definitely caught our attention. Not just because it was a Kapampangan delicacy placed among Chinese food, but because it’s Carabao meat. Me-An was hesitant to try it so, being the foodie that I am, I ate several pieces of it. It resembles pork tocino (or sweet cured pork) with its color and tenderness, but its taste is leaning more to sourness.


Cabalen Restaurant

Although it wasn’t Cabalen’s specialty, their sushi maki were marketable to their customers especially the younger ones. You can even see my hand getting some for myself. It was a good decision for them to include it in their selection.


Salad Station

Cabalen Restaurant

Salad lovers can help themselves with Cabalen’s self-serve salads which include fresh greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, shredded corn and some tossed salads like the bitter gourd salad. What I found interesting among their salad dressings is their bagoong vinaigrette.



Soup Station

Cabalen Restaurant

The soups they’ve offered were the hearty SINIGANG NA BABOY  and BULALO SOUP perfect for warming one’s tummy.


Cabalen Restaurant

I had the warm BULALO, or beef marrow stew. The beef shank was tender and the broth was deliciously full-bodied in taste. If you have high cholesterol though, it is recommended to avoid this.


Main Courses Station

Cabalen Restaurant

Those who are terribly hungry can proceed straight to the main courses which include DINUGUAN (or “Pork Blood Stew”), GINTAANG KUHOL (or “snails in coconut milk”) and many more.


Cabalen Restaurant

Of course, we couldn’t miss eating Cabalen’s famous KARE-KARE, (or ox tripe stew) that won against the other versions of kare-kare in Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho‘s show.  We savored the fresh vegetables and tender meat swimming in a rich peanut sauce. It is enjoyable all the more when paired with their bagoong alamang (or shrimp paste).

Cabalen Restaurant

Cabalen restaurant also offer grilled items such as tilapia, bangus (or milkfish), and hito (or catfish).


Finally, a variety of sizzling sisigs served upon request is offered. The best one of all was the bangus sisig for its captivating flavor.


Dessert Station

Cabalen Restaurant

Customers can also make their own halo-halo, but not the classic one for lack of ingredients. However, Cabalen customers can also make GUINOMIS, a variation of halo-halo that uses sago, gulaman, toasted pinipig, crushed ice and refreshing coconut milk instead of evaporated milk.



Cabalen Restaurant

Other desserts offered are popular Filipino desserts such as sweetened Saba bananas, sampelot (or sticky rice balls in coconut milk), bico (or rice cake made from sticky rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar), fresh fruits, and a chocolate fondue with marshmallows that kids and chocoholics will certainly like.


Cabalen Restaurant

With Christmas right around the corner, Cabalen also offers holiday sweet treats. What we’ve seen during our visit was just the SUMAN BULAGTA, a Filipino sweet sticky rice cake steamed in banana leaf. This one was doesn’t have the banana leaf covering anymore.

Other Christmas specialty dishes and sweet treats offered are Seafood Paella, Vegetarian Paella, Paella Negra, Callos, Bibingka and Native Choco.


Cabalen Restaurant is Reasonable

Cabalen Restaurant

Whether you’re good at eating in buffet restaurants or not, Cabalen restaurant is a reasonable choice to eat at with family and friends. Everyone gets to stuff their stomachs with all they can eat authentic Filipino foods of their choice. No fights over what to order! No waiting time for food to be served. There will only be good conversations while eating and waiting to be hungry again.

Overall, we personally think that it’s also reasonable for casual dates. I like the fact that I don’t need to go over budget just so we can eat a variety of dishes and be satisfied. We also love the fact that the original taste of the dishes were preserved. Therefore, we definitely recommend this to our foreign friends and balikbayan friends especially that it is conveniently present in major locations.

Cabalen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We would love for you to try Cabalen too if you still haven’t or give you the opportunity to eat there once again. So, together with Cabalen, we are giving away buffet passes for 2.

By joining, entrants confirm they are at least 13 years of age and is a Philippine resident.


Note: Winner will be announced on Dec. 8, 2016, 8PM.

Cabalen Giveaway

Cabalen Restaurant Branches



  •  Cabalen Robinsons Place Manila | Ground Floor, Sta. Monica Atrium, Robinsons Place Manila, Pedro Gil, Ermita, Manila.


  • Cabalen SM City Megamall | Third Level, Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

Pasay City

  • Cabalen SM Mall of Asia | Ground Floor, Entertainment Mall Bldg., SM Mall of Asia, Bay Boulevard, Pasay City.




  • Cabalen SM City Bacolod | Ground Floor, Expansion Building SM City Bacolod.


  • Cabalen SM City Lipa | Second Floor, SM City Lipa, Lipa City, Batangas.


  • Cabalen SM City Baliwag Bulacan | Ground Floor, SM City Baliwag, Bulacan.
  • Cabalen SM City San Jose Del Monte | Second Floor, SM City San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.


  • Cabalen SM City Cabanatuan | 4th level, SM City Cabanatuan.


  • Cabalen SM City Bacoor | Third Floor, SM City Bacoor. Tirona Highway, Bacoor City, Cavite.
  • Cabalen SM City Dasmariñas | Lower Ground Floor,  SM City Dasmariñas, Cavite.
  • Cabalen SM City Trece Martires | Second Floor, SM City Trece Martires, Cavite.


  • Cabalen SM City Cebu | Ground Floor, SM City Cebu, The Northwing Area, North Reclamation Area, Cebu City.
  • Cabalen SM Seaside Cebu | Ground Floor, SM Seaside Complex, Cebu City.

Quezon City

  • Cabalen West Avenue | #67 West Avenue, Quezon City.
  • Cabalen TriNoma | Second Level, TriNoma, EDSA cor.  North Ave., Quezon City.
  • Cabalen SM City North Edsa | Third Floor, City Center, SM City North Edsa, EDSA cor. North Ave., Quezon City.
  • Cabalen SM City Fairview | Ground Floor, Annex 1, SM City Fairview, Quirino Highway, Quezon City.


  • Cabalen SM City San Lazaro | Lower Ground Floor, SM City San Lazaro.


  • Cabalen Glorietta 2 |  Second Floor, New Glorietta 2, Ayala Center, Makati City.


  • Cabalen Alabang Town Center | Ground Floor, Entertainment Complex, Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa.


  • Cabalen Subic | Ground Floor, Harbor Point, Ayala Mall, Rizal Highway, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City.


  • Cabalen Robinsons Pampanga | Ground Floor, Robinsons Starmills, San Fernando, Pampanga.
  • Cabalen SM City Clark | Ground Floor, SM City Clark, Clarkfield, Pampanga.
  • Cabalen SM City Pampanga | Ground Floor, Activity Center, SM City Pampanga, San Fernando, Pampanga.


  • Cabalen San Bruno, USA | 495 San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno, CA 94066,


  • Cabalen Market! Market! | Ground Floor, Fiesta Market, Market Market, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig



SM City Sta. Rosa, SM City Southmall, SM City Iloilo, SM City Manila, and SM City Davao.

37 Responses to “Cabalen Restaurant: Buffet of Authentic Filipino Cuisine + Giveaway”

  1. Carmencita Watkins

    The Kare-Kare of Cabalen is always a favorite of mine. It’s the first dish I dig in from their buffet! I love the consistency of the sauce…the tender meat and veggies plus that yummy shrimp paste that complements the whole dish!!!

  2. Jenipher Labarejos

    Kare-Kare!! Haven’t tried dining in Cabalen just yet, but I’ve heard good comments and recommendations from my closest and well trusted friends, especially for this dish! I’m so excited to try it and everything (I’ll definitely going to dig in) on the menu myself 🙂

  3. Riyalyn Gatdula

    I would love to indulge myself with these mouth watering dishes like kalderetang baka, crispy kangkong, paksiw na salmon belly and their dessert station! Haha!

  4. I love Cabalen and the Kapampangan cuisine in general. Reading this post made me crave for some yummy burong mangga and burong isda. The ginataang kuhol and dinuguan in Cabalen is something everyone should try as well. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos. I’ll probably go to a Cabalen near me before the month ends.


    Classic. Cabalen has been around for ages already. Sure, I have eaten there in all the decades it has been in existence. I think for chain restaurants, halos sila lang yata ang Filipino dish na tumagal na rin eh. Food looks good, as usual, lalo like me who loves local dishes. 🙂

    • Cabalen here in Bacolod is cheaper but have less choices. I am hoping that they would offer maki and siomai too. The bulalo that they have do not the bone marrow part. 🙁 Anyway, we still continue to visit Cabalen because of their Kare-Kare and Lechon Kawali. I think my family visits Cabalen at least once a month.

      Will join your giveaway. 🙂

  6. Good honest review. I went a few months ago and I wasnt as impressed as I thought I would be. The food was average in my opinion. I love Kapampangan food though. Big big fan!!!

  7. I can’t wait for their Davao branch to open soon! I have spot a lot of treats that I would like to try. I love desserts and most likely, I’d love to try their Halo-halo. Guinomis is interesting too. If you really love food, I also think this place is a go-to.

  8. Clean plate policy? I’ve never heard of it in my life.. Not sure what I think, but I guess it’s good to stop the waste. I love buffets so I think that Cabalen would be good fit for me. It seems to be a fresh and nice restaurant by looking at your photos.

  9. I have quite a number of fun and memorable moments and celebrations with my family at Cabalen. Its classic and has been the first buffet filipino restaurant that we used to visit years back until new and more expensive and posh buffet restos came popping one by one. I just have to agree that yes, Cabalen is very reasonable.. one reason why we still keep coming back..

  10. I love Cabalen especially their kare-kare.. I just wonder where is their original branch in Pampanga.. I’ve heard that they started in San Fernando.. I will be in Pampanga few weeks from now and I think it would be nice to include the original Cabalen branch in my iti haha

  11. Love the video!!! I love Cabalen too, brought my mom last mother’s day and she enjoyed it. It’s good they added selections since nakulangan kami when we ate at the moa branch. This is a good giveaway too! 🙂

  12. I have walked passed Cabalen’s buffets everytime I pass their restaurant. I didn’t know they offer such wide selections for a very affordable buffet price. I might ask my dad to go with me to try this the next time we meet. I love kare kare and if it’s the best they’ve got to offer, i’m down for it!

  13. Mark Magno

    Food is life a simple as that hoping to win for my mom 💙💙💙 kare- Kare, sisig ginataang suso all of the above!!!

  14. We love Cabalen. Had one of my baby showers there before. 🙂 It’s always nice to go back there and indulge! hahaha But not too good for our health.

  15. Arselyn de Guzman-Intoy

    Cabalen’s Kare-kare is the bomb!
    I hope to win so my hubby can also taste this mouth-watering dish.

  16. fe marcelino

    Would love to eat Cabalen’s Kare kare which is such a classic! Thank you for writing about this!

    Ig: fe_cjas fb: Fe Cjas

  17. I think my favorite is the fish plate. Tilapia sounds so familiar. We too call it by the same name.
    I also liked the poster stating wastage of food is costly. This saves lot of food and helps develop good eating habits.

  18. Ayeng Abon

    Kare-Kare is one of my favorites. Their version is like a temptation I cant resist. Hope to dine there again I will bring my date this Holiday! Thanks for the write ups. Iv enjoyed reading get hungry too.

  19. Ayeng Abon

    Thank You for a wonderful honest review. Hope to dine there again this Holiday

  20. Rachelle Therese F. Gonzales

    I’d love to go back for kuhol (my fave at Cabalen)

  21. Phoebe Roberto

    Though we rarely serve this food at home, there is no better place to have Kare-Kare than at Cabalen’s 🙂 Would love to try this awesome meal again! 🙂

  22. I do not like buffet. When husband and I had buffet years ago, we almost threw up. It was a bad experience. Bad experience because we tried to eat everything even if we were full already. Last october, husband celebrated his birthday and we tried Cabalen buffet. We were afraid at first but the boys were pushy. And we enjoyed our experience. Because we only ate what we can. Or perhaps the food are Filipino favorites. We also ate in moderation. So if given the chance, I.Would love to.return to.cabalen I lovd their dinuguan and sisig.

  23. Aldrin Montierro

    I haven’t tried Cabalen but reading your review made me feel hungry. Cabalens menu are very promising. I can’t wait to try it and I will definitely bring my wife with me. I am excited to eat the Kare-kare, Sisig, and Ginataang Kuhol. I really wanted to try all, really. Also the Guinomis for desserts! Yum, Yum, Yum. 🙂

  24. Roxane Montierro

    I am excited to try Cabalen’s Kare-kare and the Bulalo. I will not missthe Tibok-tibok, Guinomis, shakes too. My hubby and I loves to eat and try different kinds of food, especially Filipino food. We enjoy each other’s company and talking how the food we are ate differs from each other. What is the best part of the menu, the service, the ambiance, the staff, and everything. Given a chance to dine with Cabalen, I will definitely drag my hubby along. My tummy is hungry and it is really craving now for Cabalen!

  25. mariellen cruz

    i love their pork sisig and alltime favorite kare kare.. hmmm.. im hungry #Cabalen3Dekada #HolidaysatCabalen

  26. Jerico Cruz

    I love their version of sinigang . just the right balance of acidity. and i wouldn’t forget their dessert section. lots and lots of kakanin.

  27. What I know about Cabalen aside from the restaurant and the food is they host an Ultimate tourney. That’s right — frisbee in Pampanga! Part of the registration fee is the buffet of food. Just by that, traveling all the way to Pampanga just for Ultimate is worth it!

  28. I love Cabalen, my favorite dish is their pork binagoongan! Which reminds me it has been ages since I last dine there. I sure hope I can visit their nearest branch soon. Sometimes, a good and hearty Filipino meal is all you need to brighten up your day and Cabalen has way too many delicious things to offer!

  29. Cabalen is a classic. One of the firsts that offers a buffet set up that offers filipino dishes curled up into other delicacies all over Asia. Yep, their kare-kare has always been a bomb. The price is very reasonable and still cheaper compared to other buffets. 🙂

  30. Tried Cabalen here at SM Cabanatuan. The price is reasonable and the food is great. Would like to go back on my bday this sunday :). Really enjoyed diy halo2


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