“Food is an eloquent way to communicate when you do not speak each other’s language.”-Anonymous.
A destination favored by food enthusiasts and foodies alike, it is no secret that Bacolod is one of the top food destinations in the country.
That said, it is inevitable for the City of Smiles to have its own share of homegrown and native dishes that locals and visitors have come to love. Dubbed as the Sugarbowl of the Philippines, Bacolod City certainly has no shortage of delectable and tasty sweets. Beyond cakes, pastries, and other delectable treats, however, Bacolod also has its fair share of mouthwatering savory food items. With that in mind, a food trip to the City of Smiles would be incomplete without getting to try their most famous dish, the chicken inasal.
WHAT IS CHICKEN INASAL?
So, what is chicken inasal? To the uninitiated, chicken inasal is a type of grilled chicken dish that has been marinated in a special sauce. The term inasal came from the Hiligaynon word asal, which means skewed when translated. That said, an inasal is skewered food, and essentially, chicken inasal is grilled skewered chicken.
WHAT IS CHICKEN INASAL MADE OF?
Back then, chicken inasal only used the breast, thigh, and wing parts of the chicken. As time went by, other parts were also utilized. One notable thing about chicken inasal is that it is made with a special marinade. Unlike the usual marinade that consists of soy sauce and calamansi, inasal uses something different. Marinade ingredients vary depending on the restaurant you are getting your chicken inasal from, but the staples are typically calamansi, garlic, ginger, and sinamak (coconut vinegar).
CHICKEN INASAL HISTORY
Chicken inasal has a colorful and interesting history. In the early days, it used to be the food of the farmers and the less privileged. Today, however, it is a Bacolodnon dish enjoyed by everyone. The inasal industry saw a boom when the sugar industry crisis back in the seventies and eighties. At that time, the Negrenses were compelled to look for a new source of income. A considerable majority of them could not afford to buy the whole chicken, so they would buy parts of it to grill and sell it. It was not until 1979 that the mayor of Bacolod then built a complex for inasal sellers. This was mainly done to relocate them so that the smoke coming from the grill would not inconvenience pedestrians and motorists. Today, the complex still stands as is known as the Manokan Country, which is located across SM City Bacolod.
Now that you have an idea what chicken inasal is, it would be unforgivable not to make a chicken inasal food trip on your next Bacolod food trip. To get the best out of your chicken inasal crawl, below are some of the best places to get chicken inasal.
1.) AIDA’S CHICKEN
Aida’s is one of the oldest chicken inasal grillers in Bacolod City. If you wish to have an authentic experience with chicken inasal, you should definitely visit Aida’s Chicken in Manokan Country. Apart from being one of the best-tasting chicken inasals in the city, Aida’s is also one of the authentic Bacolod chicken inasal grillers that have franchises all over the country. They have two in Cebu and several in Metro Manila. However, while the chicken in Aida’s in other franchises tastes just as great, you can only get the authentic chicken inasal experience in their Bacolod Branch.
One of the most notable things about the chicken inasal in Aida’s is that each bite is flavorful and tender. It typically comes served on a green plate, and the chicken is best paired with garlic rice. For a burst of flavor, dip your chicken meat with their vinegar, which is far better than any of the vinegar served in other places. To elevate your meal, be sure to order a plate of fresh talaba (oysters) from the vendors outside.
2.) MASSKARA CHICKEN INASAL
Masskara Chicken Inasal is one of the relatively new chicken inasal restaurants in the city, but the restaurant was quick to rise to the top. The name of the restaurant is obviously inspired by Bacolod’s famous Masskara Festival, and its logo features a black-feather chicken carrying a mask. Their first restaurant opened in the city back in 2012. In their seven years of operation, they have opened seven branches in Visayas and Metro Manila.
The best thing about Masskara Chicken Inasal is that it is modest in price but grand in taste. The restaurant can proudly carry the name of Bacolod City’s famed festival because it has one of the city’s best-tasting chicken inasals. What makes the restaurant even better is that they serve other dishes that taste just as great. Whether you are ordering a plate of sizzling sisig, veggies, meat, or seafood, you are guaranteed to enjoy a burst of explosive flavor in every bite!
3.) CHICKEN HOUSE
Chicken House is probably one of the oldest chicken inasal restaurants in the city. As it has been in operation for more than forty years, the restaurant is considered a Bacoleño institution. If you want a proper introduction to chicken inasal, you should definitely visit Chicken House. Their version is quite unique and distinct as the chicken is tender, flavorful, beautifully charred, and amazingly crispy. Unlike most chicken inasal versions, Chicken House managed to give their chicken a nice char with a crisp texture.
Chicken House can be found in several locations in Bacolod. So, if you ever get the chance, never miss the chance to try it.
4.) NENA’S ROSE
Another chicken inasal establishment you should try is Nena’s Rose which also has a stall in Manokan Country. They also have their own version of chicken inasal, which tastes good. Do not miss out on their chicken butts, as they are wonderfully charred and juicy.
Nena’s Rose has several branches in the city and can be found all over Bacolod City.