Beyond Inasal: Five Bacolodnon Food Items You Should Definitely Try

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art”

-François de la Rochefoucauld. 

Known as the City of Smiles, the City of Bacolod offers a myriad of activities for tourists, travelers, and locals alike. Over time, it has gained popularity as a demand destination owing to its many historical landmarks, ancestral homes, churches, fun festivals, and festivities. However, if there is one thing visitors often do in the city, it is to indulge in a food trip. Regarded as one of the places with the best cuisine and food items, a food trip in Bacolod is pretty much akin to a pilgrimage to homegrown restaurants where the delicacies are delicious and as satisfying as they come. In fact, they are known to be so tasty and good that people from other provinces often visit the city just to have them prepared fresh from the kitchen. 

Trying out the local delicacies and native cuisine of a place does not only quell your hunger pangs after a day of touring, but it also offers you a glimpse of Bacolod’s unique culture and history. As a certified foodie’s haven, the City of Smiles offers quite a variety of delicacies and food items. It has the freshest seafood and the most delightful desserts. After all, the city is not known as the sugar capital of the country for nothing. However, if there is one dish Bacolod is most notably known for, it is their scrumptious chicken dish called chicken inasal. Before we get to the beloved and favorite dish of the city, however, let us take a look at the other local delicacies and most sought-after restaurants in the area. Sure enough, when you get to try the various dishes below, you will exclaim “Namit gd” or “This is good!” much like the people from Bacolod do. 

1.) Piaya 

A trip to Bacolod is incomplete without trying a Piaya. To the uninitiated, a piaya or Piyaya is the city’s most famous delicacy, which consists of toasted muscovado sugar or ube and dough. While there are other flavors available for this tasty treat, the muscovado and ube piaya varieties have been crowd favorites ever since. Piayas are great treats to pair with hot coffee as they can offset the coffee’s bitter taste with its sweetness. You can find a piaya vendor in almost every nook and cranny of the city. 

2.) Biscocho, Barquillos, and other delicacies

Other particular delicacies that are often found in pasalubong centers are the Biscocho, Barquillos, and other delicacies. These beloved delicacies are great treats to much on when in Bacolod. Barquillos are noted for their thin appearance. They are typically sweet crunch wafer rolls paired with ice cream. On the other hand, Biscocho is a sweet crunch bread covered with sugar and butter best paired with hot chocolate or coffee. Both can be eaten as is or as additional ingredients to other more elaborate desserts such as halo-halo. They are typically found in pasalubong stores, with the most popular brands being Merczi, Bongbong’s, and Sugarlandia. 

3.) Napoleones 

If you want to try a delicacy that is distinctly Bacolodnon in nature, you should definitely not miss out on the sweet napoleones. Perfect for individuals with a sweet tooth, napoleoenes is the city’s rendition of a puff pastry. The pastry is made of thin layers of flaky dough with custard filling in between each layer. It is topped off with a glaze of melted white sugar. These treats are typically sold in boxes and are best paired with a cup of coffee to strike a balance to the pastry’s sweetness. Most pasalubong centers around the city offer this local pastry where these are made fresh, but the best ones come from Merczi. 

4.) Cansi 

A bowl of Cansi is Bacolod’s version of the classic Filipino bulalo. This bowl of soup’s flavor is quite distinct—so much so that any adventurous foodie will enjoy a hot bowl of this beloved Bacolodnon soup. After all, it is Bacolod’s best-kept secret. Cansi is a local soup made with beef shanks and vegetables with its flavorful sour taste comparable to sinigang. The sour taste can be attributed to the batuan, a type of fruit that comes from the same family as mangosteen. While cansi has been compared to a bowl of sinigang, cansi has more depth and dimension. Moreover, the beef shanks give the broth another layer of flavor. As others would put it, it is pretty much like a fusion of bulalo and sinigang that locals love eating on rainy days. Locals would say that the best cansi in the city can be found in Sharyn’s Cansi. 

5.) Chicken Inasal 

We have saved the best for the last as it is almost impossible to visit Bacolod City without trying the city’s famous chicken inasal. While many variations can be found in other cities, the most authentic chicken inasal can only be found in Bacolod. Chicken Inasal, as the name implies, is grilled chicken that is marinated with a special sauce. The chicken is served fresh off the grill and is both flavorful and juicy. To make the meal even more appetizing, locals recommend slathering your cup of rice with chicken oil and adding a pinch of salt to it. Do not forget to dip your chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and calamansi for the full experience. A lot of places served Chicken Inasal with the most popular ones being Aida’s at Manokan Country and Chicken House. However, this author is of the opinion that Masskara Chicken serves the best chicken inasal in the city. 

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