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Bacolod, “The City of Smile” and the capital city of Negros Occidental is fast becoming a tourism hub. From its MassKara festival held every October to remnants of elite lifestyle brought by sugarlords or hacienderos/hacienderas. When it comes to food, one Pinoy dish is directly tagged to the city of Bacolod – chicken inasal.

Looking at the picture above, you might say that chicken inasal is barbequed chicken. What is so special about it? Well, for one there is a specific distinction of chicken inasal – when we speak of cooking methods. It must be skewered into a bamboo stick before char-grilled. The word inasal comes from the Spanish word, “asar“, localised as “asal” which means to skew and then grill.

Bacolod’s chicken inasal has swept off the public of its flavour with restaurants labeling their own dish as “Bacolod’s inasal” but it is still a far-cry from the original flavour that you can only taste in the city. And that makes chicken inasal forever be tied to Bacolod. There is no other place to taste its flavor other than in the city where it all started.Simply said you have to come to Bacolod to taste the best chicken inasal.

So what is the secret?

Well, the secret will forever remain a secret. It is not just about the secret recipe but the secret way of cooking. How they grill the chicken which takes years of familiarization and will take like an eternity to master for some. From fresh chicken within Negros to local spices, Bacolod’s chicken inasal is a wonder and something that Philippine culinary should mention.

The tangy flavour brought by perfect grilling and spices mostly only those found in Negros and the right age of the bird. Best eaten with your bare hands and that unforgiving orange oil from achuette seeds topped with salt over your rice – are you salivating now?

So where is the best place to eat chicken inasal in Bacolod?

Head to the reclamation area of the city just across SM – a famous chain of department stores in the Philippines. Manokan Country is a place where all different eateries are lined. Best is Aida’s or Nena’s. They have formulated the chicken inasal that Bacolod is known for. From the streets of the the public plaza, they were moved to this area and since then haven for those who want to taste this special chicken dish. For less than 100Php, you can have a satisfying meal.

For those who want a restaurant type of ambiance Chicken House, with few branches within the city also serve the best chicken inasal. Other restaurants also carry this food in their menu.

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