Our gateway to the island of Negros two years ago was a wedding invitation which we cannot refuse. Being new to this seemingly strange land back then, we were more geared on visiting local attractions having to set aside our desire for food so as not to go over the budget. Yes, we’ve been anywhere and everywhere (including Campuestohan, Mambukal and the Ruins) and made a lot of good memories, but we completely missed out the “Bacolod culture” on our first visit and that is #food.
As we were given another chance to visit the beautiful City of Smiles, we wanted to take our experience on a whole new direction. A 360-degree turn from endless roaming to sumptuous meals, from extraodinary places now to heavenly feasts, giving less to no attention to our wandering feet but instead, prioritizing our hungry stomachs and picky palates. In other words, the next vacation was more of a literal sweet escape than an actual road trip. (Guess I just have myself to blame entirely for the 8lbs weight gain every visit. Lol!) 😅🤣😖
When we speak of Bacolod Food, it almost always refers to Chicken Inasal. Admit it or not, there may be more than a hundred of chicken inasal recipes throughout the country, but the best of them all is safely tucked in the territory of the Ilonggos, in Bacolod City.
We spoke with the locals and asked for recommendations, and ~ Aida’s.
I personally have to say this, they have the best chicken inasal in the entire region. Affordable yet irresistible. Sorry competitions but Aida’s is simply unparalleled.
Tender, juicy and flavourful. It has that salty-mouthwatering taste that leaves us wanting for more. To be honest, it can stand on itself without the aid of any sauce. But as the saying goes “when in Rome be a Roman”, then in Bacolod, eat their best-selling dish like true Bacolodenos.
To prepare the dipping sauce, we individually mixed vinegar and soy sauce according to what suits us best. They readily provide vinegar and soy sauce per table and later serve on ready-to-squeeze fresh calamansi fruit and chili per request. I like my sauce a bit salty so I combined a calamansi and a bit of vinegar in one dipping bowl and added 2 parts soy sauce. For added heat, two siling labuyo were crushed in the mixture since I’m a sucker for spicy foods.
To complete the Chicken Inasal experience, one should not definitely ignore the chicken oil. It is that orange coloured liquid usually poured on top of the rice and forgetting it is a big no-no (although I repeat, Aida’s Chicken Inasal by itself can sufficiently satisfy the taste buds) chicken oil is part of the dish we should entirely respect.
Completely forgetting shame, I finished three pieces in less than ten (10) freakin’ minutes. That’s how delicious their chicken inasal is.
KBL (Kadios, Baboy and Langka)
KBL is another favourite among the locals, and is short for Kadios, Baboy and Langka or Pigeon Peas, Pork and Jackfruit slowly simmered in a pork broth. Like cansi, it has this sour taste albeit an earthy tone. As we were looking for the best KBL in the area, we were pointed towards the direction of Sandok. Truly, Sandok has the best KBL that even if I am not fond of beans or soup dishes, Sandok made me fancy over it.
Cansi is another Ilonggo dish which is a comfort food among the locals. Cansi is everywhere in Bacolod. It is somewhat a fusion of Sinigang and Bulalo, beef shanks with bone marrow cooked in a sour broth. However the ingredients of Sinigang as well as of Bulalo differ entirely from Cansi making the latter an original Negrense dish. In fact Cansi is offered in every Bacolod Restaurant’s menu.
One of the famous Cansi houses in Bacolod is Sharyn’s. Proof of which is it being featured in several local tabloids and national news and it likewise is WSFC-recognized.
For us Sharyn’s is just a right balance of everything. Not too sour, not too salty, meat so tender, perfectly fine.
But there is another Cansi House in Bacolod that is popular among the locals and that is Eron’s.
Situated just beside Sharyn’s is Eron’s. Comparing both, the latter has more intensified taste and sourness though still delicious all the same. We have observed that while Sharyn’s is gaining more outside recognition, Eron’s has the local’s approval as it is jampacked day and night. But as between the two, we choose both, both are must-try.
Curious and adventurous we are, we tried Cansi with a different twist. While Sandok is more famous for its KBL, we got curious when we read Sizzling Cansi in their menu. While it retains its bulalo smell and the sour taste, it tastes and feels entirely different from the original Cansi dish. But I think I like this sizzling one better since I’m not a soup person for one.
Ilonggos are also famous for their Batchoy. While Ilo-Ilo serves the best La Paz Batchoy in the Panay Island, Bacolod City likewise is the home of the best Batchoy in Negros.
We were more than lucky to be invited by his friends for a lunch date in 21. When we were queried and handed the menu, we immediately asked for their specialty and batchoy it is.
But, 21 also has the best tasting Ravioli we ever had. A must try!
When it comes to seafood, locals consider Hyksos Pala Pala as one of the best. It is located just across SM City-Bacolod that serves fresh seafoods all day, everyday.
As if luck is on our side, his loving relatives brought us to Hyksos for a hearty dinner. We ordered Chili Shrimps, Sinigang, Calamares and Baked Scallops. One thing I observed, each viand has a sweet taste. Sweet but satisfying.
The best part of the menu — dessert. And guess what, Bacolodenos also has something to offer when it comes to sweet treats.
Calea is a household name in Bacolod City when it comes to sugary treats and desserts. It has a wide array of choices in their menu ranging from their standard baked goods to innovative ice cream cakes and other pastries and beverages. Each item has the right amount of sweetness which makes it delightful and extremely pleasing to our tastebuds.
But what I love most in Calea is their Chocolate Mud Pie, my ever favorite. It’s of an ice cream cake variety but heaven in every bite. I am not definitely one to refuse my self of this tempting, sinful yet guiltless indulgence.
We would like to say that Bacolod is another food haven in the country, a food hub in the Visayas Region. As a matter of fact, there are far too many restaurants and eateries proliferating in Bacolod that four days in the city are not enough to try them all.
To be faced with a wealth of options when it comes to great food, we had one too many sweets and calories for the entire weekend, I guess on our next trip we just have to pick up from right where we left off.