Ever tried chicken inasal? This tasty grilled chicken hails from Western Visayas. Bacolod, in particular, is the city that made it famous. But if you can’t travel to the City of Smiles for barbecue chicken yet, there are a few inasal places in Metro Manila to satisfy that craving, all of which are Bacolodnon-approved!
Inasal places in Manila for an authentic Negrense taste
1. Mang Inasal
The one that started it all. Long before it became the commercial juggernaut we know today, Mang Inasal was a humble restaurant in Iloilo. Soon, it spread across Visayas and Mindanao, eventually reaching Metro Manila. Twenty years later, Pinoys continue to seek its flavours.
Mang Inasal has the basics down pat when it comes to cooking chicken inasal. Expect a light combination of sweet and sour flavours incorporated into the tender chicken with every bite. That taste goes well with heaps of white rice drizzled with chicken oil.
2. Aida’s Chicken
Aida’s Chicken is such an important landmark in Bacolod. It is the heart of a collective of chicken grillers in Manokan Country. Since then, dining at Aida’s has been an unmissable experience whenever visiting Bacolod.
Fortunately, the Bacolod icon is famous enough to establish a branch in Makati Cinema Square and is definitely one of the best inasal places in Manila. It’s as close as the real recipe from Bacolod — from the firm cook of the chicken down to its deceptively complex flavour profile. It even carries over to the original branch’s famous baticolon, isol, and atay, which should be always ordered whenever dining at Aida’s.
3. JT’s Manukan
One of the greats of Philippine theatre and cinema is also responsible for a brilliant choice when picking out great inasal places in Manila. Actor and Bacolodnon Joel Torre started his venture in the food business through JT’s Manukan. Ever since the restaurant started serving in Bacolod, fans of the actor and foodies in Manila grew curious about its taste. Leave it to Torre to deliver a performance of the highest calibre because his restaurant’s chicken is simply excellent. Aside from the chicken, JT’s Manukan also serves Ilonggo favourites like kansi and la paz batchoy.
4. Bacolod Chicken House
Bacolod Chicken House is possibly one of the oldest inasal places in Manila, having been around since the 1980s. While branches of this decades-old franchise are elusive across Metro Manila, seeking Bacolod Chicken House is always well worth it. Citizens of Manila got a taste of what Negrense cuisine is like when Bacolod Chicken House first arrived in the city. Fortunately, the impression remains stellar to this day.
5. Inasal Chicken Bacolod
A relatively new competitor in the best inasal places in Manila is Inasal Chicken Bacolod (ICB). This restaurant started in the heart of Malate, on a Pedro Gil corner lot across Robinson’s Place Manila. The place was small, but it served twice its capacity during its peak hours — an indication of just how good their chicken is.
ICB has steadily grown an audience of foodies. As such, the restaurant has continued to flourish. While the Pedro Gil branch closed down, ICB now has other branches across Manila, including one on United Nations Avenue. It’s only a few minutes away from the original branch, too!
6. Chicken Bacolod
Often considered the closest dead ringer to the traditional Negrense taste, Chicken Bacolod’s mission is all about nailing the fundamentals of barbecue chicken. A notable variation that Chicken Bacolod does to their protein is a concentration of the inasal flavour on the skin rather than the meat. The variation might sound jarring, but don’t worry: The same exciting taste of chicken inasal remains strong in Chicken Bacolod.
7. Sarsa Kitchen
Negrense chef JP Anglo brought his culinary expertise throughout Metro Manila upon establishing Sarsa Kitchen. His experimentation with Negrense traditional cooking and fusing it with world cuisine brings a lot of hungry diners to this restaurant, especially with his sizzling kansi. But the constant he abides by is their version of the traditional chicken inasal. Its flavour only grows more intense after every bite!
8. Carlo’s Bacolod Chicken House Express
Another young gun when it comes to inasal places in Manila, Carlo’s Bacolod Chicken House Express (or CHE) doesn’t really deviate from the traditional ways of cooking Negrense chicken. And rightfully so, since it learned from only the best. The marinade is divine, thoroughly coating the chicken with sweet and sour notes from coconut vinegar. Its tart flavour clashes with rice topped with crispy garlic bits, which come together like yin and yang.
9. Bacolod Chk-n-BBQ House
Bacolod Chk-n-BBQ House has been around for a significant time, but their recipe only gets better with age. Diners often note the large portioning of their chicken inasal, especially the thigh part. And with just how tasty the marinade for their chicken is, Bacolod Chk-n-BBQ happily spoils its patrons with consistently hearty meals.
10. Negros Inasal Express
Cooking chicken inasal can be notorious because of its wait times, but patience is necessary. Keep this in mind when dining in Negros Inasal Express, but the wait is infinitely worth it. You will savour the heavenly combination of crisp but tender textures of the restaurant’s chicken. Fortunately, customers can pre-order meals, so you can immediately eat upon arriving at the restaurant!
Nothing can beat the authentic taste of delicious chicken inasal in Bacolod itself. But having inasal places in Manila will keep stomachs filled and taste buds singing with joy. Maybe we can even start practising saying namit gid whenever finishing a skewer of leg thigh in preparation for the real thing!
Featured image credit: JT’s Manukan Grille | Official Facebook Page