Monday, June 3, 2019

Feasting on Our Chicken Inasal Dinner at Aida's Manokan Country in Bacolod

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Our culminating meal for almost an entire day's tour around Bacolod city is Chicken Inasal dinner at Aida's located at Manokan Country,  a complex of a couple dozens of stalls serving Bacolod's most sought-after gastronomic delight, Chicken Inasal - a Filipino variant of roast chicken, marinated in a mixture of Calamansi - a Filipino citrus reminiscent of lemon, orange and lime, pepper, coconut vinegar and annato, then grilled over hot coals while basted with the marinade. Now there may be some secret ingredients added to make each uniquely their own taste but basically that is how they are prepared.

Aside from the ubiquitous chicken inasal, there were also other grilled options for chicken innards or entrails like isaw (intestines), atay (liver), puso (heart), and isol (chicken tail). I let my companions order them for photo ops but I only prefer to eat the chicken. Some readings tell me innards are questionable with regards to our health. Though called superfoods, since organ meats are dense sources of vitamins and nutrients, they do carry some risks, as well as benefits, when they are consumed, despite their nutritional value. They are very high in some vitamins and nutrients, however, there are issues with harmful bacteria in intestines if not cleaned properly.

Better be safe than sorry? Well, if given a choice I would rather go for the muscle meats. Across the world, many different cultures like to use an animal in its entirety for food, including making use of the blood, bones, and organs...and the chicken and it's parts, except for its feathers, is the most popular when it comes to being eaten in it's entirety. Just like our coconut tree, the chicken is the most convenient and less wasteful because you can almost cook and eat it's every part for your meal.
I was a bit worried of being late for my flight that I forgot to do a selfie with the peeps I was with....Well, they know who they are...and I happily shared a very fulfilling day with them.

My flight was scheduled at 10:55 pm, the last flight out of Bacolod, via Cebu Pacific. We started eating our Chicken Inasal dinner at around 8:15pm. As instructed by the airline on our digital flight tickets, arrive two hours before  the flight, so counting the travel time to the airport, it was understandably worrying. However, I was a bit comforted because I'm sure the LGU of Bacolod would take good care of me just in case I missed my flight...and would give me a reason to stay longer and even find the opportunity to watch the Philippine Football team Azkals play against the Vietnam team at the Panaad stadium scheduled on the night of December 2, just only a day after my flight out of Bacolod. If I knew Bacolod was the host city of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018, I would have requested my extended stay until December 3.

By the way, Aida's is now in Manila at Makati (Cinema,) Square. I learned about this because there was a small tarpaulin posted on the wall fronting the table where we ate and announcing the brand is now in Makati, so If you want to try one of the most popular, if not the most patronized, at Manokan Country, you know where to go.

Their chicken is undoubtedly a bigger cut, of different taste than the popular Mang Inasal, that is now also owned by Jollibee Foods Corporation after they bought it from the original owner, which originally came from Iloilo but my designated tour guide said that the Inasal way of cooking originated from Bacolod.

At this restaurant, all the grilled chickens you ordered are served in one plate, the same with the rice topped with fried garlic, and kalamansi / sili. It's your job to divide them among your group.

During that night, it seemed all seats were taken! I do not know if it was because of the Festival of Lights Parade, but the Masskara mask-adorned restaurant was full of people of all ages that were all wanting a piece of Aida's chicken Inasal. Night time is when most people come to feast on the chickens, so it's the busiest time of the day. If you don't want the long wait, better arrive early. 

Yet, for me, seeing a lot of people filling themselves up, is more appetizing and makes you want to eat more than the usual. Though they do not have the "unlimited rice" option like that of Mang Inasal, and other chicken inasal restos in Manila, their genuinely tasty chicken is all worth the P565 I paid for our group of three. Our order composed of two "paa" and a few innards, three or perhsps four cups of rice, two bottled water and one small bottle of softdrink.

When we arrived at Manokan Country and saw the numerous lineup of chicken Inasal restaurants, situated side by side each other, the curious me asked a group of teens by the road "Which one is the best?" and they all said Aida' when my designated tour guide Jang C Yap chose to eat there, that was sort of a confirmation that the brand is probably the best at Manokan Country

I am not entirely sure of the waiting time but in our case, we let Joey, our van driver, ordered in advance while we set off to watch the arrival of the parade at the plaza. So when we left the plaza and arrived at the restaurant, (I couldn't really say it was a stall since the floor area was too big if compared to the stalls in Manila). It was like a typical un-airconditioned restaurant in the provinces that you can find along the highways, but in this case, there were so many all serving basically the same star of the show, chicken and it's innards prepared and grilled the Inasal way.

You can find Aida's at Manokan Country located at Nenas Rose II, Father M. Ferrero St, Bacolod, 6100 Negros Occidental.
And as mentioned earlier, at Makati Square in Makati City. Hhhmmm, I might drop by there soon and see how their resto looks like, and if their chicken is similarly marinated and grilled.

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