Saturday, November 22, 2014

What I Ate in Bacolod and Iloilo

Next to Bicol, my favorite regional cuisine is Ilonggo. My introduction to this cuisine is via Ilonggo Grill, and right away I fell in love with the pork stew KBL aka kadyos (pigeon peas), baboy ( hocks), and langka (jackfuit), and the French-inspired pasty Napoleones. Later I would fall hard for the irresistible chicken inasal. There was no KBL during my last visit to Iloilo and Bacolod, but I had my fill of inasal, napoleones, and more. How do I differentiate Bacolod from Iloilo foodwise? Iloilo is batchoy and molo soup, while Bacolod is chicken inasal, napoleones, and Calea cakes. 

Bacolod City 

Bacolod City is the capital of Negros Occidental and is known as the City of Smiles. This is also ground zero for chicken inasal, stalls of which are clustered in the aptly named Manukan Country. For more on chicken inasal, click here.

1. Nena's Rose Inasal

I've been to Manukan Country before, and I swear by Aida's. For this trip, upon the recommendation of my officemate, we tried Nena's Rose. I was impressed with the generous sprinkling of garlic bits on the rice--the better to cut through the rich taste of the chicken barbecue. 

I also fell in love with the skewered chicken butts (isol)--juicy and soft, and presented in a novel way. Chicken inasal is not complete without the sinamak and the garlicky rice that cut through rich smoky taste.

Nena's Rose
Manukan Country
Fr. M. Ferrero Street, Bacolod

2. Calea

For my earlier entry on Calea's cakes, click here.

For this visit we went to the bigger branch located across the street. These are what we ordered:  

Choco Mousse Bombe--my favorite 
Pecan Pie a la Mode

Blueberry Cheesecake
I love all the cakes we ordered--except for one on the dry side--because they are not too sweet. There were still many we haven't tried--reason enough to fly to Bacolod in the future. 

Balay Quince Commercial Bldg.
15th Lacson St., Bacolod City
+63 (034) 435 8413

3. Roli's Napoleones

Napoleones is a custard-filled dessert topped with sugar glaze. Its origins can be traced to the French pastry mille-feuille. Two locals swear by Roli's, and I must agree: it was moist, the crust was flaky, and the custard was not too sweet.

Roli's Bakeshop
Roli's Arcade, La salle Avenue
(+63) 034 433-3257

4. Aboy's Restaurant

Aboy's is a must-visit whenever in Bacolod for good food and fast service. Never mind the distance from the city center. I love the free mint tarragon they served after the meal. Another plus for me was the lovely bangus inasal, pictured above. For more on a previous visit to Aboy's, click here

Aboy's Restaurant
Liroville Subdivision, Singcang
Bacolod City
(+63) 034 435 0760


Iloilo forms part of Panay province. Its capital, Iloilo City, can be reached from Bacolod via a two-hour ferry ride. Aside from the food, one should take time to visit Miag-ao Church, one of the few barioque churches in the country.  

1. Roberto's 

Roberto's is popular for its ginormous siopao, pictured below. With siopao this tasty and big, who can refuse?

I also fell in love with the lomi - tasty warm soup, firm noodles, crisp greens. Lomi is made of thick egg noodles, thin pieces of meat, garlic, and shallots.

JM Basa St, Iloilo City

2. Tatoy's 

Tatoy's is an Iloilo institution located along the beach. We always order the chicken inasal--tasty native chicken full of the aroma of tanglad.

Tatoy's Manokan Seafood Restaurant
Baluarte-Calumpang-Villa-Oton Blvd
Villa Arevalo Dist., Iloilo
(+63) 33 337 4276

3. Pacencia Cookies

I now have a new favorite snack: pacencia cookies. These are hard to resist mini-eggnog cookies. Pictured below is one I bought from one of the ubiquitous pasalubong shops for the blog, but the humble stalls offer better versions, with just the right amount of crunch and heft.

4. Molo Soup

When In Iloilo, having molo soup is a must. This cup was served to us during a work-related function--flavorful, rich in porcine goodness, warms your heart. Molo soup is made of pork dumplings, shredded chicken, and chicken stock. 

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