Bacolod City is one of the best destinations in the Philippines. Branded as the “City of Smiles”, Bacolod really lives up to its reputation. It’s not hard to find your way through places, easy to navigate and the locals are friendly and approachable enough to ask around in case you get lost.
Aside from the friendly environment, Bacolod is also known for its great flavors. Here are some of the foods that you should not miss while visiting the City of Smiles.
1. CHICKEN INASAL
If you want authentic Chicken Inasal, then you are absolutely in the right city. Bacolod is known to be the home of the original Chicken Inasal. And no, it’s not the same as your regular chicken barbecue nor prepared the same way. The marinate does not make use of soy sauce. Instead, the chicken is marinated with coconut vinegar, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, peppercorns and some spices. Once it’s skewered and grilled, it’s basted with a generous amount of sauce that’s made up of butter, atsuete oil and pepper which basically what makes the inasal’s mouth-watering color. Flavorful and juicy inside and out!
Chicken Inasal is best paired with garlic rice with fried garlic bits and drizzled with chicken oil. *Burp!
2. SUKANG SINAMAK
What seems very constant in almost all restaurants in Bacolod is the Sukang Sinamak. Perfect for fried or grilled food like Chicken Inasal, Sinamak gives you that zesty zing kick brought by different spices like ginger, peppercorns, chili, garlic, onion and shallots soaked in coconut vinegar. The longer the spices are soaked, the tastier it gets. *5 more cups of rice please!
3. KANSI / CANSI
Are you fond of Sinigang? How about Pochero? Now put those 2 flavors together in one dish and you have Kansi! Although you might say that both flavors sounds weird, Kansi is surprisingly delicious. The meat being used is of the same as Pochero (bone marrow, beef shanks, beef pata or beef maskara) boiled for hours to a tender perfection, while the broth is a combination of the flavors from Sinigang and Pochero. The locals said it’s a Bacolod comfort food especially during rainy weather.
Some restaurants serve it traditional way while some already offers sizzling Kansi. It’s still delightful either way!
4. MUSCOVADO SUGAR
Negros being the Sugar Capital of the Philippines, it’s no surprise that one of its cities is abundant in sugar — particularly, the raw, partially refined and the healthiest of its kind: the Muscovado Sugar. It’s not easy to miss since most of the food places in Bacolod would primarily offer the muscovado sugar. The sugar may not seem appealing to the eyes but in contrary, the taste is amazing. It’s texture is like wet sand, moist and sticky but when you taste it, the first note is sweet then it dissolves into a rich bittersweet taste. Muscovado is a great garnish to kakanins like maja, bibingka or puto. It also serves a great complement to your kape barako.
Be sure to buy muscovado sugar when in Bacolod. Aside from contributing to your healthy lifestyle, you are also helping in promoting buying local products. #buylocal
An unleavened flat bread muscovado-filled must have.
Piaya has this soft and flaky crust that gives you a sweet gooey texture from a distinct concentrated syrup from muscovado sugar plus some sesame seeds which gives its nutty flavor.
Piaya is one of the most bought pasalubongs from the City of Smiles but if you get a chance, you must try a fresh hot piaya cooked right in front of you! Usually, you can find them at any local public market around town.
Look for Merzci, they serve the best hot Piayas in all over Bacolod!
Aside from Piaya, a flavour that distinguishes Bacolod from any other places in the Philippines is Napoleones! If you haven’t tried an authentic Napoleones, then you miss 3/4 of your pastry life!
It’s amazing how Napoleones is made from just simple ingredients can be very rich in texture and flavor.This tempting snack is layered with thinly sliced puff pastry and custard filling and just enough sugar glaze on top. Every bite literally melts in your mouth!
Tourists’ and locals’ favorite, these sinfully delicious treats are sold like hotcakes. Head over any Merzci branch in Bacolod and satisfy your sweet cravings for Napoleones!
Probably it’s not just the locals that has made Bacolod the City of Smiles with its friendly and laid back ambiance despite being a highly urbanized mid-sized city. It’s how Bacolod captures the heart of it’s visitors through a variety of flavors. A city from the Sugar Capital of the Philippines, Bacolod gives you that sweet feeling. Now tell me, would you frown on something that is sweet?
I don’t think so. As what Merzci would say: TANAN MANAMIT!