Apart from the sites that I have seen, one of the things that truly made a huge mark on me with this trip is the warm reception that I received during the trip and the food selections that I have also tried. Indeed, a visit to Bacolod is never complete without experiencing the hospitality and the tummy-filling delights of the city.
Burgie’s Pizza and Pasta, Talisay City: Unexpected Discovery
Nicely tucked in an unassuming building right across the Talisay Public Market, Burgie’s Pizza and Pasta is probably my unexpected discovery during the trip. The building has two floors with the first floor housing the restaurant and the second floor housing the gym. The high ceiling of the restaurant gives a refreshing atmosphere and its interiors can be compared to a typical student canteen, which I presume is the joint’s clientele.
Prices are relatively cheap which confirmed my initial presumption that it caters mostly to students. I ordered Burgie’s Chicken Pasta with Pesto with Breaded Chicken and White Sauce. I am not a pasta person but I enjoyed the meal. The pesto pasta tasted really good and the white sauce of the breaded chicken added some flavor to the chicken. It was definitely a find in an unassuming city.
El Ideal Bakery, Silay City: Eating with History
El Ideal Bakery is one of the famous landmarks in Silay City. The bakery was established in 1920’s and since then it has continued to serve its original recipes to different generations. It prides itself to serving heritage recipes and other Negrense delicacies.
El Ideal Bakery is famous for its Guapple Pie. Though I am really not fond of eating pies, I decided to try it out. The Guapple Pie has a very strong cinnamon flavor which really appealed to me because I love cinnamon. The guapple gave it a crunchy taste which gave it a different texture. A definite must-try when you are in Silay City.
Manukan Country, Bacolod City
Bacolod is the land where inasal was born. This is the reason why you would see a lot of inasal restaurants peppered in the city. In fact, a number of Inasal Restaurants in Manila have its roots in Bacolod City. My take is that if you wish to try an authentic inasal, one should head off to Manukan Country.
Manukan Country is a stretch of inasal stalls located near the reclamation area of Bacolod City. The street has a number of stalls to choose from. One can reach Manukan Country by foot by heading towards SM City Bacolod from the San Sebastian Cathedral. It is quite easy to find and just in case you cannot find it, you can ask around and the locals will easily direct you to the place.
As you enter the stall, your server will ask you whether you prefer “petso” or “paa”. “Petso” refers to chicken breast and “paa” refers to chicken legs. They also serve grilled chicken innards as part of their menu. Once you have made your choice, you are then seated and served with soy sauce, calamansi, and siling labuyo to prepare your dip.
The inasal experience will not be complete without you eating the meal with your bare hands. This makes the experience more exciting and worth remembering. In fact, a delicious meal while dining with your bare hands completes the inasal experience.
City Burger Chicken Grill, River Break, Villa Angela
Bacolod City and chicken will always go together. Anywhere you go in the city there will always be a chicken house around. However, it is not just inasal that the city can offer – I discovered something more.
Tucked in one of the areas of the city is the City Burger Chicken Grill. The place may sound like the usual inasal house which it is but I discovered a sinful meal in this place. I love eating chicken gizzard and liver and I have only known two ways of eating it – adobo or grilled. The place offered me something new – deep fried gizzard and liver.
The fried gizzard and liver was crunchy but soft. The dish became an instant favorite after a dip, a mix of soy sauce, calamansi, gave added flavor to the viand. It is a definite must try for those who love chicken innards cooked in a different way.
I love sweets and Bob’s Bakeshop was a welcome treat in Bacolod. When I entered the place, the place was full and this was a great indicator that the place serves good pastries. I decided to try Pavlova. The Pavlova is a cake layered with meringue, mangoes, and cream. It was a delight to enjoy as the mix of flavors was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Sweet Greens, Lacson Street, Bacolod City
Finding a cozy place to eat on a rainy night in Bacolod can be quite a challenge. I decided to check out Lacson Street and yet despite being a main thoroughfare in Bacolod, it was still quite challenging. Walking along the street, I found a cozy café called Sweet Greens, just right in front of the PNB building.
It is a unique find as it is a café that works on the Pinoy concept of a “turo-turo”. The food selection is laid down on the table, buffet style. One chooses the viands that he or she wishes to eat and the servers heat and serve it to the clients. Sweet Greens offer a wide selection and the servings are good for 2. It might be a bit pricey for a budget traveler, though.
I ordered KBL which stands for Kadyos, Baboy, and Langka. These are the main ingredients of the dish. KBL is a cross between Nilaga and Sinigang. I enjoyed the dish as the flavor really came out especially since I am used to eating sinigang and nilaga. It was a different taste.
The ambiance was also good as it is ideal for cozy and rainy afternoons where one is searching for solitude or for some peace and quiet. It is also ideal for dates or for evenings of intimate talk with friends. It merges the concept of fine dining and “turo-turo” in one.
Uga – My Funny Story
Before heading off to Bacolod City, I have done my research and one of the things that came out of my research was Uga. It was one of those “pasalubongs” that you buy from the public market. The internet did not provide much information about the “Uga” and yet despite the minimal knowledge, I was determined to find out what it is and to bring it home with me on my return to Manila.
So I headed off to the public market and I was expecting to see something uniquely from Bacolod but to my dismay I was not able to find it in the market. Frustrated, I decided to ask one of the vendors where I can buy “Uga” and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was dried fish.
“Uga” is a local term for dried fish and since I love to eat dried fish, I decided to check out what they have to offer. There were a variety that you can find in most of the market of the Philippines but one thing that I actually found amusing was finding “tapang uga”. It was dried fish that had a sweet flavor similar to the tapa (meat) that you find in the market. I brought it home with me and tried it. Honestly, I still prefer the saltier kind of “Uga”
Bacolod is a food haven and you will surely find a good selection of shops and restaurants that will tempt and satisfy any palate. Whether it be a main dish or dessert, the idea is to be open to discover something that may be new to the taste buds or re-discover something that we have long been enjoying.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.