My Bacolod finds–best ‘pancit molo,’ best burger and, of course, chicken ‘inasal’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

The elimination round for the Big Food Showdown is underway. It will be held a few weeks from now in Manila.


Last week, we were in Cagayan de Oro for the Kumbira 2013 to determine who will represent Mindanao in the finals.


We were also in Bacolod to choose the Visayan representatives.


Next week, we are headed to Baguio for the Luzon representatives.


This showdown is the largest food event in the country where the best of the best join. It is a cook fest for students and professionals. It also covers bartending, cake décor, bed making, table setting, ice carving, among other categories.


Sitting as one of the judges could be tiring, but I look forward to this event every year; it is here where I get to sit back and discover simple, provincial and exceptionally good food.


Whenever it’s Bacolod’s turn to host, I get scared and excited—scared because, for sure, all diets are off, and excited, because there is so much good food that has yet to be discovered in this rich Visayan province.


Bob’s restaurant


Our group arrived in Bacolod for the Sabor Visaya Competitions at 10 a.m., and right after dropping off our bags, we were off to Bob’s restaurant.


I had heard so much about Bob’s but this was my first time  to eat there.


His pancit molo was what I had been searching for. The broth was rich, with a little orange oil,  and the molo fillings were light and perfectly seasoned. Loved it.


For my mainer, I just had to have his famous burgers.


This was the taste I wanted in a burger—no cheese, catsup or mustard, just plain, with only a hamburger bun.


Funny how I had been chatting with the president of the Bacolod Hotel and Restaurant Association, Bobby Magalona, without realizing that I was talking to Bob himself of restaurant fame.


That night, our group was also invited to Bacolod Chicken House.


It was at Bacolod Chicken House on Pasay Road where I had my first taste of chicken inasal and fell in love with it.


This was in the early 1980s. I would go there everyday for a week.


But that evening in Bacolod province, my sights were set somewhere else.


Aida’s Inasal na Manok


Since the Masskara festival  last year, my boys Franco and Arturo haven’t stopped talking about Aida’s Inasal na Manok. So, with the Nestle team, we headed for Aida’s in Manukan country.


This area is a row of restaurants, all serving Inasal na Manok. But only Aida’s and Nena’s had diners that night.


I had two paa, an atay, tina-e or intestine, isol or chicken ass, and  chorizo barbecue.


Dipped in a combination of crushed sili, soy sauce and sinamak vinegar, it’s really worth raving about. With garlic rice, it had to be close to heaven. Super sarap!


Other places we tried were Trattoria Uma and Café Uma. Both owned by a good friend, chef Jomi Gaston, they are on the list of Bacolod’s best restaurants. I loved the crust of his pizzas, his pasta with liver, and his Eggs Benedict—all winners.


Felicia’s Ensaymada


Before flying home, I had to order Felicia’s Ensaymada. These babies are to die for. I got every ensaymada they had.


I keep them in the freezer and micro them in their wrapping for 45 seconds.


This one is hard to beat. (You can call them, put your order. They can send a dozen to you for a P250 delivery cost. (Tel. 24-4336586 or 0918-5514638.)


Right in our judges’ lounge, we were served a delicious, thick, fried lumpiang ubod from Bob’s, a mini siopao and empanada by Kwan. There were also freshly made piyaya.


Sometimes we forget why we’re there in the first place. But that’s what good food does to a foodie. I look forward to our next visit.


Now, I promise myself to go back to my never-ending diet. Happy eating!


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