Bacolod chicken inasal

A plate of paa (chicken leg) and garlic rice at Chicken House.




The Bacolod Chicken Inasal may be as popular all over the world as the city it hails from–the City of Smiles–Bacolod City. We are found in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. But the simple chicken barbecue from the 70s already came a long way to our present tastes.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
A usual serving of Bacolod chicken inasal.

What is Bacolod Chicken Inasal

The Bacolod chicken inasal may sound exotic to some but for Bacolodnons, it is simply a chicken part that was marinated, skewered, and cooked over an open charcoal grill. It is called inasal, because it is the Hiligaynon term for skewered. Presentations, manner of cooking, and most especially taste, have already evolved and many Bacolod chicken inasal houses have come to be known because of their own taste or style of cooking.

The truth of the matter is, no two kinds of Bacolod chicken inasal are the same. It is just a collective name, but if you go to different Bacolod restaurants, each one has their own version. And people would go to the place who taste they prefer. Or maybe, if they are friends with the owners.

How We Love Bacolod Chicken Inasal

My family and I love Bacolod chicken inasal. We often eat out or just buy these for take out and eat it in the confines of our dining room where we can have eat all you can rice and bottomless drinks without having to pay extra. Additionally, we also bring these along with other grilled dishes during potluck dinners, like our recent family reunion at Cana Retreat with the rest of the clan.

Moreover, we eat our Bacolod chicken inasal with our hands, with steamed or garlic rice, and lots of chicken oil (which is actually cooking oil colored with achuete a.ka. anato oil to produce that dark orange hue).

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
My plate at the Bacolod Chicken Inasal Throwdown with sliced pecho-pak from Nena’s Rose, Aida’s, and Masskara Chicken.

Bacolod Chicken Inasal Throwdown

But it was not until recently that I was able to really to dissect the tastes of Bacolod chicken inasal brands. We usually devour our chicken with rice without meticulously studying the taste. As long as it’s dip in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and chili, we are good.

However, hubby and I got invited to the Bacolod Chicken Inasal Throwdown organized by the Entrepreneurial class of the University of St. La Salle at the Bob’s Open Grounds. It was a lunchtime event. While we were parking our car from a distance, we could already smell the pleasant aroma of Bacolod chicken inasal being grilled. The smell is unmistakable.

Inasal Sampling

Three popular houses, Nena’s Rose, Aida’s, and Masskara Chicken joined the event. The audience, which numbered more than a hundred, were served with pecho-pak (breast with wing) from the three different brands but we were not told which came from whom.

From tasting all of them, we had to decide which was the best one for us based merely on the taste. Yeah. It was a blind audition…I mean, taste test.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
My companions and I all chose the blue entry (which later turned out to be Aida’s) during the Bacolod Chicken Inasal Throwdown. From left: Moi, City Tourism Officer Butchiek Gerasmo, Rommel Pasaporte of Skyscraper City, and my hubby of Mama Cooks, Papa Eats (

The Winner!

Most of us in our table unanimously chose one and it later turned out to be Bacolod chicken inasal from Aida’s Manokan. It did garner the most votes from the rest of the audience. But before you make judgments, read the rest of my article.

Below are perhaps the most popular Bacolod chicken inasal joints in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

Bacolod Chicken Inasal Restaurants

Chicken House

Chicken House is the original Bacolod chicken inasal. But it was owned by a different family back in the 70s (Read the Bacolod Chicken Inasal history below, as written by Lloyd Tronco).

At present, they now have Bacolod restaurants at Araneta St., Lacson St., San Juan Street, and Hilado St. (Shopping). People come here for their flavorful Bacolod chicken inasal as well as their grilled pork chop. Their chicken tastes simple yet complicated, the meat is tender, and is grilled just right. The flavors go through and through the meat.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
Inasal nga paa (chicken leg) by Chicken House served with garlic rice.

And aside from the taste, many people come to the Chicken House and bring their guests because they have a much nicer physical restaurant, among other Bacolod restaurants serving Bacolod chicken inasal. They have an air conditioned area, too, that can become a function room if you want your gathering to be exclusive. But you just have to pay an extra 10% on your bill if you occupy the aircon room.

Aida’s Manokan

Aida’s Manokan was the first choice among the most favorite in the Bacolod chicken inasal in the event, perhaps because their chicken is so flavorful. It was cooked just right. And you see, Bacolod chicken inasal has a rather sour taste brought about by the vinegar. It is NOT marinated in soy sauce, so the flesh remains white. Vinegar is just combined with several other ingredients, including ginger, but it is not colored.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
A pile of Aida’s Chicken pecho-pak Bacolod chicken inasal straight off the grill.

The basting, however, has anato oil, which explains the rather orangey-brownish skin when cooked. But inside, it is white. I think that Aida’s represented the essence of Bacolod Chicken Inasal.

Chicken Deli

Chicken Deli has been around for decades. They are the only ones among Bacolod restaurants that serve their kind of Bacolod chicken inasal. While they grill cook their barbecue over charcoal, they have a fan that continuously blows the smoke away.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
Pecho-pak by Chicken Deli.

The result is that their chicken is cooked a little bit longer, is a bit dryer, but the skin does not have a lot of those charred parts. They have their own market for this kind of Bacolod chicken inasal. And the taste is also very good! At present, they offer unli-rice in their restaurants.

Nena’s Rose

The name Nena’s has many spin off Bacolod restaurants, including Nena’s Rose. But perhaps they are the most popular because if my recollection is right, they are the first to get out of their comfort zone at Manokan Country and branch out. I think right now, they have 2 or 3 branches, aside from the one at Manokan.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
Inasal nga paa (leg) by Nena’s Rose in Villamonte served with yellow garlic rice.

While, we also buy from them and occasionally eat at their branch at B.S. Aquino Drive, what we don’t like is that most of the skin gets burned. I think it is because of the abrupt fire. But the result is juicy Bacolod chicken inasal. We just remove most of the skin though because it has transformed mostly to carbon.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
Inasal na pecho-pak (breast with wings) being grilled at a Nena’s Rose booth.

Masskara Chicken

Masskara Chicken is one of the newest players but they quickly became popular. Their Bacolod chicken inasal is I think a wee bit bigger and also very flavorful but not sour. And also, theirs is yellow-orange, which makes me think that they marinate theirs with achuete. They have a branch in Villamonte (cor. B.S. Aquino and Narra Extension) and Robinsons City Walk.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
A Bacolod chicken inasal leg by Masskara Chicken with garlic rice.

Manokan Country

The Manokan Country is the hub of Bacolod Chicken Inasal. There are I think more than 10 open restaurants here serving inasal and other grilled chicken stuff and pork as well as blanched oysters. There are no air conditioned areas here but people come here for the food and guests for the experience.

Lion’s Park Grill Haus

Lion’s Park Grill Haus is the first restaurant on the right side facing Manokan Country. It is set apart from the other open restos because it has its own garden and a children’s playground. Many families come here for their favorite chicken inasal as well as the talaba “oysters”. They also have a turo-turo food counter for those who do not want to wait or would want to have other dishes aside from inasal.

Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants
Paa or chicken leg, cooked the Bacolod chicken inasal way at Lion’s Park.
Bacolod chicken inasal - Bacolod restaurants - talaba
Our one-time lunch at Lion’s Park Grill Haus with talaga, inasal nga paa, rice with anato oil, and spicy sawsawan. Not in photo was the sizzling sisig that I ordered on the side.

Sidewalk Bacolod Chicken Inasal

Bacolod chicken inasal, pork barbecue, and many other inasal stuff are street food around here in our city. It seems that there’s no street corner without a food cart grilling from the afternoons until late evenings.

My husband and especially like the ones at the corner of Hospital Avenue and Lacson St., the corner of Hilado and Burgos Sts, in Libertad, and one at Airport Subdivision. These are the ones nearest to us but I know that there are more around the city and in the barangays. Each village has its own Bacolod chicken inasal joint, too, and they have their own suki (patrons). Yes, inasal is everywhere in our city.

So whatever you fancy, there is always a Bacolod chicken inasal for you. Just remember to eat the inasal and rice using your hands. It’s how we the locals do it with much gusto. I dunno how it is so, but it seems using your hands while eating makes the food more appetizing. And well, it’s fun and gross at the same time. :p Welcome to Bacolod!

History of Bacolod Chicken Inasal

Here’s a little background about Bacolod Chicken Inasal. Written by Lloyd Tronco, Paraphrased by Sigrid Says
Originally published in Talonggo

The humble beginnings of Bacolod chicken inasal may be traced back to a small street in Bacolod known as Cuadra.

Before Manokan Country became an institution in Bacolod, there was a series of small stalls along Cuadra Street, near the Bacolod public plaza that became known as Chicken Alley. This was started by the Velez sisters, Elisa Velez-Garrucho and her sister Nena, and the other Velez siblings.

Because of its proximity to the Bacolod public plaza and the jeepney stops, people flocked to the area to buy the barbecued chicken we now know as Bacolod chicken inasal. Back in the 70s, the dish we know today was simply called “inasal”.

Manokan Country and Bacolod Chicken Inasal

As its became popular, inasal found a new home in the reclamation area, now known today as Manokan County (translated as Chicken Country). Soon, the locals started flocking to the stalls of Manokan Country that offered seating to the diners. Eventually, Manokan Country got too crowded, so Elisa Velez-Garrucho decided to get out of Manokan Country and put up Chicken House in San Sebastian Street, near the Garrucho residence. Eliza’s sister, Nena, also followed.

Vincent V. Garrucho, one of Eliza’s sons relates, “My brother Jomi Garrucho and myself, as well as my sisters, were trained since grade school to know the recipe by heart. Honestly, we can do the original inasal with our eyes closed. Almost everyday, our packed lunch to school was… FRIED chicken inasal. People haven’t tried that yet.” Vincent adds, “Me and my siblings as kids were trained to make the mix every morning before going to school and cook and serve in our resto after school.”

Eliza Velez Garrucho has been credited to have contributed greatly to making Bacolod chicken inasal to what it is today. Eventually, Garrucho sold Chicken House to the Cajili family in 1976 and the rest is history.

50 thoughts on “Know Your BACOLOD CHICKEN INASAL

  1. “Never Leaved Bacolod without trying the Chicken Inasal”.. Really you will regret everything without trying it. Im from Manila and Working in Bacolod and i thought its Just a Typical Chicken BBQ.. Pero nagkamali ako. Hindi sya nakakasawa at Hahanap hanapin mo talaga. Lahat Yan same comment from Me, Friends and Family who visited Bacolod. Iba talaga ang Lasa ng Inasal dito sa Bacolod at pag natikman nyo isa lang masasabi nyo “Iba talaga ang Inasal ng Bacolod” (compare mo sa Manila). Tip: You can ask the Restaurants kung pwede ba gawin Pasalubong ito? And They will Happily assist you and pack it properly as for your Pasalubong. (Don’t forget your chicken oil too) 😊😊😊

    1. Ay true. Whenever we or our family members travel, we bring a pack of chicken inasal for relatives in Manila and Cebu! It’s always a request. πŸ˜€

  2. Constant visitors of Bacolod City, my mom would always make it clear that a Bacolod trip is not a Bacolod trip without stopping by one of their famous Chicken Inasals. Whenever we seem to pass by one my mom would always say, let’s eat here. After reading the article, it is clearear which Chicken Inasal we should often visit when we return to Bacolod. Thank you Sigrid. It doesn’t hurt to get an extra mile for better chicken inasal! Can’t wait to return to Bacolod and devour one!

  3. Nice! This is something to try when I go to Bacolod. I haven’t been there yet but I will absolutely list bacolod chicken inasal as one of the things I have to try there. The only ones available here in Manila is mang inasal and bacolod chicken inasal, which i hope the taste is not far from the original thing in bacolod. πŸ™‚

    1. I haven’t tried the Bacolod chicken inasal in Manila but one thing’s for sure, Mang Inasal is not Bacolod chicken inasal. hehe

  4. I love that you included the history of inasal here. Can’t wait to try the ones from Aida’s and Nena Rose’s Sa dasun ko da mga pagpuli.

    1. So interesting right? The history didn’t start so long ago but inasal has already affected so many. It’s already part of our culture. πŸ˜€

  5. I love chicken more than pork and beef. My favorite chicken inasal restaurant here in Manila is the Bacolod Chicken Inasal and I always order the Paa part and a bowl of La Paz Bachoy. I’ve been wondering if the inasal sold in Bacolod tastes way much better than what I tasted here in Manila.

    1. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried any of the Bacolod chicken inasal stores in Manila. But I’m sure they’re still pretty good if they are inspired by the Bacolod original. πŸ˜€

  6. I miss bacolod chicken inasal!! Nothing beats the taste! I’ve tried different grilled chicken flavors in other places but I always look for the Bacolod taste. Can’t wait to go home and eat!!!

  7. My Tito Boyet Smalley of San Diego/ UDM Villamonte makes the best Inasal! I have eaten at Chicken Deli, Chicken Masskara and Chicken House. My favorite is Chicken House.

  8. Bacolod chicken inasal has been known for one of the tourist spots in Bacolod. Each of them has different recipes on how to prepare their chicken inasal but the best part is eating it hot with chicken oil and a pinch of iodized salt on the rice. Mix it and you will surely enjoy the taste that compliments your chicken inasal.

  9. Bacolod Inasal is the best! Garlic rice or plain rice with achuete works for me. Always a great place to hang out and enjoy the good foods.

  10. I have been eating chicken inasal since I was little here in California. My Tito Boyet of San Diego/ Villamonte barbecues these during our Bcd9 retreats. I had the chance to taste this same chicken specialty in bacolod For the past 3 years. My favorite is still Tito Boyet’s but the inasal from Chicken House comes close.

  11. I have my dose of Chicken Inasal at Mang Inasal, sometimes at Bacolod Chicken Inasal. you got a good list here huh. But the two I mentioned are the only one’s I know. wish i get to visit Bacolod. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for your reply. But Mang Inasal is not Bacolod inasal. Iba ang timpla hehe Yeah, please do include Bacolod for a food tripping adventure πŸ˜€

  12. Part of the “Bacolod” experience is being able to eat the “chicken inasal”…it’s great that we have so many choices to bring guests. We have eaten and tried all of these places and though all serve good tasty chicken our fave of them all is aida’s since our high school days…their chicken are extra juicy than the rest.

  13. I enjoyed reading this post as I am a fan of inasal. I like mine not too dry but juicy. I prefer chicken oil to put on top of my rice and atchara to match my inasal. I haven’t tried Chicken Deli and there’s a branch near our place. Thanks for your recommendation, I definitely try theirs.

  14. I have been to several Bacolod inasal restos around the Metro. Made me realize that it’s been awhile since I’ve went to one. I love the ones that offer unlimited rice in tandem with the meal. Good bye diet talaga. :))

  15. Chicken inasal!!!! I recently conditioned myself to stop eating pork and with that, chicken is one of the options in my meal. Inasal is one of my fave chicken recipe πŸ™‚ Was able to try the one at Manokan Country!

  16. I’ve never heard of this before but you have my taste buds going! A really interesting read I love the history you’ve included too

  17. I have tried Bacolod Inasal, but it was only Bacold Inasal restaurant here in Manila. I wonder if there’s a difference with the original?

  18. We have tried Bacolod Chicken Inasal (restaurant), Robinsons Forum branch before and the chicken indeed was very tasty. It would be a great and memorable opportunity to try every restaurant offering chicken inasal especially that each of them has their own way of cooking. πŸ™‚ You were very fortunate to have had that chance.

    ❀ Louise

  19. Nagkasubo gd ko.. wla ma mentionar ang ngalan ni nanay ( ISABEL) kg tatay (NICOLAS) VELEZ , kg ang akon tiyo ( URBANO VELEZ) , ang ginhalinan sang tanan, dira sa araneta my balay kami dira , ky ginpatindugan sang bago nga buildinbuilding.naghimo na lng karito si tatay kg ara kami gyapon dra. sang dali nlng mahuman ginpabalhin kami sa balesteros hasta dra na sa cuadra ky nagdamo na dira ang nagsunod, hasta nga tani I abolish na ang mga karito,, sang nagtaliwan na c nanay kg tatay, ang magulang ko nga si Eliza Velez Garrucho ang nagpadayon gindala na ang karito dra sa san sebastian gatuslao dra sa garahe sang Garrucho’s compound. (Secret nlng ang personal ko nga kabuhi) nabal an ko na lang nag asenso na si inday antonena (NENA’S) kg ky manang ely ( Eliza ) ang Chicken house,..More.? 61 nako pero siguro may buhi pada nga ma mka comment kon may mkabasa sini,,, suki na namon ang mga araneta, guanzon, tag iya sang amar, zuniega, center sang dira pa sa araneta..ako ang agot nga bata ni Isabel kg Nicolas Velez…kag ang buhi pa nga utod nga lakake nga tag iya sang una sang karito ni inday antonena (nena), ky sa iya ginbaligya ang karito ky utod sya.tungod sang kompitisyon sa mag utod ky gatalang ang suki, gin ilisan ang ngalan nga ISABEL 2 sa NENAS. kon nag damo man subong kg naglapta ang inasal ang origin sina bisaya nga manok nga asin, langgaw , ajos, kg luy a lang ang timpla ky siling ni tatay halin sa tudlo sang japanese ky nag start ang pag asal 1945 sang nagpasimpalad sila I tatay jg nanay halin sa iloilo pabacolod ………..

  20. I used to love Lion’s Park’s inasal! I haven’t tried theirs na though since 2007. Now that I’m based in Cebu, I’m so happy we have Aida’s na diri! πŸ™‚ Thanks for a very detailed read!

  21. All this food pics of Bacolod chicken inasal and its 5am right now. I am hungry. I have never tasted this type of chicken. Now I am intrigued.

  22. Wow! Bacolod chicken inasal is a winner. My husband would absolutely love these. I just love everything about this!

  23. Now I wish I was a Bacolodian! Anyway, as a lover of chicken recipes, I’d completely get lost in the meal if I get to Bacolod someday. I can imagine how yummy chicken Inasal tastes now that everyone is really recommending the chicken. I’d especially love chicken inasal at Chicken house and at Masskara Chicken now that they look this great from the pictures!

  24. I tried this Bacolod chicken inasal for the first time when I was traveling in Manila last year. It was delicious. I’m dreaming of the next time i go back.

    1. Awesome! Did you have the Bacolod chicken inasal with rice? That’s what makes it so good. And then you get to eat a lot. Hope you can visit Bacolod, the home of the original chicken inasal. πŸ˜€

  25. Oh wow! This sounds amazing! I love how this came to be! Can you mix Bacolod chicken inasal with other curry flavors?

    1. Oh I would not know about mixing in curry with Bacolod chicken inasal. hihi It has its own distinct flavor that might not go well with curry though.

  26. I love chicken, and what better way to serve that char coaled. Brings a new element to the dish and it is super tasty and great on a spring night. This Bacolod chicken inasal sounds really tasty!

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