Text and photos by Angelica Villanueva
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food,” says playwright George Bernard Shaw in Man and Superman.
And if food were the language of love, Negros Occidental has a long love letter for everyone.
First off, its capital Bacolod City is home to lip-smacking chicken inasal and delectable piaya. More appetizing treats await tourists flying to Negros Occidental via AirAsia Philippines’ newly launched, thrice-daily Manila-Bacolod-Manila flights.
“We are excited to celebrate this milestone and to paint the Negros Island skies red. AirAsia’s presence in the region will make air travel more affordable not just for Negrenses but for everyone who wants to explore this part of the country,” enthused AirAsia Philippines chief executive officer Ricardo P. Isla.
The budget carrier’s direct flight to Bacolod offers a gateway to Negros Occidental where visitors can get a taste of its many flavors and, of course, visit heritage sights and natural wonders.
Our recent trip to the Western Visayas province turned into a full-fledged food crawl that left us asking for seconds. Here’s a Negros Occidental “eatinerary” for foodies.
Kansi’s flavorful soup
Filipinos love to have a piping hot soup on their table when eating lunch or dinner. The usual suspects are bulalo and sinigang. But Negros has a better alternative—combining these two dishes into one.
Kansi is a dish of beef broth with sour soup that uses soy sauce with calamansi and chili as “sawsawan.” Negrenses love having this dish during cold season.
Chicken inasal with sinamak
Here in Manila, diners craving chicken inasal have to go to malls or fast food chains to get their fix. But in Bacolod, this charcoal-grilled chicken can be found all over the city.
Since Bacolod City is the home of chicken inasal, it has established Manokan Country, a group of food establishments that specially serves this dish.
Bacolodnons suggest to eat chicken inasal with Negros vinegar called sinamak.
Swimming in seafood
Negros is also home to a wide array of floating restaurants that showcase the province’s seafood resources.
Among these floating restaurants is Melkens that offers seafood lovers affordable yet mouth-watering seafood dishes.
The seafood of Melkens comes from different parts of Negros. Its buttered crabs are from the town of Magalona, while oysters are abundant in the province. Shrimps and various kinds of fish are also present in Negros.
Piaya and its perfect filling
As sweet as the smile of people in Bacolod is its popular delicacy piaya.
Piaya is a flaky flatbread filled with muscovado sugar. It is made of flattened dough with muscovado filling, powdered with flour and sprinkled with sesame seeds before baking it on a griddle.
Among the oldest piaya makers in Bacolod is BongBong’s—the most delicious piaya brand according to a friend.
In addition to piaya with muscovado filling, BongBong also offers various flavors such as ube, mango, and calamansi.
Negros’ other sweet delicacies
The sugar capital of the country is obviously rich in desserts.
When going to a pasalubong center, make sure to buy Napoleones since they very rare to find and are usually expensive in Manila.
Napoleones is just one of the sugary desserts that Negros offers. Cake lovers must visit Calea which offers delectable yet affordable slices. Meanwhile, Anne Co Cakes’ frozen Brazo de Mercedes can surely satisfy the taste buds of dessert lovers.
Tourists should also check out the empanada of Emma Lacson’s Delicacies—which Ilocos should watch out for!
The empanada is Emma Lacson’s original recipe first served in early 1900s. It is made with ground pork, potato, onions, garbanzo, raisins, and egg.
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