Welcome to Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines! Indulge and enjoy this culinary adventure for foodies that DOT Sec. Christina Frasco and the delegation with her recently enjoyed at the Bantug Lake Ranch.
Dear fellow foodies,
Thank you for stopping by this post. I don’t write in the first person on this blog as much as I used to. But for something close to my heart—Bacolod City and food—indulge me this one time. I welcome you to my hometown and the City of Smiles, BACOLOD CITY.
Here, a gastronomic journey awaits you. Let me entice you further to come as I share the recently held Bacolod Lunch Experience hosted by Mayor Albee Benitez for none other than the Philippine Tourism Secretary, Christina Garcia-Frasco, and her esteemed delegation.~ Papa Eats
Bacolod City: A Culinary Adventure for Foodies
Last November 29, the Department of Tourism delegation led by Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco, stopped by Bacolod City as part of the Western Visayas Philippine Experience Program (PEP). This is The DOT’s flagship heritage, culture, and arts caravan.
The highlight of their visit?
It was the Bacolod Lunch Experience at the picturesque Bantug Lake Ranch in the eastern part of the city. Mayor Albee Benitez warmly welcomed the delegation, treating them to an authentic taste of Bacolod’s renowned dishes.
I’ve always urged family and friends to visit Bacolod, but let’s be honest – their trips were mostly about them coming to see us, not the place. But after attending this feast, I’ve realized there’s so much more to showcase about the city. Visitors flock here not just for our warm hospitality but for the unparalleled food experience that Bacolod City and Negros Occidental has to offer.
It’s a culinary adventure for foodies!
Feasting Fit for Royalty
The highlight of my recent foodie adventure was the feast prepared for Secretary Frasco. Despite her tight schedule, she couldn’t resist the tempting flavors laid out before her. Along with her, of course, all of us got to sample the delightful food combination from appetizers to desserts.
Even as a Bacolodnon, I have to say that I was taken aback. I wasn’t sure if I was just hungry, but wifey said that it was because we were served a complete traditional Bacolod meal from appetizer to dessert. Each dish has a flavor component that serves to excite the palate and heighten the dining experience.
Sec. Frasco was reportedly all praises with the Bacolod lunch experience. I’m confident that she’ll be back for more and maybe even bring along her entourage.
The Bacolod Lunch Experience at Bantug Lake Ranch
Let me take you through the incredible Bacolod Lunch Experience I recently had at Bantug Lake Ranch. Mayor Albee treated the entourage to a barrio fiesta-themed lunch that was nothing short of magical.
“Manyaga Kita!” – Let’s Have Lunch!
For us Bacolodnons, lunch is a serious affair, and we invite you to join us with a warm “Manyaga Kita!” It’s not just a phrase; it’s an open invitation to share a meal and enjoy the good life.
A Parade of Bacolod Dishes
Embarking on the culinary journey through Bacolod’s gastronomic treasures was a sensory experience that left an indelible mark on my taste buds. The menu, meticulously crafted, showcased the rich tapestry of flavors that define this vibrant city’s culinary heritage.
- Atchara: Shreds of unripe papaya cured in cane vinegar, a perfect mix of sweet and tangy.
- Ensalada nga Langka: Sliced young jackfruit in a coconut milk and vinegar medley – a symphony of flavors.
- Apan-apan (Adobong Kangkong): Water spinach adobo with a twist – the secret ingredient is bagoong (shrimp paste).
The appetizers, a prelude to the feast, introduced me to the diverse and delightful world of Bacolod’s palate. I am not a big fan of Atchara, so I skipped it for the other appetizers.
The Ensalada nga Langka, featuring sliced young jackfruit in a coconut milk and vinegar medley, offered a symphony of flavors that teased my taste buds.
The Apan-apan, a twist on the classic Water Spinach Adobo, incorporated the secret ingredient of bagoong (shrimp paste), elevating the dish to new heights. Each bite was a revelation, a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of Bacolod’s culinary artisans.
- KBL (Kadios, Baboy, Langka): A rich soup featuring Philippine pea, pork hocks, and chopped young jackfruit.
- Inubaran na Manok: Slow-cooked native chicken with banana pith, mongo, lemongrass, and salt.
Moving on to the soup, the KBL (Kadios, Baboy, Langka) presented a rich broth that encapsulated the essence of Bacolod. The combination of Philippine pea, pork hocks, and chopped young jackfruit created a hearty and soul-satisfying dish.
I got curious about the Inubaran na Manok. So I got a serving of it. The slow-cooked native chicken masterpiece unfolded its flavors with banana pith, mongo, lemongrass, and salt, a comforting embrace in a bowl.
Main Course: The Bacolod Chicken Inasal
- Classic Bacolod Chicken Inasal (Aida’s): Sour marination with cane vinegar and kalamansi, a true local favorite.
- Bacolod Native Chicken Inasal (Lion’s): Free-ranged native chicken with anato oil, providing a unique flavor.
- Contemporary Bacolod Chicken Inasal (Kusina Remedios at Bantug): Marinated in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and pineapple vinegar, a slightly more acidic twist.
The main course, the Bacolod Chicken Inasal, took centerstage, each variant showcasing a unique twist on this local favorite. From the classic Aida’s version with sour marination to Lion’s free-ranged native chicken with anato oil, and Bantug’s contemporary twist with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and pineapple vinegar — each offering was a testament to the diversity within a single culinary tradition.
While I liked all of them, the free-range native chicken stood out for me, mainly because of its unique texture. Yes. Sometimes, it’s all about how the food feels in your mouth. The chewy yet tender quality of the chicken, thanks to the vinegar, just made the whole experience enjoyable.
Inasal nga Isol and Isaw:
- Isol (Chicken Butt): The fattiest part, grilled to crispy perfection.
- Isaw (Intestines): Marinated, skewered, and grilled for a delightful pica-pica.
The Inasal nga Isol (Chicken Butt) and Isaw (Intestines) added a playful touch to the meal, their crispy perfection and delightful marinades creating a memorable pica-pica experience.
Sawsawan (Dipping Sauce):
- Various combinations of patis, langgaw (suka), sinamak (spiced vinegar), kalamansi, and crushed chili – each diner has its own preference.
Savoring the meal wouldn’t be complete without exploring the various Sawsawan (Dipping Sauces). With combinations of patis, langgaw (suka), sinamak (spiced vinegar), kalamansi, and crushed chili, I found myself customizing each dip to match my preferences, adding a personal touch to the culinary adventure.
- Piaya: A simple pastry filled with abundance – sugar, specifically muscovado, for that distinct Bacolod sweetness.
- Napoleones: Layers of flaky pastry injected with sweet buttercream, topped with melted powdered sugar.
- Sorbetes: Locally-made ice cream in ube, vanilla, and keso flavors, a perfect sweet ending.
As we wrapped up the meal, the desserts brought a sweet ending. The Piaya, a pastry filled with muscovado sugar, offered that special Bacolod sweetness. Indulging in the Napoleones, with its flaky layers and sweet buttercream, was a real treat. And of course, the locally-made Sorbetes in ube, vanilla, and keso flavors were the perfect way to finish off this delicious feast.
If the above list doesn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what will. I was still chewing and savoring the food when I had to pause and turn to my wife, who was beside me. I said, “Gosh, this is not the first time I have eaten all this food served, but it seems like the first time I’ve enjoyed all of them together.”
Join the Culinary Adventure for Foodies in Bacolod!
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and come join us in Bacolod for a culinary adventure for foodies that will tantalize your taste buds and warm your heart. Let’s make “Manyaga Kita” more than just a phrase – let’s make it an experience.
See you in Bacolod, the City of Smiles, where every meal is a celebration!