If you’re up for a serious food trip, Bacolod’s where it’s at
Tourists flock to Bacolod every year for festivals akin to the capital. These fiestas celebrate traditions in the most awesome way possible, too: giant dance parties out in the streets where old traditions meet new ones and, in the spirit of community, strangers turn to friends.
You can mark your calendars for the Bacolaodiat Festival that ushers in spring in February; the Babaylan Festival, meanwhile, takes place later in the month. In April, there’s the Panaad Festival, also known as “The Festival of Festivals.” Capping off the year are the Masskara Festival in October and the Pintaflores Festival in November.
A year in Bacolod is peppered with exciting main events, but there’s another great reason to pay this city a visit all the other days in the year: food. While known as the City of Smiles because of such pleasant locals—known, in fact, as the friendliest in the country—the amazing food in Bacolod might just be the other reason people here are always so chipper. And hey, we’ve all seen how delicious food can flip a person’s mood.
Bacolod becoming food central is written in its history: It carried the country’s sugarcane industry in the ‘50s, generating up to 60% of the country’s sugar export. Albeit its sugar industry facing challenges today, Bacolod is the undisputed land of dessert. As for main courses, Bacolod’s got them covered, too (all these local festivals are never complete without a feast!). In this one city alone, you’ll find the freshest seafood, the original Chicken Inasal, delectable pastries made with love, hole-in-the-wall finds that will make you want to fly out to BCD every weekend and cheap beers below zero to go with all your meals.
An authentic Bacolodnon gastronomical experience awaits! And this is Bacolod extending an open invitation to possibly the best food trip of your life:
Aida’s Chicken Bacolod in Manokan Country
Because one does not go to Bacolod to eat at a Mang Inasal (their version is considered sacrilege by true lovers of inasal, by the way). Head to Aida’s in Manokan Country for the best, the OG: mouthwatering inasal with soy sauce with chili and calamansi for dipping and steaming garlic rice drizzled with chicken oil.
Address: Manokan Country, Rizal Street. corner Father M. Ferrero Street
Great things stand the test of time. Case in point: Bob’s, everybody’s favorite family restaurant in BCD, a restaurant that set up shop on B.S. Aquino in 1965 and has been there since. Founder Conchita “Titang” Varela Sicangco’s family (her apos to be exact) now runs the business and have made it a point to bring Bob’s to Manila.
Address: B.S. Aquino, North Drive
Cake from Calea is a highly requested pasalubong by dessert lovers who could only wish they could fly to Bacolod themselves for the ultimate dessert crawl. The Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake, Broken Glass Pie, White Chocolate Cheesecake and Chocolate Mud Pie are just some of the all-time favorites here. But really, one slice of each cake would be ideal!
Address: Robinsons Place Bacolod, Lacson Street, Mandalagan
You could head over to Super Batchoy House for this one, but if you’re up for a cozier setting, 21 Restaurant is the place to get a bowl of the most delicious batchoy in Bacolod. We’re not kidding: “The best Batchoy in the whole world,” one food review reads. “And the best Super Moist Chocolate Cake. Service is superb. And 21 does not scrimp on the ingredients so we got High Quality Super Delicious Food always. My visit to Bacolod will not be complete without a taste of 21 Restaurant.”
Address: Lacson Street corner 21st Street
Sharyn’s Cansi House
The cure for the blues in Bacolod can be found right here. Sharyn’s Cansi House (as the restaurant’s name suggests) is all about cansi, the Ilonggo’s ultimate comfort food. Delia Perez, who named the restaurant after her daughter, has perfected the art of lutong bahay and was even named one of the world’s street food masters by the World Street Food Congress.
Address: C-58 Capitol Shopping Center, Narra Avenue, Barangay Villamonte
Lord Byron’s Backribs Bacolod
If falls-off-the-bone, melts-in-your-mouth, succulent baby back ribs spiced and cooked to perfection are what you have in mind, make this your first stop in Bacolod. The demand for their ribs is on the rise, too. They now have branches in Dumaguete and most recently Iloilo, so you can satisfy your baby back rib cravings should you find yourself in these neighboring islands. We could only hope the folks behind Lord Byron’s expands to Manila next (fingers crossed!).
Address: Luxor Place Hotel, Magsaysay Avenue, Bacolod
This dampa-style restaurant is a great place for big groups and a family-style meal. Make your selection from the fresh fish and shellfish on display, tell your waiter how you like them cooked, sit back, have a nice cold beer and let the seafood feast begin when the waiter comes around with your order. It’s difficult not to want a second (or third) serving of the buttered shrimp, scallops and adobong pusit here. The must-try dish to complete your first Hyksos Pala-Pala experience? The delicious fish tinola!
Address: Reclamation Area, Barangay 10, Bacolod, 6100 Negros Occidental
And here’s another take on the Bacolod food adventure: Funny man and fine fella Nico Bolzico recently flew to Bacolod for Globe’s Scenezoned. The plan? To discover Filipino food. Click on to watch the full episode!
Dang. Who else is suddenly hungry?