Here Is A List Of Delicacies You Must Try In Bacolod!
Choose Philippines | Oct 07, 2019
Story and photos by Jose Marty D. Go
A famous delicacy from the country’s sugar capital, Negros Occidental, Piaya is a round and unleavened bread with muscovado filling, essentially unrefined sugar and molasses produced by sugar centrals in the province. It is made by flattening dough with the muscovado mixture on the inside, a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top and baked on a hot griddle. Piaya is best served hot and pairs nicely with coffee as a snack or dessert.
Mark Vargas, general manager of Baylon’s Piaya, one of the oldest Piaya producers in Bacolod, recalls his grandmother Conching Montelibano – Baylon serving this pastry to their guests at home during family parties and gatherings in the early sixties. She later decided to start a business with it. Since then, Piaya has become a popular pasalubong treat for tourists. Balikbayans would even bring a box or two of this delicacy outside the country. “Those living abroad would bring with them Piaya and it would last even up to four months. What they do is store it in a refrigerator and then reheat it in a toaster or microwave and the freshness and crispiness will come out,” Mark relates.
Over the years, the Piaya has evolved into different varieties of flavors and sizes. There are now small but round ones sold in the market. Other variants come in ube, turmeric, basil pesto and other unique flavors. Each pack, which usually contains 5 to 10 pieces, would range from P40.00 to P115.00, depending on the flavor and brand.
Baylon’s is now finding means of improving its product to adapt to the needs of the market. “We might be coming up with another version of Piaya for diabetics, less sugar, less muscovado,” Mark adds.
Bacolod City tourists usually bring home a box of sweetness from the City of Smiles called Napoleones. This local delicacy is among the many local sweet pastries that can be found in the sugar capital of the country.
Roli’s Café in Bacolod started making Napoleones in the seventies. “It was inspired by the French dessert called Napoleon and my grandmother made her own version of it, which is now called Napoleones. It is just puff pastry with custard in the middle and sugary icing on top,” said its operations manager Ileana Garcia.
Aside from the classic plain Napoleones, Roli’s came out with a different version it for chocolate lovers. “I think people love it because of the custard, it’s not too sweet and it’s very creamy and plus the crunchiness of the puff pastry so it’s a good match and makes a perfect pastry with coffee,” Ileana adds.
Napoleones come in bars and squares. The classic (white sugar topping) ones are sold at P300.00 per box of 10 bars and P200.00 per box of 12 squares, while the chocolate ones are sold at P320.00 per box of 10 bars and P220.00 per box of 12 squares.
For pastry lovers who are looking for a simple snack that can be paired with many beverages, Barquillos makes a perfect choice. Inspired from a similar delicacy from Spain, this cookie pastry is made of flour, sugar, butter, milk, and eggs and is baked and rolled into a thin cylinder-shaped snack.
Manuel Engallado, manager of Sugarlandia, which is the oldest producer of Barquillos in Bacolod, said that they still manually bake their products to maintain its freshness and taste. “Tapos niluluto sa hot plate na parang cookies na manipis then i-roll gamit ang rolling pin para maging tube ang kalabasan ng barquillos and they turn out crispy,” he explains. (We cook them in a hot plate like thin cookies then we roll them out using a rolling pin to mold them into the tube shape of barquillos)
The freshness of Barquillos can be maintained by storing it in airtight containers. Aside from its unique cylindrical shape, it also makes a good match for beverages of all flavors. “Masarap ito i-pares sa ice cream pero pwede rin sa coffee, tea, softdrinks,” Manuel shares, “Sometimes, pinapares nila sa tsokolate yung tablea.” (This is good paired with ice cream, it also goes well with coffee, tea, softdrinks. Sometimes they partner it with tablea chocolate.)
Sugarlandia today has come up with many versions of its Barquillos with different sizes and ingredients. Aside from the regular size, it now has double short and super-sized ones. Its latest innovation is the Tablea Barquirice, which is made of organically grown rice and brown sugar, and Honey Sesame Barquillos.
[related: The Home of the Best KBL in Bacolod]
When it comes to barbequed chicken, nothing tastes better than the original Chicken Inasal of Bacolod City. Rosario Tutor, owner of Nena’s Rose Chicken Inasal, inherited the business from her grandmother in the sixties. She said they used to cook and sell just along the side of the street where passersbys would get a whiff of the sumptuous smell of chicken on the grill. Today, almost every restaurant in Bacolod has this local delicacy on their menu.
Inasal in the local dialect means char-grilled. After the chicken meat is marinated with vinegar, sugar, and calamansi, they grilled and brushed with achuete infused oil until they are fully cooked. This dish is usually served with rice sprinkled with fried garlic on top. It is best eaten with a mixture of soy sauce, calamansi, and a local spicy vinegar called sinamak. “Mas masarap talaga kung merong calamansi pero meron namang mga customer na kung hindi gusto ng suka, nilalagyan nila ng toyo o asin,” says Rosario. (It tastes better with calamansi but there are customers who prefer soy sauce or salt because they don’t like vinegar.)
Others would also put some chicken oil on their rice while eating to enhance its flavor. “Ang chicken oil ay niluluto naming sa garlic para kung ilalagay mo sa kanin malalasahan mo at maaamoy yung garlic sa mantika”, Tutor added. (We cook the chicken oil with garlic to infuse it with the taste and smell of garlic.)
Chicken Inasal comes in paa (leg), pecho (breast), or pakpak (wing) parts. Tourists and balikbayans can also bring home this local delicacy as they are wrapped and placed inside a tightly sealed box so it will not spoil in a day or two.