Chicken inasal is the “go to” food of Bacolod – just as how LeBron James is the “go to” scorer of Cavs. Chicken inasal is eaten with garlic rice, chicken oil, oysters, and soft drinks.
Aida’s Restaurant can be found in a place called "Manokan Country” in Fr. Ferrero street a few meters away from SM Bacolod. Wow. It must be some kind of "country." Imagine their nationalism.
Avril and I like it here because their food is consistently authentic.This restaurant is unpretentious, pompous, and doesn’t bull shit. The rule is simple: you eat or leave. Never mind that their toilet is as trashy as a bunk of squalid drug den, or that the server of oysters seems bipolar and needs to be treated with anti-psychotic drugs. If you are looking for the “go to” of chicken inasal in Bacolod – Aida's Restaurant is the shit.
Wash your hands thoroughly because inasal is eaten with the hand. Don’t expect a choice of cutlery. The use of spoon and fork here is laughable. Hand to mouth is the way, the truth, and the light.
You can choose what kind of water to wash your hands – deep well or faucet water. It's amusing. It took me a while to realize that it is a contingency measure. No water from the local water district? No problem, there’s deep well water and vice versa.
Aida’s chicken inasal is as tender as marshmallow, soft and juicy, with a faint hint of ginger and other spices. I usually order "pa-a," the leg part, but you can also choose from pecho, pak-pak, or pecho-pak, atay and isol. Isol is chicken ass - gorgeously flunky and unhealthy, but claimed to be damn good.
The garlic rice is served generously. It is made-golden by chicken oil, a dash of crisp garlic, and a pinch of sea salt on top.
Talaba, on the other hand, is served a plate full. Locals eat talaba together with soft drinks. They believe that soft drinks neutralizes whatever biological dangers and perils oysters carry. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do believe though that you should not eat talaba with an empty stomach or when pregnant. Needless to say, eating talaba is like playing Russian roulette and for good reason. This tasty, slimy mollusk is a “janitor” of the sea.
Aida’s imperfections are part of its appeal. You need to be patient to people who serve your food. The key to satisfactory eating in Aida’s is to follow up your order and your extra orders, or else, it might never see the light of day.
Just like quarter-life or mid-life crisis, we’ve all hit that point where we can’t figure out what to eat. You feel isolated, absurd, and bored with the choices available. But perhaps “go to” places like this can help you discover what you want.
Sometimes, the best way to figure what you want is by a little bit of trial and error. Finding out what is hidden behind the usual surface of life even if it might involve some kind of risk -- like death or illness from eating raw talaba.
The usual food bill dining for two is around 350-500 Pesos.