Every chicken-eating culture in the world has a recipe for barbecued chicken, and every mall in the Philippines has an inasal restaurant. Chicken inasal is the Big Mac of Pinoy dishes; there’s no shortage of inasal in the Philippines that claim to offer a “taste of Bacolod.” The term “authentic” can be a selling point or a marketing strategy; all too often, though, it’s just a collection of words.
Mang Inasal at SM Megamall is fairly easy to find, but like every restaurant that serves Filipino cuisine fast-food style, it’s a hit-and-miss. I was taught that inasal is a fairly simple yet flavorful combination of ingredients used to marinate barbecued chicken: calamansi, garlic, salt, sukang sasa, lemon grass, and annato oil. When this blend of ingredients are turned into a prepackaged mixture that makes life in the restaurant kitchen easier, you pretty much end up with a dish that tastes more like chicken tocino than authentic chicken inasal.