I can no longer count the number of times I met up with old friends from Bacolod just to get together and the unanimous answer to the question, "Diin kita makit-anay? (Where is our meeting place?), was, "Ah, sa Chicken House lang a!". Thereafter when the place has been identified, it is hard to come by with anyone who would disagree with the resto of choice.
And when the time comes to meet, and eat, we are all like little kids blurting out our orders to the waiter, "Ako `ya paa (leg)!", "Ako `ya pecho (breast)!". Everyone excited to have their orders in a jiffy.
Through the years Chicken House's tables are silent witnesses to all the reminiscing Bacolodnons have shared over the juicy chicken inasal. Personally, I cannot recall a time I have sat down to eat at Chicken House and not remember my late dad who first brought me to Chicken House in North Drive a good forty years ago. Yes, we reminisce. Our hearts and emotions are in these conversations over simple inasal because life is built on memories. They can bring tears of joy or pangs of sadness.
As we understand it, enjoying food is not only about the taste of the food at the time we are eating it, it's also reliving the memory of the other times you enjoyed the same food. The minutes you physically enjoy your food are fleeting; what's left is the memory of the company you were with. Studies say that memories of food are so powerful that you may go out of your way and travel a distance to dine in a certain restaurant because of the memory of the food served and the company of friends you associate it with.
It's how we define comfort food. Comfort food is a food item that takes your memory back to a time or place. Often we look to comfort food when we are upset or anxious. We need the memory of a simpler time, or a loved one, or of good old Bacolod City. And clearly, that's where Chicken House comes in.
It is the food that cures Negrenses' nostalgia and homesickness.
As I draw this blog post to a close, I am sure, in your mind, you can smell the inasal, you can taste the garlic rice, and feel the pinch of sinamak on your tongue.
You can close your eyes and remember the laughter of the friends you were with. You realize that at Chicken House, for the past forty years, it's not just the chicken, it's the memories!
The writer, Lloyd Tronco, is from Bacolod, a chicken inasal lover and addict who always eats inasal with garlic rice and a stick of baticolon (chicken gizzard).
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Bacolod City's famous chicken dish inasal (barbecued chicken) has spread far and wide across the globe reaching not just the United States of America but also the Middle East. Unknown to many is the fact long before it reached foreign shores, inasal's humble beginnings are traced back to a small street in Bacolod known as Cuadra......Read More