Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chicken Story

The Bacolod Chicken House

When you think of Bacolod City, you would automatically think of Chicken Inasal. If you think of Chicken Inasal, undeniably you would think of Bacolod City. They are bound to set an identity.

"There is no secret Recipe", said Jose Rico C. Cajili, one of the sons of Architect Joe and Pat Cajili owners of Chicken House. He narrated what he can recall, about the roots of their brand of Chicken Inasal. "Hindi kami ga-claim nga first inasal kami; We do not claim we are the first chicken inasal", a firm statement of Rico, "But we are the first Restaurant for Inasal". Bacolod Chicken House started in 1976. "Magulang pa na sa akon, 1977 ko ya mo" It (Bacolod Chicken house) is older than me, I was born 1977, Rico explained.

Rico narrated that it all started from someone whose name is Ysabelle/Isabel, she is the mother of the Chicken Inasal joint owners - Aida, Nena, and Elisa in Manukan Country. Elisa Garrucho went away  and build a restaurant named Chicken Queen, it primarily caters everyone with Garden sets ready to be used, so families can dine on whatever Chicken Inasal they would order. At one point Elisa was in need, and she sold Chicken Queen to Archiect Joe Cajili and Friends. Apart from being a restaurant, they turned the place their new haven where they could sit, talk, relax, and spend quality time. "Kabalo ka, mga Haciendero ang mga Amigo sang Daddy ko", narrated by Rico, recalling what was told to him. "Ang kay Judy Ann na bala, ang Ysabelle? Galing kay duha lang na sila nga mag-utod"(Remember Judy Ann's teleserye Ysabelle? The only difference is that there were only two Siblings involved), told Rico, referring to Actress Judy Ann Santos drama series Ysabelle. Furtthermore, Rico narrated that until the decline of Sugar Industry, where a buy-out happened. His Father's brother who was well off at time, lend some money to his brother ( Architect Joe Cajili ), to buyout the shares and finally became the owner of Bacolod Chicken House. Later on they transferred from their downtown space to a much bigger Space in Lacson Street, then three other restaurants were conceived, one in North- Lopues Mandalagan Art District, South - Araneta Street, and East - Lopues East Area. Then several restaurants in Manila.

Rico further narrated how hard it is to maintain quality, as they have a reputation to maintain. "Sometimes gabulig kami sa backyard" (Sometimes we are helping Backyard Farmers), said Rico, "small volume gakwa kami pero ka-inconsistent man sa ila, hindi man nila ma-maintain ang ila sizes. So gabayad na kami advance sa supplier, kag ginaprotectahan  kami nila"- we would get small volumes but they are not consistent especially standard sizes, so we are paying our supplier in advance, in return they give us protection. Rico narrated too that there were time that Chicken is scarce they would even pay a higher priced chicken as far as IloIlo or Cebu.

"Pwerte! Subong guid ang pinakalain."(Very! Now is very bad) Rico's reaction when asked about competition. "Wala man ah, daw naandan naman guid kami" It is fine, people are already aware of us." Rico is proud that they have loyal customers.

The recipe varies on the individual taste, which varies from one food source to another There's smokey, sweet, and as for Chicken House it's tasty as it has the usual acidity without compromising the chicken flavor, its Crispy outside something hard to achieve when grilling, and the meat is so moist and tender. That defines what an authentic Chicken Inasal is, the way it is prepared and cooked, the taste that truly defines itself, and the story behind the food that everybody loves.

The restaurant is very homey, it has this laid back hacienda atmosphere; it invokes a family experience, the atmosphere that is so inviting, that one would realize they just had an experience that transcends from the food to their very soul.

Chicken House truly made a name for itself. A Chicken Inasal Restaurant not taunted by new entry's draw that highlights Unlimited Rice rather than Chicken Inasal itself; "It's not our signature", said Rico talking about  how their restaurant is surviving. From the times where the Sugar Industry was down to pirating cooks, Bacolod Chicken House is still there serving the humble authentic chicken inasal. They pioneered the Restaurant Set up for Chicken Inasal, they made a brand not only set as an identity for an individual restaurant, but for Bacolod City as well.

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