Seeing families together in a mall on weekends has become such a common sight these days, especially for people in urbanized areas like Metro Manila.
This bonding time has become precious for the time-pressed families, where each member is pre-occupied with a lot of things during the weekdays. Each moment matters, so why bother to spend time for elaborate, time consuming meals?
Thankfully, eating places abound almost anywhere, where families and even a group of friends can still enjoy home-made meals.
For those who crave and miss the lutong-bahay meals, there are many variations based on places of origin (e.g., Tagalog, Kapampangan/Ilocano, Bicolano and yes, Ilonggo). An example would be Bacolod Chicken Inasal in Glorietta 2, Makati where my family and I had lunch recently.
In a span of around 15 minutes, our table was filled with three (3) main meals, drinks and and desserts:
- Chicken inasal with garlic rice, eggplant atchara, buko pandan and iced tea
- Chicken adobo, garlic rice, maja blanca and iced tea
- Salmon belly sinigang, ginataang monggo and langka, rice, ginataang halo-halo and a cup of hot coffee
Of these, the chicken inasal is most associated with the city of smiles (Bacolod), while the rest is common everywhere in the Philippines, with the exception of the use of “batwan” that differentiates an Ilonggo from a non-Ilonggo soup.
Batwan is a round-shaped, greenish-coloured and sour fruit that is considered a ‘must have’ in every Negrense’s home, much like the tamarind is to a Tagalog. It is used for sinigang, kansi (beef nilaga), kilawin and other dishes that require sourness. Some food processing companies have also made candies, purees and preserves out of this fruit.
Whenever the pagka-hidlaw (longing) strikes for Ilonggo dishes and soups using batwan, I’m only too glad that it wouldn’t take me that far, due to eating places like the Bacolod Chicken Inasal.