Three hundred meters of smoking barbecue grills lined up Araneta Street here on Saturday afternoon as the city staged the first Bacolod Chicken Inasal Festival to cement its status as the home of the country’s best grilled chicken.
“It’s very delicious,” said the event’s guest of honor, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, after tasting the famed inasal.
The envoy was toured by city officials led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia during the grilling ceremony which started around 5 p.m., and he joined them in a boodle fight with a group of streetchildren afterwards.
Khovaev told reporters the Bacolod chicken inasal is the best grilled chicken he has ever tasted.
“I’m sure he was just being a diplomat, but he was speaking the truth,” Leonardia quipped in response to the compliment.
He added: “I believe this is where the chicken inasal became famous, this is where it started. The others who followed are no longer original.”
“This festival proclaims to the world that this is the original, this is the best, and it belongs to Bacolod,” the mayor declared.
Leonardia said his dream is for the city to have a “unified” recipe for grilled chicken that will represent a truly unique taste of Bacolod chicken inasal.
At least 3,000 Bacolodnons flocked to the festival site at the city’s downtown area, where about 25 chicken inasal vendors, including 12 from the Manokan Country, grilled 3,000 pieces of chicken on sticks.
Tickets were given to street children and indigent residents to bring home grilled chicken for free.
Councilor Cindy Rojas, chairperson of the Chicken Inasal Festival, said the festival aimed to promote the city’s food tourism.
“When you say chicken inasal, it’s synonymous to Bacolod City. This is a way of showing the world that Bacolod has the best chicken inasal,” she added.
Rojas said that for next year’s festival, they are eyeing to set up a longer line of barbecue grills.
“Next year, we will make it longer. Instead of 300 meters, we will make it 500 meters or even 1,000 meters,” the councilor said.
After the grilling ceremony and the boodle fight, the inasal kiosks opened on Araneta Street, where a Zumanokan dance exercise competition was also held.
A street party capped the festival. (NG/PNA)