Negros Food Juanders
Breathtaking beaches, beautiful mountains, colorful festivals and smiling people draw travelers to the sock-shaped island of Negros. Negros is divided into two provinces: Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. But let’s take a closer look at Negros Occidental, the land of sweet surprises, and unravel the food discoveries they have there.
What makes wanderers come back to the sugarbowl of the Philippines is its flavorful gastronomy and sweet delicacies that everyone is raving about. If you have a sweet tooth or a penchant for good food, then Negros Occidental is the destination to do a food trip and taste its food wonders. When you visit famous restaurants or food joints and grab a bite of delectable Negrense dishes or desserts you’ll surely go, “Juanderful! I Juant more!” (Wonderful! I want more!)
The gateway to this province is through Bacolod City where Cebu Pacific has flight schedules from and to Manila seven times daily, Cebu twice daily, Clark once daily, and Davao twice every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. With these frequent schedules and Cebu Pacific’s affordable flights, there’s no excuse for you to miss Negros Occidental as a food destination in the Philippines.
Food wonders of Negros Occidental
Sugarcane plantations and sugar production is the main industry of the province. So, expect the best desserts to come from this land. However, Negros Occidental is also thriving as an agricultural place where various high-value crops, livestock, poultry and fisheries abound. In other words, its various cities and municipalities have several fresh raw ingredients that can create yummy dishes. There is abundance in food, including homegrown herbs, spices and souring agents like batwan. On top of this, farms, especially organic ones, are slowly getting the attention of consumers and travelers. In fact, you can find farm-to-table and sea-to-table eateries in Negros Occidental.
The Slow Food Movement is also active in Negros Island and many known Filipino chefs trace their roots from Negros Occidental. The Provincial Tourism Office recognizes the local culinary scene as one of the main drawers of tourism that it has highlighted Negrense cuisine in various festivals, exhibits, fairs and special events. Farm tourism and food innovation while preserving Negrense heritage are being pushed by the current provincial government.
When you plan a trip to this part of Western Visayas, you should not miss some of the following palatable food and more.
Friends always tell me that the chicken inasal in Bacolod really tastes different compared to other chicken inasals they’ve tasted in other parts of the country. From food preparation to marinating to actual cooking, there’s a local way of doing it that makes it savor differently.
I have to separate oysters from other seafood because many locals and travelers really look for oysters when they come to Negros Occidental. Expect oysters to be a major food offering during city and town festivals.
Since most towns in Negros lie in the coastal area, fresh seafood is common throughout the province. Fishing is one of its major industries and several menus are developed made out of crabs, prawns, shrimps and sumptuous fishes.
Soups: Kansi, KBL and Laswa
There are certain dishes that you will find rare in other parts of the Philippines but you will see as a usual sight in Negrense dining tables. Local bone marrow soup like Kansi, pork soup called Kadios-Baboy-Langka, and vegetable broth Laswa are among the popular Ilonggo dishes that can fill your tummy and warm your heart.
Desserts: Napoleones, Piaya and pastries
Of course, when it comes to sweet food, Negros Occidental is definitely the top destination in the country. You can also learn how sugar is produced and processed when you visit sugar mills. Bakeries and pastry shops are found in every city and town. Also, every traveler cannot resist enjoying the cakes, pastries and other sweets which are popular souvenir food items.
Food wander in Negros Occidental
It’s easy to take a food trip around Negros Occidental because every stop, every corner is a food attraction. But it also makes it difficult because you cannot include everything in one itinerary. The positive side is that you always have something to look forward to every travel to this province. You can wander through these parts of Negros and enjoy the local food finds.
Bacolod, the City of Smiles
Two or three days are not enough to taste everything in Bacolod. Every traveler wants to visit the Manokan Country where a row of restaurants offering chicken inasal is found. Some of these restaurants also have oysters and other local dishes. It’s best to try many chicken inasals throughout the city, such as Bacolod Chicken House, Nena’s Rose, and Chicken Deli.
There are restaurants where you can choose fresh seafood and have it cooked the way you want them to be. For batchoy, 21 Restaurant is where you should have it. If you want some history and good food, Bob’s is one of the oldest restaurants in Bacolod. Pastries and sweets can be enjoyed in Calea, Felicia’s and C’s, among many others. Food pasalubongs are souvenirs can be bought in many store chains, like Merzci.
Silay, the Paris of Negros
Another food paradise is Silay, better known as the Paris of Negros because of its rich history, art scene and cultural assets. There are many food traditions that have already been passed from one generation to another. El Ideal’s food offerings and Emma Lacson’s empanada are among those that have a flavorful history when it comes to Silay gastronomy.
If you want some seaside ambiance and seafood dishes, Balaring has many restaurants on stilts. There are also other restaurants in Silay that you should try. For desserts, Anne Co has one of the best cakes in the province.
Move to the north and add EB Magalona blue crabs, Manapla puto, Cadiz dried fish and Sagay shells and seafood to your food list. What’s more, you can enjoy the sumptuous fare of northern Negros while lounging at the beach and breathing in the fresh air. Beautiful beaches, sand bars, smaller islands and rich marine life are among the many attractions of northern Negros.
Eastward to the highlands
Fresh fruits and vegetables abound in Murcia and Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB), where you will feel a cooler climate. Travelers can feast on the organic produce in these towns and take a dip in the hot and cold springs in mountain resorts. At DSB, it’s nice to make a stop in one of the cafes by the highway and have a warm coffee while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
From Bacolod to the southernmost town of Hinobaan, you can make several food stops and fill your tummy with great food finds. The coastal towns and cities offer tasty and fresh seafood dishes while those on the mountainside are rich in vegetable, poultry and livestock products. Filipino kakanin are also abundant throughout Negros, and you can taste homemade pies and snacks along the way.
Now, if this post is mouthwatering enough, plan your next trip to Negros Occidental. Check out the Cebu Pacific flights to Bacolod and book your tickets to this food paradise. Prepare your palate for some feasting in the land of sweet surprises.
This article is an entry to the 2019 Negrense Blog Awards.