People in Bacolod will tell you different things when you ask them who makes the best chicken inasal (grilled) in town, but when it comes to fried chicken, you will only get one answer: Luisa Fried Chicken.
The super casual, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, located in the Shopping section of downtown Bacolod, was established in 1995 by Iloilo-born Joseph Hao and moved to its current location in 2000.
Despite its modest interiors – fluorescent lighting, walls painted dirty white and no air-conditioning – it quickly became a staple on many Bacolod dining tables for its Chinese Filipino-style fried chicken and deep-fried spare ribs that’s covered in garlic.
Among the restaurant’s many fans include chef JP Anglo, who makes it a point to visit Luisa’s Fried Chicken whenever he is back in his hometown. It has also been popular with domestic travelers.
In 2019, Joseph’s son, Kenderson, who started helping out in the restaurant since he was 10 years old, took over Luisa Fried Chicken and decided that it needed a refresh to cater to younger travelers discovering the 26-year-old fried chicken recipe for the first time.
“We want continue the legacy of our parents and pass it on to the next generation. Our goal is to preserve the quality of our food. Luisa’s would be much more happy to serve good food to more people,” he says.
“We never renovated for 19 years,” Kenderson laughs. The walls are now painted white, while the ceiling is black and outfitted with incandescent pin lights.
It still uses the original dining tables and chairs, but they were reupholstered to look like new.
From nine tables, the restaurant now has 12. Kenderson also commissioned a new restaurant logo which features the face of Luisa, his mom; the restaurant is now called Luisa’s Fried Chicken.
“We wanted to keep the old school vibe, so it’s basically the same restaurant but it just feels updated,” he says.
Most importantly, the menu is now limited to just five items. “We already had a small menu before but I decided to just focus on our top five bestsellers: our fried chicken, garlic spareribs, sweet and sour pork, machang (stuffed glutinous rice wrapped in Chinese bamboo leaves) and maki (pork tenderloin soup).” Kenderson says.