Where to eat in Bacolod during the Masskara festival

Head to these eating spots in Bacolod for the festive Masskara weekend and beyond

Western fare at Museum Cafe

Western fare at Museum Cafe

A bowl of batchoy

A bowl of batchoy

Chicken inasal at Chicken House

Chicken inasal at Chicken House

Fresh oysters at Nena's Rose

Fresh oysters at Nena's Rose

Morning

With plenty of free time in the morning before the Masskara street dancing begins, head to the heritage city of Silay to see its grand, colonial-era mansions. A great place to stop for breakfast is El Ideal Bakery (Brgy. III, 118 Rizal St, Silay City; +63 34 495 4430). Set in the ground floor of a 1920s-era home, this no-frills restaurant has served classic Negrense baked goodies for generations. Try the sweet, chewy piyaya patties along with the tasty mango tartlets, which go well with the house specialty lumpiang ubod — that’s heart-of-palm strips, shrimp and pork bits rolled in an egg wrap and smothered in a sweet, garlicky sauce.

Noon

A long walk through Silay’s storied streets will have you thinking about lunch before too long. Make your way to Negros Museum’s Museum Café (Gatuslao St) for its Western-inspired menu of open-faced sandwiches and fresh juices. This quiet diner sits in a picturesque atrium adorned with framed works from local artists. Afterwards, move over to Calea Pastries and Coffee (Lourdes – C Building, Lacson St; +63 34 433 8664) for dessert — this legendary sweet spot is known to make some of the city’s finest cakes. You can’t go wrong with the marshmallow ice cream cake and the white-chocolate cheesecake — or any of its other delectable offerings, for that matter. Whatever you end up ordering, rest assured the accompanying sugar rush will leave you powered up for Masskara’s main event.

Afternoon

The mayhem begins at around 1pm with the Masskara street dancing performances starting at Lacson Street. You can follow this happy, smiley parade as its snakes through the avenues of downtown Bacolod. Should you get hungry at any point, leave the crowd and head for one of the many batchoy eateries on the side streets (there are plenty around Bacolod Public Plaza). This native dish, made with egg noodles, chicken bits and pork crackling steeped in a bone-marrow broth, is a go-to staple for blue-collar folks. The batchoy’s richer, fine-dining version can be found at nearby Bar 21 (21st Lacson St; +63 34 433 4096).

Evening

Dinnertime is barbecue time, and in this city that means only one thing: chicken inasal. This lovingly grilled ginger-, garlic- and lemongrass-infused delicacy was conceived in these parts, and is Bacolod City’s best-loved culinary export. Skip the barbecue stalls at Manukan Country — everyone’s been there — and instead make a beeline for Chicken House (24th Lacson St; +63 34 434 9405). This casual food spot has arguably the tastiest inasal recipe in town. Another favorite is Nena’s Rose II Chicken Inasal (Father M. Ferrero St; +63 923 248 3125), an open-air griller that pairs its signature barbecue with buckets of fresh oysters.

At this point you can resume the revelry at Lacson Street, where the Masskara street party ratchets up after sundown. You may have come to Bacolod for the festival, but you’ll surely leave feeling that the local food scene was just as good a reason to be there.

Also read: Bacolod city guide

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Smile magazine.

Written and Photographed

Lester Ledesma

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