Mang Inasal Metroplaza (Dagupan City, Pangasinan)
After 14 years! Yes, I have a chance to have a short trip (1 week) to the Philippines, not for a holiday but to attend a funeral, not an ideal way to spend the time back to my home country but it has to be done. This happened a couple of months ago when my brother-in-law passed away, sad times but at least now he is free of pain and earthly hardships. Anyways during our stay, we only have the late night to spare for ourselves and the last one 1/2 day of our stay, it was tiring and stressful but the new things we discover is a consolation for this trip.
Since we only have the late nights and it was not in Manila most of the food places we dined in for the five days were fast foods starting with Mang Inasal. This place existed since I left 14 years ago but it was not as commercialized as today, during those times the branding is quite different and it looked like a native eatery, now after it was acquired by Jollibee it looks more like a fast food restaurant, slightly resembling Jollibee.
I love their chicken when it first came to Manila, smoky mildly sweet, it was a new way of enjoying chicken during those times where it was dominated by fried chicken from Jollibee and McDonalds, the Chicken Barbecue of Aristocrat and Tropical Hut as well as the grilled chicken by Kenny Rogers. I even remember a friend of mine owned a similar restaurant who sells the same type of chicken, the inasal. Now fast forward to today here we are in Dagupan trying this chicken under different management and see if it still comparable with the ones I had 14 years ago.
As we enter the place we saw a lot of people enjoying eating the chicken, most of the using their hands and asking for extra rice from the unlimited rice bucket. It was a good sign, especially when the ones beside you already asked 3 times for an extra rice, in here people do not ask for the gravy as they don’t have it, instead they pour flavoured chicken oil into their rice making it yellow orange in colour (I just knew this after we dined in). Upon ordering their prized chicken the cashier told is it will be 20-minute wait and I was quite hungry so I grabbed some Palabok (Php 69.00) first to bridge that hunger. This Filipino noodle dish is served with thick rich sauce seasoned with chopped spring onions, hard-boiled egg slices, shrimp, chicharon bits, meaty pork and tinapa, it was my favourite dish during my growing up stage. During the days I cannot remember if they sell this as I only go here before for the chicken, at first bite you will definitely taste the connections with Jollibee, it tastes and looks 100% the same, I love the Jollibee palabok so this is nothing different.
Few minutes later not even 20 minutes the chicken arrived, Pecho with Rice (Php 111.00). Basically, quarter of a chicken Skewered and grilled the Mang Inasal way. There was no leg and thigh part which was my preference so I have no other options but have the breast and wing, surprisingly it was juicy and the breast part was so tasty as well, it wasn’t as smokey as before but it was still delicious, savoury with hints of sweetness is a perfect match to that freshly cooked rice.
We added also the most popular soft drink in the Philippines, the lemon iced tea (Add Php 14.00)
I was full, palabok and the chicken certainly did its job, I was satisfied to the brim but it does not stop there yet as we ordered their two types of halo halo.
First was the Pinoy Halo-Halo (Php 73.00 / Regular), it’s one of the must try desserts when you are in the Philippines, this delicious and creamy shaved ice milk concoction topped with red sago, buko pandan jelly, langka, ube halaya, yellow beans, red mongo beans, leche flan, macapuno, banana, ube ice cream and barquillos is something to crave for. It’s like the Korean Bingsu but even better.
We also tried a new type of halo halo called Crema de Leche Halo-Halo (Php 62.00 / Small), unlike the original halo halo this one is topped with three main ingredients caramelized banana, macapuno and leche flan, still served on a creamy concoction of milk and ice.
My night ended with a satisfied tummy, it was a good way to destress, eat good food. I know this might not be a special dish for most Filipinos but for me it was, 14 years of not eating Filipino fast food will let you appreciate things like this.
Mang Inasal Metroplaza
Address: AB Fernandez Ave, Downtown District, Dagupan, 2400 Pangasinan, Philippines
Phone: +63 922 431 4665