My last visit to Bacolod was just a few months ago, when my boyfriend and his parents came over for the traditional pamanhikan. Ever since then, there has been a number of new restaurants throughout the city that sprouted out of nowhere. From afar, I have enjoyed making a mental list on where to go and which new restaurant to try when I get home. One of these new restaurants that I've grown curious of is Chifa Comida Latino, a Peruvian restaurant in the heart of the City of Smiles.
Sampling different cuisines is one thing I greatly enjoy doing since it gives me an idea on what to expect from the rich culture where that particular cuisine comes from. At the same time, trying out these dishes gives me an experience as if I personally traveled to that destination, even though I really didn't step out of the country. Throughout my life, I've sampled a number of cuisines-- Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, American, Turkish, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Korean, Lebanese, Indian, and Moroccan. So when the opportunity to taste Peruvian dish presented itself to me, I was more than happy to comply. Plus, it did help that the Chef and half-owner of the restaurant was the brother of one of my best friends.
Peruvian cuisine has once been described by US food critic, Eric Asimov, as among the 'world's most important cuisines and an exemplar of fusion cuisine' because of its rich multi-cultural nature. This South American fare has evolved greatly from its local and immigrant roots. There is a vast diversity of ingredients available in Peru, which many of its inhabitants make use to create a delicious feast. Some staples of Peruvian cuisine include potatoes, corn, legumes, and tubers. Unfortunately for us, we weren't able to sample the best of what Peruvian cuisine offered as there were only two of us to eat the food.
Stepping into Chifa greets you with a familiar feel and ambiance. A beautiful mural of Cuban lifestyle surrounds its walls, giving the restaurant a friendly vibe. Its chairs are made from re-purposed drums painted with a complementing tropic green hue to them. Complementing it is a lively tune of Afro-Cuban beat that will make you want to join in on the fun. If you've watched the Jon Favreau movie 'Chef,' it's exactly the same feel as you'd expect stepping into the El Jefe restaurant at the end of the movie. This is what Chifa Comida Latino has been able to encapsulate and bring to its Bacolod family.
Pollo con Cola (P160)
Pollo con Cola (P160)
Homegrown Bacolodnons, Chef Paolo Consing and Luis Kilayko have turned this restaurant into a thing of beauty and have truly captured the essence of what makes a restaurant last in Bacolod-- good food, good company, and good price.
When we dined at Chifa, we were told that the serving was big enough to feed 2-3 people. So we decided to split on a single dish and just order some rice. Plus, it didn't help that we were still so full from all the delicious food we ate that afternoon.
We decided on the Pollo con Cola, a order of braised chicken simmered in Coca-Cola. When the dish arrived, the first thing that came to my mind is Escabeche, because of the beautiful colors that covered the pieces of chicken in a peaceful slumber. The dish was indeed good for 2-3 people and did not cost a lot of money. What I enjoyed about it most was that the chicken was cooked to perfection-- tender, moist and perfectly flavored. Each item on the plate complemented one another and produced a melancholic taste without overpowering anyone. There was a hint of cola on the juice of the chicken, yet it was different-- subtle and more balanced.
I definitely will be back for more Chifa Comida Latino. Bacolod, you guys are so lucky you have Chef Paolo manning the kitchen and using his culinary experience to whip up delicious dishes for you. If you want good food at a good price, this is the right place to go!
with Chef Paolo
Chifa Comida Latino is located at the 17th Lacson St., Bacolod City. They are on the ground floor of a dormitory across the Garcia Sanchez Swimming School on 17th St. For more information or reservations, you may call (034)431-4607. They are open Wednesdays to Mondays 11:00am - 2:00pm and 6:00pm - 10:00pm.