The long queues and seemingly never empty stalls of Mang Inasal have always piqued my interest. While Filipinos are admittedly natural food enthusiasts, there has got to be an ultimate X-factor that keeps the people coming. Is it the tasty food? The cheap prices? Or perhaps all of the above?
Mang Inasal is a fast-food chain notorious for its bestseller, inasal na manok, which is available in two parts: paa or pecho. Covered with spices and grilled over a pit, the chicken inasal can serve as a satisfying viand even without the complementary condiments or sawsawan (soy sauce with calamansi). For only Php 108, one can avail a meal comprising of chicken inasal, unlimited rice and drinks.
Aside from their bestseller (inasal na manok), Mang Inasal also offers a menu unique for its very Pinoy taste. Among the meals they offer are Dinuguan with puto, sisig (bangus or pork), pork barbecue, boneless bangus, and grilled liempo, the latter four served with unlimited rice and drinks. Each of these meals can be availed for less than Php 100. What is extra delightful about this fast-food chain is that they offer unlimited free hot soup, which carries the traditional tanginess of our very own sinigang.
Another thing that I like about Mang Inasal aside from their very affordable yet delicious meals and unlimited rice and soup is the availability of condiments on each table: soy sauce, chicken oil and vinegar. I have also noted that they serve one or two calamansi fruits with their meals: a trademark that I find very Pinoy as we are fond of eating our meals with our choice of sawsawan, may it be soy sauce with calamansi or soy sauce with vinegar. I also appreciate how they put banana leaves on the plates to accentuate their motif of Pinoy cuisine, bringing the Filipino dining experience to a higher level.
While Mang Inasal implements self-service, I appreciate the diligence of the crew in their work. It is remarkable how they always seem to be on a look-out to offer more rice or to serve soup. Although, I guess, the diligence of the crew varies among branches, this protocol is one that is always observed, regardless of how busy the place gets.
Due to its popularity among the Filipinos, branches of Mang Inasal always seem crowded that searching for free tables became a difficult task. Oftentimes, this sets people off so they leave; but for me, the usual hustle-bustle of Mang Inasal and its scarcity of free seats are signs of its success – success brought by the enhanced Pinoy dining experience: Mang Inasal’s ultimate X-factor.