Thursday, November 26, 2015
Meal: Lunch for 5 (and more)
Price: 940 pesos
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: 3 whole chickens, 1 liempo
English Menu: Yes
Andok's chicken is one of several roast chicken and pork chains in the Philippines. It's my favorite, probably due to childhood memories, but I'm not the only one who thinks so. It was one of my son's requests during this trip that would eat some Andok's chicken at some point, and we finally got around to it the other day as we were driving home in traffic from my old school (Faith Academy). We have been known to eat an entire chicken in the car (not the easiest of feats), but today we didn't feel up to it, so we took our haul home (another hour or so in traffic). I bought 3 whole chickens and 1 liemp (roasted pork of some kind). We started getting faint from hunger in the car, so we all partook of the liempo as it was easiest to eat with fingers. Once home we put two of the chickens in the middle of the table, poured the little sauce packets into some bowls, added rice, and presto! We had lunch. We never made it to the 3rd chicken which is (un)safe in my dad's fridge and will probably be consumed today some time, as we we are about to board the plane back to Japan.
What makes Andok's chicken so good are two things: 1) pandan leaves stuffed inside the chicken and 2) charcoal roasting. Pandan leaves are very aromatic and are frequently cooked with rice to impart the aroma to the rice itself. It's a long, green, fibrous leaf that you can't eat, but is used as a kind of spice like cinnamon sticks. Stuffed into a chicken, it seeps into every fiber of the meat. The slow rotisserie charcoal roasting also imparts an excellent smoky flavor to the chicken. There may be a sweet soy sauce baste involved too, but I've never asked. All together I believe this style is from the Bocolod region and it is widely considered the best in the Philippines, and I can say personally, the best in the world.
BTW, there are Andok's Chicken restaurants all over the place, and almost none have seating, so it's usually a strictly take-out affair. Also, the locations I selected on the maps bear no relation to where we actually got our food. I can't recall where that was so I picked random restaurants for reference. You will know them by their sign.