Mang Inasal, (Hiligaynon for “Mr Barbecue”) is a hugely popular BBQ fast food franchise from the Philippines specialising in Chicken Inasal (barbequed chicken to you and me). There is some debate as to whether this first branch in Dubai is an official branch or an unofficial clone. The bright, colourful branding used on the exterior, the cheerful interior and the fact that it’s packed solid from the minute it opens (almost exclusively with Filipinos) certainly suggest this is the real thing.
So, the way it works is that you walk in and up to the ordering station (like at any fast food franchise), order your food and find a table. You’re given a number to place on your table, so the wait staff know where to deliver your food (like at Costa). While you wait for your food to arrive, you’re served a complimentary bowl of a clear broth soup similar to Sinigang, a Filipino soup characterized by its tangy and savoury taste most often associated with tamarind. This one though had a distinct hint of vinegar yet was very nice.
My Inasal arrived, a whole chicken leg, spiked on a wooden stick – the perfect way to eat barbequed chicken. The key to Inasal is its marinate which I am told is a concoction of Calamansi, achiote oil (some of which is also used to flavour the rice), minced garlic, ginger, and coconut vinegar among other ingredients. It gives the chicken a deliciously sweet and sour taste not uncommon to barbequed chicken marinated in Mama Sita BBQ sauce. The Inasal is served with sticky rice which the restaurant famously keeps topping up. Wanting to try something else from the menu I ordered one of my favourite Filipino comfort foods, Pancit Lomi, a hearty chicken noodle soup which is well worth a try.
Service is very smiley and attentive, and I was a happy boy up until I finished my chicken. But then I was made to wait for nearly 15-minutes for my Lomi – unacceptable. That said, I’m going to assume this was a one off and let it slide. Why? Because I really liked this restaurant. In addition to the really good food, I enjoyed the authentic ambience. I hope this review will encourage more non-Filipinos to visit, not just this, but also other Filipino restaurants; especially in the Satwa area where they are particularly good. Filipino food is amazing yet overlooked in Dubai. Mang Inasal is a very good place to start.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.