It was truly surprising to have stumbled upon a food establishment on that part of Balete Drive and P. Tuazon on N. Domingo, San Juan. An al fresco dining that features authentic Ilonggo fare, Juan Stop Inasal will surely make a great pit-stop for commuters and those who live in nearby areas. What used to be a family garage now sports a dining area with a festive ambiance. "We started out as a takeout counter and eventually opened a dining area in September 2013," says Stephen Christian Po, proprietor of Juan Stop Inasal. "This food business started because my wife and I couldn't find any restaurant in the Metro that serves authentic chicken inasal. So we've thought of my grandma's recipe of the chicken inasal and from there, we were able to develop our recipe according to our own taste," added Po.
Juan Stop Inasal had that inviting ambiance from its wooden tables and benches, to the colorful wall signage, free wifi connection, a reading area (where one could take some magazine and read as you wait for your order) to the fast service--it is the kind of food establishment that you'd want to linger on and chat with family and friends alike. Oh, and Juan Stop Inasal has an enclosed glass grilling area where one can see how your orders are cooked but sans the smoke coming from the grill.
Chicken Inasal seems like a very simple recipe-chicken marinated in a mix of ginger. Garlic, brown sugar, calamansi and vinegar, grilled to perfection until the skin is tinted with an appetizing orange or yellowish color and the meat is amazingly tender and juicy. But the real inasal stems from the incredible combination of both savoury and smoky tastes that's actually hard to recreate or even describe. When doused with one's own formula for dipping sauce (it could be soy sauce with chili, calamansi, sinamak vinegar or even sugar)--it is the most flavorful and fulfilling meal one will definitely ask for more.
There are several chicken inasal chains in Manila but only a few truly knows how to make an authentic chicken inasal. I have always been in search of finding 'the real thing' so each time I try on an 'inasal', I would mark it if it has passed my standards or failed. I'm such a huge fan of Ilonggo food that's why I got so excited upon learning that Juan Stop Inasal offers not just chicken inasal but other Visayan favorites like Batchoy, Ilonggo's finest longganisa, Negros style spicy bangus sardines, and Ilonggos in Manila will be happy to note that even the rare KBL (Kadios, Baboy, Langka) which I seldom find on Ilonggo restaurants is available here. They also have grilled liempo in two variants: hickory barbecue and salt and pepper, pork barbecue, dinuguan, pancit and sisig.
Here's my verdict: I commend Juan Stop Inasal for their jumbo inasal meal with unlimited garlic rice and unlimited iced tea because it is truly a good value for money at Php105, all-in! Imagine getting mounds of unlimited garlic rice and unlimited drinks--you're tummy will certainly be happy after consuming every rice-you-can-eat and drink-all-you-can-iced-tea. I also loved its authentic Ilonggo taste--it isn't sweet unlike other chicken inasal I have tried from other restaurants that 'claim' to be 'authentic'. What I've had at Juan Stop Inasal tastes just the way chicken inasal should be--it's probably done the way they do it in Bacolod or Iloilo. I should know as I've been to Iloilo before and tasted the 'real thing'. For me, Juan Stop Inasal's version of chicken inasal passed my standards.
Hefty chicken portion size, delightfully crispy skin, soft and succulent meat, Juan Stop Chicken Inasal tasted pretty heavenly. It definitely held its own, despite other sumptuous dishes (which were all wiped out). While you're at it, do not forget to ask for the chicken oil mixed with the dipping sauce basics when you eat their inasal. There was nothing that my group and I didn't finished off, so you can imagine how stuffed we were after our meal!
Do try to order their sizzling pork sisig, it's one of the BEST I've ever had! And I am totally raving about it even days after I've had that meal. For Php130 per order, it's good enough for two to three persons. You can even pair it with a bottle of beer for that perfect meal. I can assure you, it's definitely worth the trip!
Juan Stop Inasal's hickory grilled liempo was also outstanding. Its got that sweet and spicy taste of charred pork. Although it had bits of bones on it, but pairing it with their garlic rice brings satisfaction. As for the KBL, I really think kadios is basically an acquired taste. I love it although I'm not really a fan of pork. For those not familiar with kadios, it looks like a small black bean (similar with tausi but not salty), the soup had that tangy unique taste on its own. If you're craving for Visayan food and you're on a budget, Juan Stop Inasal is the go-to place.
You can even purchase your favorite Ilonggo delicacies as pasalubong or as desserts to cap off your lovely meal.
I only have two words for Juan Stop Inasal, "Namit Gid!".
Juan Stop Inasal delivers on limited area nearby. Call 570-5653 for delivery and advance orders.
Juan Stop Inasal is located at N. Domingo Street between P. Tuazon and Balete Drive (near Religious of the Virgin Mary Convent). Special thanks to Mr. Stephen Christian Po and his lovely wife and to Mr. Ian Atienza.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.