May 13, 2007

Jo's Chicken Inatô

Jo's Inato by the Sea 2

In the past, going out to restaurants for lunch or dinner was not something we did very often in Dumaguete. This is largely due to the fact that, for the most part, restaurant food could never compete with the meals so lovingly prepared at my grandmother's house. We didn't have it for the rest of the year, so we enjoyed it while we could. If we weren't eating at home, that usually meant we were enjoying other home-cooked meals in a relatives house. That was just the way it was.

In the recent years, however, and with all the new restaurants that have opened around the city we find ourselves venturing out more often. My cousins took me to Jo's Chicken Inatô in the town of Sibulan on our way back from Lake Balinsasayao. I was told the founder and owner of this famous barbecue chicken restaurant chain, Josephine Ng, lived just across the street.

Jo's Inato by the sea

The word inatô means 'to feel at home with' and that's exactly what it felt like dining here. The staff was warm and friendly and the ambience was rustic and very casual. The restaurant was by the sea, and we chose one of these tables outside (pic above) so we could enjoy the sea breeze and the view. The tables here were shaped like bancas (canoes) and the seats were the "outriggers". Very cute.

Jo's Inato

There are other items on the menu but we all ordered the house specialty which is grilled chicken served with puso (rice packed and steamed in coconut leaves) and atchara (pickled papaya strips). It looked just like Bacolod's chicken inasal and even tasted similar. At least until you dunk the chicken into their dark, special sauce and then it totally blows your mind! The achuete oil of chicken inasal has nothing on this. I don't know what's in that sauce and if by some stroke of luck someone that knows reads this, I beg you, please tell me.

Puso

Puso (rice packed & steamed in coconut leaves)

Not only was it delicious, it was darn cheap. A little over P 100 ($2) for a chicken leg, one puso and a Coke. It's no wonder then that since it's inception in 1985, at least 10 other branches have opened in other cities such as Iloilo, Cagayan, Roxas, Cebu and even Manila! Why is it I had never heard of this before? There's supposed to be a branch in Jupiter St. Has anyone been? I gotta check this out soon.

I really enjoyed myself, using my hands to pull the meat off the stick, dunk it in the sauce and to pop it into my mouth, followed with a pinch of rice. I licked the sauce off my fingers, sighing contentedly with the sound of the waves lapping against the shore in the background. What I would have done for a banig (woven mat) to crawl into right there for a nice afternoon siesta.


Click here for a list of Jo's Chicken Inatô branches.

21 comments:

nina said...

Yup, I do remember seeing Jo's Chicken inato in Jupiter. Can't remember where along Jupiter exactly. Their QC branch is still open, and though I always pass it when I go to my friend's house, I've only eaten there twice. Hmm, thank you for reminding me to visit them again ;)

Senor Enrique said...

I think I've heard of Jo's before. I love chicken and I really should try this.

I'm sure an elegant get-together will be enjoyed by you all on this Mother's Day. Have a good one, Christine!

christine said...

Nina, thanks for the confirmation! I'll have to drag some friends there. :)

Hi Eric! Thanks! Hope you're enjoying the long weekend. :) The chicken itself is very good, comparable to inasal. But it's that special sauce they have, it's the bomb!

Em Dy said...

Hi Christine. Great post but maybe you can say something more about puso for your other readers, especially foreigners who follow your posts. I was clueless about puso until a friend from Cebu brought some for lunch last Thursday to go with the lechon.

M.Tan said...

Let's go try some Jo's chicken Nena! Hopefully the one in Jupiter's still open, otherwise we'll have to find the one in QC.
Do you think having it in Manila vs a beach in Dumaguete will be the same?

katrina said...

I see the Jo's Chicken Inato on Jupiter all the time, but never tried it because someone told me that Chicken Bacolod is still better. But your post makes me curious. It's on the part of Jupiter between Reposo (aka N.Garcia) and Makati Ave. The one I really want to try, though, is JT Manukan. Maybe when the weather gets cooler.

christine said...

Hi Em, thank you for that. Because I explained what puso was in two of my previous posts, I didn't realize it was important to explain it again here. And it is, in case someone is reading only this post and hasn't been following the series. Again, thank you, I'll edit it now. :)

Mila, yes let's! Let's have a simple and cheap yet delicious meal for a change. I will get a visa and drive to QC for it if I have to! heehee And no, I doubt it would be as good as having it by the beach. :D

Katrina, thanks for the directions. In my opinion both Bacolod Chicken Inasal and Jo's Chicken Inato are excellent! I was always a big fan of chicken inasal which is why I became such a big fan of Nando's peri-peri chicken in London - it was the closes I could find to our chicken bbq there. But to me, what sets Jo's Chicken Inato apart is the sauce.

While the achuete oil of Bacolod Chicken House is sinfully delicious, I find this one to be infinitely better. It's a dark sauce, very thick, with a hint of sweetness to it. Maybe not for everyone, since taste is subjective, but I love it!

tutubi said...

Jo's Inato on Jupiter St (near Bacolod Chicken) is no more...

lasted quite a short time

i prefer Inato than Inasal back then :(

christine said...

Oh no! That's bad news. I was really looking forward to that. Hopefully the one in QC is still open, I wouldn't mind driving there for that, as long as it's on a Sunday so no traffic. :)

in-JeN-iosiTy said...

Hey Christine! I've tried Jo's inato in Congressional ave...I have a post on it actually. It's good and cheap nga! =) I think the food at Jo's Dumaguete looks more yummier!!!!! and the rice isn't served that way at the Q.C. branch! =)

christine said...

Jen! Yay! I'm gonna go to Congressional just for that. Do they have that dark special sauce too? I'll look in your archives for the post. :) Thanks!

docchef said...

went to dumageute last April.. ate at Jo's, nice place to be dine in..

kai said...

hi..i happened to pass by your blog & i got hooked on your posts especially since i also love to travel & i'm a fan of good food.

regarding jo's inato, i have tried their branch at cebu city, about two years ago...and yes, i had a similar experience as yours, enjoying a hearty meal & having to eat "puso" rice. i would definitely go back to jo's. now, i'm back in manila & it was nice to know that they have a branch here now. thanks! :)

christine said...

Hi docchef, I'm glad you agree. :) I love the rustic seaside ambience.

Hi Kai! I haven't tried the one in Manila yet, QC is just so out of the way and far for me. I really need to get myself to go because I know there are tons of great restaurants there. Thanks for dropping by and hope to see you back here again! :)

Anonymous said...

jo's chicken - a sure yum yum every time you crave for chicken.. lucky me // i live just around visayas area .. happy eating to all // u should also try bacolod chk n bbq house.. the chicken is super delicious !!!

jun p f

Shin Lapuz said...

I can recommend to Bacolod Chicken Inasal. They really serve good chicken dishes.

christine said...

Hi Jun n Shin! I'm a big fan of Bacolod Chicken house so I agree with you both that it's really good! We used to frequent the branch at Pasay Rd cor Pasong Tamo after late nights out. There's nothing like flushing the alcohol out of your system with that yummy orange oil on your garlic rice! :)

julieann said...

it's the best chicken in town...nikamot nga chicken the best...yum yum

christine said...

Hi Julieann! Lami kaayo sa? :) But I'm wondering why the branch in the city doesn't have the sauce that the other branch (by the sea) does. That's what made it more sarap in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

where are the branches now? thanks

Carl Tomacruz said...

Is there any difference between Inatô and Inasal? Is it in the kind of chicken or the marinade? I've never tried Inatô before.