It’s not a secret that Mang Inasal has become the “Jollibee” of unli rice and chicken inasal combo. I mean, I’m sure there are far better ones in other places like Bacolod City which is famed for these (and I think is the birthplace of inasals) but let’s face it, Mang Inasal’s brand resonates all across the country! Sadly, though, its flavors seemed to have changed a couple years back. I’m not sure exactly when it started but I remember coming home to the Philippines from NY in 2011 and Mang Inasal was meh. Even its chicken sauce, which I used to love, became super duper bland! And I’m not the only one who noticed this BTW. I know quite a ton with the same sentiments.
When I was in Iligan City, I’d always always pick Dear Manok over Mang Inasal. In Cagayan de Oro City, Jo’s Inato in Corales was my favorite, but that was in 2004. But here in Manila, Mang Inasal is just everywhere! And it’s an easy choice especially if you really want a cheap eat with unlimited rice…. until we discovered NUMBER 1 BARBECUE!
We were checking out the nearby SM East Ortigas mall when we chanced upon this restaurant. It looked great on the outside, with a laidback ambiance, enough to lure people in. But what really caught our attention was UNLI RICE.
Number 1 has a wide array of options, unlike Mang Inasal which is limited to chicken, sisig and pork barbecue. At Number One, they have chicken inasal, pork BBQ, smoked US beef, lechon belly, smoked US pork belly, lechon sisig, buttered shrimps, BBQ fried chicken, Korean BBQ US beef, chicken teriyaki, BBQ kani chicken, Japanese misono US beef, sandwiches and so much more!!! All for easy-on-the-pocket prices!
The photos I took with my phone do not do justice to the taste at all. I also grabbed some photos from their Facebook page as I’m having problems with my Google Photos and can’t retrieve all the photos I took 🙁 Anyway, Number 1’s food are flavorful. Something you’d want to come back for more. Although some of their servings are skimpy (lechon belly, smoked US beef, etc.), it’s still very tasty that you’d want to eat more and more rice with just one tiny piece of meat. Plus, they have free sinigang soup!
When it comes to the chicken inasal, it is definitely waaaaay better (and bigger) than Mang Inasal’s. Their chicken sauce/oil is also better although it just bested Mang Inasal’s to some degree.
Number 1 has desserts, too. Halo-halo, chocolate cake a la mode, chocolate truffle mousse, creme brulee and leche flan are available. So far, we’ve only tried the chocolate cake a la mode, creme brulee and leche flan, all of which are so-so with chocolate cake a la mode maybe a tiny bit better than the two.
We’ve been to Number 1 3 times in one month already and I’d say their food are really delicious. My personal favorites (from what we’ve tried) are chicken inasal and lechon belly (although it’s a far cry from the best lechons I tasted in Iligan City). But you know what makes them even more return-worthy? Their service! Every single one of their crew is courteous, fun, proactive and not at all maangas. They’re quick to give you more rice and soup, and refill your glass with water, too! Plus they all seem to be having fun with their work, which makes their aura even more pleasing.
So you know, if you are one of those people who are boycotting Mang Inasal, or you’re one of us who are just really not satisfied with Mang Inasal anymore, Number 1 Barbecue is really an ideal option.
Other branch: SM City North Edsa
For more information, you can visit their official Facebook page: Number 1 Barbecue