Mang Inasal used to be the charming entrepreneurial roasted-chicken place to be. Some guy from Bacolod started and nurtured it, helping it grow to become a really huge thing. Huge enough to get Jollibee’s attention. They bought Mang Inasal last year for P3 Billion.

Jollibee itself used to be the little engine that could, didn’t it? The guys who owned it resisted going public with it, but eventually gave in (perhaps because the idea of a Jollibee branch in California was too much to resist). Now it’s a corporate heavyweight. A heavyweight that still serves crispy chicken and yummy budget burgers, yes, but a heavyweight all the same.

Thank goodness we still have Chic-Boy.

Its menu bears very close resemblance to Mang Inasal’s, with the addition of pork items and—as far as I can tell—a little more variety.

The number system and the condiments on the table are unmistakably Inasal (except for the tissue box, which Mang Inasal‘s Philcoa branch doesn’t have).

The enchaladang mangga is awesome! I’m cool with tomatoes and don’t care so much about onions, but damn, the raw mango plus bagoong is to die for. May I suggest Chic-Boy add Hilaw na mangga with bagoong to their menu?

The house soup: a perfect embodiment, I think, of Inasal versus Chic-Boy. Up until November 11, the soup at Mang Inasal‘s Philcoa branch was actually quite delicious, even though it was pretty easy to tell that the cooking process mostly involved hot water and copious amounts of Knorr cubes. They seemed to have changed the formula on November 11 (either increasing the amount of water or decreasing the amount of cubes in the ratio). When I dined in that branch on Monday it was even worse, as though the kitchen staff had accidentally spilt oil on hot water.

But heavens bless Chic-Boy‘s soup. Real onion leaf bits. Genuine taste. That’s all you need to know.

These are their bathrooms:

“Boy” for the men’s room…

…and “Chic” for the ladies’ room. So funny it’s annoying!

On a final note, Chic-Boy tries to set up shop close to Mang Inasal branches. The two food chains are next to each other on the same building in Banawe. They’ve got balls.