Bacolod has numerous roadside eateries and carinderias. Everywhere you look, you can find them. But there’s one place that really stands out. If you drive at night on Alijis Road you will notice one peculiar sight. There are carinderias and eateries everywhere but they are practically empty. As you drive past Jade Court you will be surprised by rows and rows of jeepneys, motorcycles parked near one certain carinderia. That Carinderia is Virgelio’s.
Appearances can be certainly decieving! This humble carinderia is actually owned by one of the most famous chefs in Bacolod: Virgelio “Jun” Celis.
Jun Celis worked in various ships and floating restaurants throughout his career and has worked as sous chef on board RMS Queen Mary 2, the biggest transatlantic ocean liner in the world ! Yes, this amazing person runs a carinderia by the side of the road. What’s even more amazing is that he doesn’t use any MSG at all in all of his dishes! Everything is all natural.
We asked Chef Jun why on earth a person with his talents chose to put up a humble carinderia. Chef Jun said that when he first decided to put up a business he noticed all the fancy restaurants with fancy decorations along Lacson street that were empty so he decided to put up a carinderia instead. And what a carinderia! Everything is simply amazing.
No MSG or Maggi Sarap is used at all in these dishes. You can really taste the difference!
But Virgelio’s isn’t famous for its barbecue or sisig (although they are pretty good!) The most popular item on the menu is Virgelio’s SOUP #5. It is so darn good that people from Cebu and San Carlos actually drop by Virgelio’s whenever they are in Bacolod.
I got a bowl full of the soup and Immediately I was struck by the aroma and rich thick soup. The soup was very thick and the aroma of beef was simply enticing!
I took a spoon full and I was temporarily at a loss for words..
“This is… This is…” I mumbled as I took another spoonfull of the soup.
“This is SO FREAKING AWESOME!!” I exclaimed as I felt the rich thick beef flavor rushing down my throat.
Chef Jun smiled and pointed out a piece of meat bobbing in the soup.
“Is that really BEEF TONGUE?” I exclaimed in surprise.
“But where’s the bull’s peepee and how did it get so rich and thick? The flavor is amazing! ” I dug around in the soup watching chunks of beef float to the surface.
Chef Jun then told me that the secret to his cooking is that he boils an entire cow to make the beef stock! The whole thing boils away until you get a reduction that is used to make the thick rich soup. The pots of soup are actually on the stove the entire day!
Using a rice husk fired stove, Chef Jun ensures that the soup boils and simmers at just the right temperature leading to a very rich concentrated flavor.
I learned that before he used to spend 600 pesos a day for charcoal but with his rice husk stove, he only spends 1 peso for a sack of rice husks!
It was all amazing, learning that you could cook with rice husks and having an all natural Filipino meal without MSG and maggi sarap! You must try Chef Jun’s food especially the Soup #5. It is fantastic!!