Hong Kong-based Filipino-Pakistani Bilal Aamir Roxas Khan used to come home to the Philippines for one reason—to eat chicken inasal. Eating the Filipino chicken barbecue delicacy remains his passion despite the time and effort it took to bridge the distance from his new home. But when COVID-19 disrupted global travels, Khan decided he couldn’t just wait for travel to resume. And so, he created his own chicken inasal recipe that later became a successful business venture in Hong Kong.

Khan was 22 years old when a friend introduced him to one of the country’s most popular chicken barbecue chains Mang Inasal. He thought, why not create something similar in Hong Kong so people like him wouldn’t have to fly back to the Philippines just to taste it again? With the help of his mother, Khan came up with a unique recipe for Chi-Khan Inasal.

It was mid-March this year when his wake up call to start a new business came. That was when he couldn’t sell 10 portions of the custard dessert leche flan to Filipino migrant workers congregating at Central’s Statue Square on a Sunday. After facing several rejections, he decided to channel his entrepreneurial goals towards chicken inasal.

The chicken he sells is Halal, which means the dish is accessible to the Muslim and other communities. 

Chi-Khan Inasal’s Facebook page now has more than 4,000 followers, with demand for the dish still growing.  Khan partnered with Sobremasa Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Soho, Central. Customers can choose to replace rice with fries or salad and opt for delivery or takeout. During weekends, they get from 50 to 80 orders, mostly from overseas Filipino workers. Khan hopes to open a full-fledged restaurant of his own, with an expanded menu and market his dishes in Wanchai or Central where many Filipinos are based.

Khan wants Filipino food to establish a bigger presence in international cities, starting with Hong Kong, as this can bring traffic back to the Philippines once travel restrictions are lifted.

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