07 Jan2009

Roadside Barbecue

by Marketman


We were driving through the town of Opon, or Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan, Cebu recently and I spied this section of barbecue vendors near the Opon market. Actually, what really caught my eye at first was a small truck whose cargo bay was completely filled with thousands upon thousands of handmade barbecue sticks. I stopped the car, grabbed my camera and crossed the street to take some photos of the wholesaler who was delivering rolls of barbecue sticks (various sizes, up to say 1,000 sticks per roll) to market vendors…


Inevitably, the power of pork fat on the grill, the smoke, aromas and late morning hour resulted in my ending up ordering several dozen sticks of various kinds of barbecue to take back to the office for lunch… With even “value meals” at fast food restaurants costing between PHP40-60, a stick of chorizo or soriso as they are locally referred to for PHP10 plus PHP5 worth of rice in a puso or two means you can actually eat a modest meal for some PHP15 or so. Double up on the meats or add a stick of pork barbecue for PHP6, and for about PHP20 you are eating fast food the NON-Jollibee way…


The choices included chicken livers, hotdogs, pork barbecue, chorizos, chicken, etc. And most were basted with a sweetish colored sauce to make it more “appetizing” and saleable, according to the vendors at the market. I was personally rather shocked by the amount of food coloring used on some of the pork…


A barbecued chicken leg and thigh was the most costly option at PHP40. It also seemed the least artificially colored…


The pork barbecue on a stick were quite small, but for PHP6 very cheap, though a seriously scary nuclear red-orange.


And forget fancy Weber barbecues… just four steel bars over hot coals and it was perfectly suited to all kinds on stuff on a bamboo skewer.


Honestly, I wasn’t too thrilled with the selection I purchased that morning, but it was all gobbled up back at the office regardless… I find that local barbecues have just gotten too sweet for my taste buds…



  1. Chef Ron says:

    first time i have tried chorizos/longganisa being barbecued was when we were in boracay. that was about 10 yrs ago. i think i wanna try them again. =)

    Jan 7, 2009 | 3:38 pm


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  3. maricar says:

    yup….the chorizos in boracay are good…..actually, the yumminess of a barbecue really depends on the marinade you put.hmmmm,ithink i wanna eat barbecue tonight……

    Jan 7, 2009 | 3:59 pm

  4. Carol Fuentes says:

    Actually I wouldn’t trust those roadside barbecues very much because from what I hear that is why they can sell it cheap is because they use the discarded portions of meat which are not to saleable. Hehehe!

    Jan 7, 2009 | 5:33 pm

  5. Mimi says:

    nakakatulo laway naman…miss ko na ang bbq hilera sa kanto sa amin kaso wala silang ganiyan ka mura! i shudder to think why so cheap…the cheapest pork bbq that they sell near our place is P15 (year 2006 price) for 1 pork bbq stick – not too small but not big, you need to eat at least 3-4 to satisfy your bbq craving.

    Jan 7, 2009 | 5:50 pm

  6. Marie says:

    I miss Pinoy barbecue! They have something similar (ie: ambulant bbq vendor etc) in Shanghai, but, the specialty of the house is mutton. As they’re mostly halal, (The vendors are from Xinjiang, a predominantly Muslim region in Northern China), they often supplement the lamb skewers with mushroom, green beans and chicken skewers. No basting sauce, though. They just season everything with some chili pepper and cumin. I still prefer our bbq back home, but, nothing can beat this after a night out with friends.

    Jan 7, 2009 | 6:10 pm

  7. Rhea says:

    Barbecued chorizo and puso were my usual dinner during the time I was in Cebu while reviewing for the board exams. Tasty and easy on the wallet.

    Jan 7, 2009 | 6:54 pm

  8. sister says:

    I wouldn’t eat any of it. First the meat, then the color which is probably banned #2 instead of achuete, the non- refrigerated delivery, handling etc. Too bad an overdose of sugar seems to prevail with a lot of street food in the Philippines instead of the vibrant flavourings elsewhere. In photo #1 raw meat is placed above cooked meat on the right side, with the possibility of contamination very real. Might be cheap, might be a prelude to food poisoning as well.

    Jan 7, 2009 | 7:50 pm

  9. anna.banana says:

    I love barbeques and anything inihaw! My mother used to work at a hospital near South Superhighway when I was younger, and always our pabilin was Aling Nene’s barbeque! There’s also Beach House at the back of the UPD Lib. And the yummy Ilocos longganisa barbeques at the town Plaza of my parents’ hometown, not to mention Ineng’s and Grill Queen.

    Sometimes I trick myself into thinking that barbeques are healthier (not fried) but seeing how most meats are slathered with oil based glazes in Pinas while being grilled,it’s certainly as fatty and cholesterol-laden as the fried variety.

    Jan 7, 2009 | 8:18 pm

  10. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    While in college at Cagayan de Oro in the mid 70’s, a street perpendicular to XU was know as BBQ street. BBQ restos on both sides of the street would have their BBQ grill by the sidewalk with electric fans blowing the smoke onto the street.

    The pork BBQ cuts then were also more like kebabs and not like todays tapa like slices.

    Oh yes, Aling Nene’s along South Superhighway was good in the early 90’s too!!

    Jan 7, 2009 | 8:44 pm

  11. ging says:

    roadside BBQ never used to be orange and sweet. I fondly remember a time when BBQ marinade was a lip smacking vinegar, soy sauce and calamansi. Whoever invented the cloyingly sweet catsup based marinade SHOULD be shot!

    Jan 7, 2009 | 8:50 pm

  12. diday says:

    Whoa.. I can smell it from here.

    Jan 7, 2009 | 9:11 pm

  13. Maria says:

    sigh, i miss grilled chorizo at Ric’s BBQ

    Jan 7, 2009 | 9:53 pm

  14. Angela says:

    Oooohh, Lordy!! That is some very brightly colored food!

    I agree with Sister, the food looks tempting but I wouldn’t eat any of it.

    Jan 7, 2009 | 10:05 pm

  15. chrisb says:

    ging, the marketing people of UFC tamis-anghang banana ketchup perhaps? haha.

    MM, the best barbecued pork I’ve had was in our farm up north. Fresh liempo, uling made from dead branches of fruit trees all around the farm, and sea salt. That’s it pork + salt + heat. Sawsawan would usually be suka(made from sugar cane at the farm) crushed pepper and garlic.

    2nd best would be the barbecue they used to sell at the west triangle parish in QC every Sunday. It was made by one of the parishioners for the weekly charity food market. I don’t know if it’s still being sold today…

    Jan 7, 2009 | 11:06 pm

  16. Maria Clara says:

    That’s a real barbecue galore! The waft of burning fat in an open pit is very inviting to the palate even the one with discriminating taste. From what I heard most street food vendors including barbecue stands they use a sweetening agent from China that is equally sweet as the regular granulated sugar and cost much less. I would imagine it is a laboratory manufactured/synthetic sweetening agent. From economic/profit standpoint I imagine most vendors prefer the synthetic ones.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 1:36 am

  17. navyGOLF says:

    No pork/beef meat for me for now, after the holidays and consuming tons of these. veggies is the way to go but the mention of bbq chicken gizzard and liver is something worth reconsidering, they’re not beef or pork, right? : )

    Jan 8, 2009 | 1:45 am

  18. betty q. says:

    If I was a Pinay Health Inspector visiting your blog, MM I will be on the next flight there and do some serious lecturing on Hepatitis and Salmonella among other lectures!…never mind the sweetening agents for now, I would be more concerned with the hot food stored together with the raw food . At any rate, if they do store each in a separate compartment, I would imagine most likely not under proper refrigeration? or if it is, most likely not at the suitable temp? But I was wondering though should they get a visit from a Health Inspector, would they really heed their advice?

    Hey NunosaPunso…are you still there? Have you ever tried the recipe of the Brined Barbecue Chicken legs I posted a while back? Isn’t it good? That is the Lechon Manok that my siblings, their friends, friends of the friends of my siblings and my neighbours as well prefer. ….no added glaze or bastes….plain simple to gooodness tasteof barbecued chicken as it is supposed to taste!

    Jan 8, 2009 | 5:46 am

  19. dragon says:

    Hi ChrisB,

    RE West Triangle BBQ, I know what you speak of. My late mom was one of the organizers of the WT Tiangge. They’ve stopped that now. And yes, the BBQ was very, very good: nice size, tender, flavorful.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 7:52 am

  20. bluegirl says:

    Betty Q, I didn’t see your post for Brined Barbecue Chicken Legs. In which post is it?

    Jan 8, 2009 | 8:00 am

  21. chrisb says:

    Thanks dragon. I miss that bbq. Practically had that every Sunday, whenever it was available.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 10:50 am

  22. DADD-F says:

    Begging your indulgence MM and readers but I can’t access my email for some reason and I just have to get a word out to betty q. Betty, I hope you get this. I’ll write soon as my email problem is sorted out. Have been sickly these past few days, too. But I can’t let this day pass without communicating with you. Am sure this is no mystery to you. Sige.

    And thanks for the opportunity MM.

    Also, I find sister’s recipes fascinating. Already, my imagination is getting ahead of me. Happy new year everyone!

    Jan 8, 2009 | 11:16 am

  23. betty q. says:

    Bluegirl….my apologies! I went to the archives but i cannot find it! Connie C…HELP! You have a folder!!!!!

    DADD-F…I knew something was amiss…anyway, can’t do much posting or typing these days …my kili-kili and shoulders are soooo sore from shoveling the snow in front of the house and on the driveway!

    Thanks, MM for obliging and using your blog as a channel of communication with the others!

    Jan 8, 2009 | 11:30 am

  24. Tugashaligi says:

    Next time you go to south cebu try this small barbecue stall in Argao called Nice & Lotlot. There’s something about their barbecue that’s different. It’s practically all lean meat but tender. I think they marinate it overnight. I know several well-off people who go there. Just shows that good food is universal.

    Tugas Haligi

    Jan 8, 2009 | 12:01 pm

  25. MarketFan says:

    what are the BBQ sticks made of? Do they cut down a lot of trees to make them?

    sore back and shoulders…that’s the most common complaint I’ve heard from friends in the US and Canada this season…good thing all we have here are dried, fallen leaves to sweep off the driveway..take care

    Jan 8, 2009 | 12:42 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    Marketfan, they are made of bamboo, a highly renewable source. And one large bamboo pole must make several hundred if not over a thousand skewers… Plus you can tell they are hand made (as opposed to machine split)…

    Jan 8, 2009 | 1:09 pm

  27. i_live2eat says:

    speaking of pork barbecues, i love ineng’s at the market- market’s open-air food court.it used to have just one stall, which only sold softdrinks in can, rice and their mouth-watering, juicy, foot-long sticks of pork bbq. the lines were always long, they eventually opened another stall a few meters away to accommodate take-out orders.since i now stay in qc and taguig is so far, i now go for grill queen’s pork bbq, and always volunteer to bring some to pot-luck parties. my friends love it.for lechon manok,i recommend babe’s sinugba (along espana near vicente cruz, along the qc bound-lane). the chickens are roasted with lemongrass, they just smell and taste heavenly!

    Jan 8, 2009 | 4:59 pm

  28. kareninyshka says:

    Yes, I agree that pork barbecues shouldn’t be too sweet. It should be a lipsmacking interplay of tart, sweet and a little spice, and wet with a thick basting sauce. Using a bit of ketchup / tomato sauce in the basting sauce is okay, but the barbecues sold in street stalls today are shockingly orange and well, I can’t describe it. It just feels like the vendors now don’t care whether their bbq tastes good. All they care about is selling the things and making a living. They don’t even aspire to make very very good bbq. I even see barbecued chicken as orange as those pork bbqs in your photos! I hardly buy street bbq anymore and stick to Ineng’s and Aling Nene’s should any craving arise, but alas, they too do not satisfy my taste buds. I look forward to the continuation of your pork best bbq post!

    Jan 8, 2009 | 6:59 pm

  29. jun says:

    betty q, I want your lechon manok recipe too. my kids are getting tired of my roasted chicken and inasal

    Jan 8, 2009 | 11:33 pm

  30. sunset says:

    Last new year’s eve, my mom purchased some pork bbq from Monterey already marinated and on skewers, all we have to do is cook them on the grill. They tasted great.

    Jan 9, 2009 | 11:21 am

  31. Marissa says:

    Gosh, I thought I was the only one who thought the BBQ at the West Triangle “bazaar” was the best I’ve ever tasted. Other BBQs never came close.

    Jan 10, 2009 | 4:27 pm

  32. greasemonkey says:

    lol. this takes me back to boracay and surviving on bbq and beer for a week. the itinerary consisted of: wake up, swim, make out, get smashed, repeat.

    Jan 11, 2009 | 2:54 am

  33. Bennie says:


    Have you visited Mactan Grill, the one by the corner when you turn right to Virgen de la Regla Church in Opon from Quezon Avenue(coming in from the direction of a flour milling company)? That is my family’s favorite barbecue hang out, I miss that place since I transferred here in Laguna three years ago.

    Their barbecues are delicious too, and very affordable. For a family of five, you can already eat three barbecues and three puso each for only PHP 300.00 in 2006. Their prices might be a little bit higher now, but still affordable.

    I miss Larsian, too at Fuente Osmeña.

    Feb 7, 2009 | 5:47 pm

  34. Ricky says:

    For me the best chorizo is in San Andres market. Near San Andres Gym Manila. But Sorry forgot the name of the sotire.

    Feb 16, 2009 | 2:50 pm

  35. Winky Buo says:

    Ah… Cebu barbecue… there are so many versions, yet they are all the same! Comfort food. That’s why you see that on menus from fine restaurants to the streets.

    Larsian has some good barbecue stalls, but if you’re not careful, the hospital next to it is where you’ll go next.

    It’s always good with puso! I miss chicken skins, adidas, and chicken intestines… Dallas does not have a lot of Pinoy places.

    Mar 1, 2009 | 4:14 pm

  36. GEORGE says:

    during my highschool days my sister and i would drive to san andreas to buy some pork bbq this was hands down the best bbq i ever tasted. meron pa noon sa makati ave i just forgot the place but i remember my bro-in law and i would drive makati ave and park we wouls some kid to buy us some bbq and beer

    Jun 16, 2009 | 9:50 am

  37. nina bianca says:

    the best bbq i’ve tasted is from henricos grill in rodriguez rizal the best talaga.so tender and juicy nothing compares with the taste talaga!

    Sep 10, 2009 | 11:42 pm

  38. Maria Isabel Rodrigo says:

    These are the best of Filipino cuisine, that is why Filipinos abroad can’t help but long for home especially when they see pictures of it posted. It’s the craving that made them homesick.

    Dec 18, 2010 | 7:51 pm


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