*** GG BBQ Has Closed Since Writing This Post ***
On the road between my bungalow and Alona Beach is a little roadside food stand called GG BBQ. Like most BBQ places on Panglao, they don’t start cooking until about 5pm, and the smell from the road is almost too much to resist. The smoke wafting from the flat grill and the rotisserie grill calls you in with it’s siren song of deliciousness.
One of the first things you have to realize when in the Philippines, is that the standards for refrigeration and food storage are much different from the US. Under the big front signs, you find a row of Tupperware containers on a shallow table filled with bamboo skewers of all types of meat. Yes, the containers have covers, but they are sitting right out there in the heat of the evening, not an ice or chilled water bath to be found. And, you just grab one of the small plates, and go through and pull out all the sticks that you want grilled for you. Yup, every customer just reaching into the containers, grabbing their skewers and walking them over to the grill cook. At which point you are asked if you want them coated with a spicy or mild marinade while cooking.
One thing Americans will notice right away is the selections of meat that are available. Sure, you can have basic chicken, or pork, chicken wing, or a hot dog, but you can also get local favorites like chicken intestine, chicken feet, chicken neck, chicken liver, and longanisa [local sausage].
In addition to the skewers, there is Lechon Manok [whole roast chicken], and Liempo [mildly seasoned pork belly], that have been cooked in the rotisserie. Both of these are absolutely delicious. In fact, Lechon Manok was one of the first things we had after getting off the boat from Cebu. There was a little BBQ stand on the road from the pier that we stopped and picked up a roast chicken & Crispy Pata [another rotisserie pork belly dish].
While your meat is cooking, the waitresses grab your beverage of choice and you can add a serving of steamed rice to go with your skewers. At GG BBQ a regular bottle of San Miguel is less than a US dollar at only 40 pesos [47-49 pesos = 1 US dollar], and a small bottle of Coca Cola rings in at only 14 pesos [about $0.30 US].
While we were at GG, there was a great mix of customers, some locals coming to get food to take home, a table full of Chinese tourists, and a couple from Australia dropped in not long after we arrived. All of the seating is outdoors, with most tables under a large awning, which means that in the heat of the evening, your San Miguel tastes even better.
While waiting for your skewers, the waitress brings a few side items to accentuate your meal. Some pickled carrots and ginger, and a DIY sauce kit that included a halved calamansi [small native lime] and dried red chilies that you can mix with the soy sauce found on the table. Squeeze the juice from the calamansi, add some soy sauce, stir, and let the small dried chilies add the heat. It makes an awesome dipping sauce.
Wanting to always try at least one new item at each meal, I jumped in and tried the chicken intestine skewer. These are actually quite popular here, so I figured “why not?” To prepare it, they first they clean the intestine, then boil it before folding it onto a skewer destined for the grill. I thought the taste was good, it was more the texture that I didn’t care for, as it was a bit chewy. We also had regular pork and chicken skewers, chicken wing skewers, and Liempo.
One of the cool things about eating at a BBQ place like GG’s, is that you don’t have to wait for the waitress to get more food going on the grill. You just walk right over to the containers of skewers, grab the ones you want, and take them directly to the grill cook. The grill cook will then let the waitress know when your skewers are ready, so she can give them one more dip into the marinade and bring them to your table.
Add it all up, and dinner for two, with tip, was about $10, and that included two beers, a bottle of water, 2x rice, enough Liempo to bring some home, and a ton of skewers to grind. Will definitely hit GG BBQ again before the end of this trip!