Apologies for not posting anything for the past few days. I have been unable to get internet access. You will know soon enough where I came from :)
On our last trip to Tarlac, Tita Tess, mom and I went on a side trip of Subic. Our usual 3 hour travel to tarlac became a laborious travel became a 10 hour travel because of the many side trips we took (with Subic just being one of them). But I guess that’s what makes road trips fun :)
We saw the SCTEX (which was really their goal) and I got to wade in the beach. But I think the most significant (re)discovery for mom that time was the Aristocrat Chicken Barbecue.
Tales of old were regaled once again at that time when Aristocrat was the “in” thing. It was supposed to be the weekend haunt, or the special weekend treat. Though, as a family, we never really experienced Aristocrat as one of our dining essentials so this was a new taste to me. (Yes, I have to admit. I grew up on eating fast food every weekend, from Jolibee!)
It was the sole recommendation of Tita Tess, who, oddly enough, is a balikbayan from Canada/US, to eat there at Aristocrat and order the chicken barbecue. So now, I always associate Aristocrat with balikbayans, much like Max’s.
I’m not a fan of sweet food that isn’t dessert or is naturally sweet like fruits. I don’t jump on Pata Tim (pork leg in a sweet sauce) which is like Humba (Pork belly or cut ups in the same tasting sauce) nor am I a fan of anything drowning in oyster sauce. But the chicken, which is slightly on the sweet side, is really good.
As I don’t usually eat chicken barbecue since most of them are too sweet for my liking, I am not sure how this rates compared to others. It’s juicy and tasty, and most people with likely pair this with some vinegar and soy sauce with some chopped onions. Or maybe just with some atchara (pickled young papaya) the way they serve it. But the java rice and the peanut sauce, I really don’t care for.
And what would the next step be? Of course. Attempting to make it at home. I googled the recipe and got a basic idea on how to do it. I combined this recipe and this recipe which stated the following ingredients:
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice, or kalamansi juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (3 1/2 to 4 lbs.) chicken
So I combined the two recipes (okay, not me, ate Pines did). I never found out if they (ate Pines and mom) put a can of soda, but I have the feeling that would have tenderized the meat instantly.
All the recipes required a two day marination, then straight to the grill. Mom, believing that boiling is the key (see Lechon Kawali), decided to cook the chicken through. It removes the problem of undercooked grilled meat, and also of overcooked too tough meat.
First batch of the grilled chicken was good. But it so needed a punch. I actually forgot to mention to mom and ate Pines that you have to baste the chicken while cooking. Using the leftover marinade, you add ketchup (the banana based one like used in the Spaketchup), more sugar, more soy sauce, etc. Technically make the taste stronger.
For the second batch, it was all good! Great, yummy. It was juicy, more tasty. Now I really don’t recall how the original tasted since it was quite awhile. For sure, this will become a household regular :)
I forgot to mention that Filipino Barbecue is sweeter (again) than western flavors. The usual Filipino household (I’m assuming our household is a good representative) will find the Kraft, Cattleman’s, etc. bbq sauces to be too sour. So take a note for this one if attempting the recipe. It’s one of those things that the taste changes dramatically between borders :)