I can picture the fiery sun fading behind the faint silhouette of the Mariveles Mountains. The sky is a blaze of color. Deep orange with dusky pink and purple hues. I can picture the water quivering quietly with the wind. The evening light, or what is left of it, gleaming on its jagged surface.

I can recreate the sunsets in Manila Bay easily in my mind. Effortlessly. Old men with fishing rods wedged in between their hips and arms, waiting contently on the side of the bank for the evening’s catch. Young couples locked in an intimate embrace traipsing along the promenade lined with tall coconut trees. Jeepneys and buses packed to the gills meandering through rush-hour traffic. Passengers craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the setting sun.

At the water’s edge, in the corner of Roxas Boulevard and San Andres, not far from historic Luneta Park and the landmark Manila Hotel, where my mom worked the switchboards before she married my dad, one can find the best chicken barbecue in Manila. I can picture the chicken’s ruddy, charred skin, the stunningly yellow java rice, the slice of cucumber, the slice of tomato, and the small heap of achara I used to detest when I was little. I can picture the grilled chicken threaded through an almost burnt bamboo stick on a white, oval plate inscribed with the name Aristocrat. The taste skews more sweet than savory. The fried rice studded with fried garlic and fried shallots complements it, completes it.

I have seen so many sunsets but still nothing compares to the sunsets back home. And, in much the same way, nothing comes close to the barbecues back home.


Aristocrat-style Chicken Barbecue Recipe, makes four to six servings

4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup banana ketchup
2 tablespoons calamansi or lime juice
4 pieces chicken thighs and legs

Whisk together garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, banana ketchup, and calamansi juice. Add marinade to chicken in a bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least overnight for up to two days.

Before cooking the chicken let it rest at room temperature for over an hour. Do not discard the marinade but set aside for basting. Grill chicken over medium heat until cooked through, basting occasionally. Serve fresh off the grill with java rice.


Chicken Barbecue

Chicken Barbecue

  • Thelma

    love your blog! but what is banana ketchup?

  • http://twitter.com/JenniLukac Jenni Lukac

    Could you please tell me what “banana ketchup” is? I’d love to try this recipe, but I haven’t got the slightest idea what banana ketchup is. Thanks!

  • Niecey Roy

    My mom makes this! I only get it when I visit her in California. Thank you for putting a smile on my face this morning…and making me hungry :)

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Jenni, banana ketchup is, you guessed right ketchup-like sauce made from bananas, sugar, vinegar, and spices. Here’s a wikipedia.org entry for it, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_ketchup. Jufran is a favorite brand and you can find this in most Asian stores either in the condiment or Filipino aisle. Where are you located? I can help point you to an Asian store near you.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thelma, banana ketchup is a ketchup-like sauce made from bananas, sugar, vinegar, and spices: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_ketchup. You can find banana ketchup in most Asian stores either in the condiment or Filipino aisle. Look for Jufran, my favorite brand. Where are you located? I can help point you to an Asian store near you.

  • Thelma

    Thanks, Jun! We live in the Reno/Tahoe area. Can’t wait to make this! I’ll check our local internat’l food stores for the banana ketchup. I’ve told my whole family in SoCal about your blog, too :)

  • Denise

    Jun, thank you for taking me away this morning. i could almost see the same sunset. This chicken recipe sounds amazing. I love the addition of pineapple juice and have never thought to use it for my meat marinades. I tend to stick to citrus. As well I am going to go on a hunt for calamansi – love the ones I had last summer, but would like to enjoy more often. Happy Long Weekend!!

  • Rona Roberts

    Beautiful-the photos, the writing, and the effort.

  • Sely

    I can’t wait to make this!

  • Anonymous

    Wow that chicken looks good!! I have been using that marinade on chicken for years now and I never realized it had a name! Thanks for the great post and the references to Manila. I like getting a geography lesson with my food! Terrific as always.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Perfect for Labor Day weekend. And remember, the longer the chicken marinates the tastier it gets. Enjoy!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Rona!

  • Adora

    This even looks better than Aristocrat’s, Jun. My Nanay used to take the chicken off the stick and cut them in smaller pieces for me. It makes me feel sad to remember.

  • mycookinghut

    Looks yummy! Love the vivid colour of the rice too!

  • Debs @ The Spanish Wok

    Jun, this sounds delicious. I made a BBQ chicken dish from another Filipon blog a while ago, the ingredients were totally different and was slightly dissappointing too. Will try your recipe, thanks.

  • Joanne

    Jun, I made this with your java rice recipe for labor day weekend BBQ. I put the chicken on skewers, it was a hit! This is my go to bbq recipe from now on. Can’t wait to try the rest on your blog your work is amazing :)

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Jo, thank you so much for writing. I am so happy to hear that your family enjoyed the barbecue. It is so simple and easy to do. I hope you come back and try out the other recipes. Again, many thanks for following the blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Lemony-Kitchen/100001827931773 Lisa Lemony Kitchen

    I love the colours…beautiful photos and the chicken looks appetising.
    Would love to try but first I must look for banana sauce :D . Hope I can find so

  • http://www.facebook.com/diwata610 Gloria Herrera

    Hi Jun, I was missing home, so I made this it’s AWESOME! Thanks for sharing. By the way it’s one of my staple now.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I am so glad to hear you enjoyed the chicken, Gloria!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Lisa. The sauce is available in most Asian stores. I hope you can track it down.

  • Sely

    LOVE this and the Java Rice recipe! We made it over the Labor Day weekend. We are “brown rice” versus “white rice” people, so the Java rice was not as “orange-looking”, but it was very good! Attached is the photo of our chicken being barbecued.

    Thanks again! It brought back memories for me. This is what I always seemed to order when I went to the Aristocrat Restaurant. We look forward to making it again!!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Sely, thank you so much for writing back and for sending me a photograph! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe and the memories of Aristocrat. Those were the days! Now, you can recreate them anytime! Thank you so much for following the blog.

  • jay p

    you rock Jun! great recipe. cant wait to surprise the wife.

  • Cyn

    Hi Jun! Have you tried baking this instead of grilling? i recently moved and don’t currently own a bbq at the moment. I would love to try this this recipe!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Cyn, thank you for writing. Yes, you can bake the chicken instead of grilling it. I’d turn on the broiler in the last five or ten minutes to give the chicken a nice ruddy color. And don’t forget the java rice, too!

  • James Motor

    This looks fantastic and as I have a gas swiss grill bbq I have been
    looking to be a little more adventurous with my cooking! I will try this and
    report back on my success!

  • kiezia

    Wow!.so delicious!. I wanna try this at home, maybe my mom will gonna love this recipe. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  • Natalie Uy

    Your recipe has been featured here! It was a HUGE it . It almost made up for missing the family reunion in Manila since I had school. YUM


  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Natalie! So happy to hear everyone loved your chicken barbecue!

  • http://crazzyanne.tumblr.com/ my name ain’t Anne

    Just made it today! Thank you for this!

  • http://crazzyanne.tumblr.com/ my name ain’t Anne

    Look! :) Thank you for the recipe!

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