For the past couple of months every time I passed by Wilson St. or whenever I go to Animal House I’d see the sign of BBQ Republic. From the logo I surmised it would be one of those chicken / pork barbecue with java rice kind of place. When I went there a week ago for my birthday dinner with my parents, an aunt and an uncle I was surprised to find more than I expected.
Sure it had chicken and pork on the menu but the cut of the meat and size of the portions on the stick were definitely Japanese inspired. Think of those grilled yaki tori and exotic innards you’ve seen on Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Tokyo.
Since I wasn’t really sure how many sticks the six of us can eat I decided to order two set meals which included unlimited rice and soup and the rest different kinds of bbq sticks so we can try more variety.
I liked how their menu was organized. It gave good value for heavy rice eaters and more options for non rice eater like me.
I was told their bestsellers were the chicken karaage, bacon wrapped fish and beef with garlic. Each stick contained two bite sized pieces of fried chicken thigh. Since I don’t eat dark meat I couldn’t comment on this. The others liked it enough.
fried chicken karaage meal P149
If you have kids who don’t eat fish then you have to let them try this. Don’t tell them what it is they’ll never guess. They’ll be swayed by all the lovely glistening bacon and totally ignore whatever is inside. If you like bacon then this is for you.
bacon wrapped fish meal P179
My aunt’s ultimate favorite were the chicken hearts. She ate two sticks all by herself so we had to order more. The pork belly had the most meat per stick and it tasted like your typical Pinoy bbq. It’s actually the only Pinoy bbq in the menu.
chicken liver, chicken heart, pork belly P25/stick
For the rest of us our favorite was the chicken liver. One stick turned into five as I kept ordering more. I don’t really eat chicken liver unless it’s in the form of paté but this was just divine. The buttery liver had a salty sweet glaze on it and I specially enjoyed the crisp burned edges. I should ordered some chicken tail (pwet ng manok) too. That’s next on my list.
When I thought our dinner was over I spied some baby squid on the next table and ordered some. These babies are on limited quantities daily so make sure go early and order it fast. I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t become their next bestseller knowing the Pinoy’s penchant for grilled squid.
stuffed baby squid P45/stick
It was only while eating the squid that I found myself reaching for the sauce. All the others were just right on it’s own. I tried dipping it in the Pinoy sauce first. Oh wow! I loved the perfect blend of soy sauce and calamansi and whatever else they put in it. It wasn’t too salty or too sour.
Next I tried the Japanese sauce. Double wow!! It was sweet and savory just like teriyaki sauce. I wanted to eat the sauce on it’s own. I’m sure it would be great doused on rice. Doused I tell you. Top it with some spicy togarashi and you have a semi-Japanese rice in a flash.
BBQ Republic is owned by the Lao brothers, who happen to be my 2nd cousins, and some of their wives. Even if I’m related to them we paid for our meal. Business is business right?
BBQ Republic’s Lao brothers
The only thing I see missing in the menu are veggies. I suggest grilling fresh shiitake mushroom skewered with some onions and peppers or grilled corn on the cob would be great. How about a kani salad or cold cucumber sesame salad as side dishes? Maybe we’ll see shrimp in the future too?
Whether you want a full meal, a light snack or just some pica pica then BBQ Republic is the place to go. Just don’t forget to order the chicken liver and baby squid and say hi to my cousins when you go there. They’re very friendly guys.
BBQ Republic (now closed)
229 Wilson St., 1502 San Juan, Philippines
Weekdays: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Weekends: 11:00 am – 12:00 midnight
Call 2342209 for take outs or pick ups
For deliveries, pls. call CityDelivery at 87878