Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BARBEQUE HEAVEN AT CEBU'S LARSIAN


 Can we be any more tourist-y?
                       Just like the Magellans Cross and the Sto. Nino Church, Larsian sa Fuente has become one of Cebu's tourist attractions that you must go to during a visit to the queen city of the South. What exacty is "Larsian", you ask? Just the home of one of the country's best BBQ, thank you very much!

                     The Larsian I grew up with looked sort of like an outdoor Wet Market or "Palengke" if you will, but filled with BBQ stands. It was absolute mayhem trying to get in, because there was smoke coming from all angles, and people (people I could barely understand, mind you) would be screaming at you to buy from their stand. You would sometimes step on something squishy.. something you could only hope was a fallen piece of longganiza. Cars would zoom past you if you got too close to the street, making it seem like you were actually risking your life for a stick of BBQ. Was it worth it though? 

                 Hell yeah!
                      

 Choose your poison. No pun intended

                              The Larsian of the New millennium is a far cry from the palengke days of yesteryear. That, however, is more a testament to how lowly the conditions were in the past than it is to how far they've come now. To be fair, Larsian isn't the chaotic marketplace it once was. They now have tables, chairs, plastic covered plates and.. wait for it...  A ROOF!!!!! *gasp*

               Larsian's wide selection of BBQ's to choose from ranges from your traditional Pork and Chicken BBQ, and down to weirder stuff like the chicken intestines, livers, hearts and stuff like that. They have another items but i couldn't really make out what they were. I think one was pork cheeks. or at least that's what it looked like. A personal favorite of mine is the Chicken ass and the Longganiza.

Free Mineral water?

                        My favorite story about Larsian involves my brother, Ryan (The man who makes the best lava cakes in the world, but that's an entirely different post). One holy week, while my cousins and I were enjoying the beaches of Cebu, poor Ryan was stuck in the hospital with a severe case of asthma. I'm not sure what procedure he had to undergo, but he wasn't allowed to eat solid foods for a couple of days. 

                  The day that he was allowed to finally eat, was coincidentally the same day that my mom and I went to visit him. Since he hadn't eaten for a couple of days, he was understandably grumpy. Ryan's face beamed up when my mom said that the doctor had told her that he was allowed to eat solid foods for dinner, and she was there to ask what he wanted her to bring for him. 

                    "Larsian!", he immediately screamed out. 

       "Ok, how many pieces should I get?" my mom asked, while looking at me.
            
              "Around 50!", Ryan quickly replied. 

                  I shrugged and said "Yeah 50 sounds alright", thinking that would be enough for the three of us, with plenty of leftovers to take home to our guests at the beach. 

          Ryan looked at me with a frown and said, "Oh. You wanted some, too?"

          And he was dead serious. He actually almost finished all the 50 pieces. But please take note, the BBQ in question was smaller than the usual BBQ that we're used to. (More like bite size little suckers) But it was still an impressive feat. 

                     (Yup, he's my brother alright.)





             Larsian's concept is similar to that of "Dampa". You go into the place, you choose the stall that you feel has the best BBQ (I honestly can't tell them apart), and they'll thrown the BBQ's you hand picked onto the grill, and serve it to your table. Each stall has their own name and their own come on.. like free soup and free... are you ready for this... WATER!!! Honestly I can't tell one from the other, so I can't give any recommendations. I just choose the stall that has the BBQ with the most fat. Regardless, Expect to be swarmed like topless girl at Mardi gras.

A big basket of puso always hits the spot.
                     

                   Any Filipino who takes pride in being a Cebuano will be the first to tell you that anything grilled cannot be eating without "Puso", which is technically rice wrapped in banana leaves. (Those ARE banana leaves, right?) I'm actually too big on plain rice, but when I eat puso, I'm left with a mountain full of banana leaves on the table. I could easily go through ten of these bad boys. There's nothing really outstanding about the flavor, but there's something that just feels right about it.. like they were meant to be together in your stomach. (Sort of like a gastronomic love story if you will) If Aling Nene's has BBQ rice, and Inengs has Budbud rice, Larsian's claim to fame is it's Puso. 

                       Oh and you know what's cool about Larsian? You only pay for the Puso that you eat. If they give you a big plate of twenty, they count what's left over, and that's all they'll charge you for. My buddies Ted and Don must have had at least 50 of these between themselves.. at least!

DOH Approved?

                           I won't lie to you, Larsian isn't the classiest place you'll ever go to. But with the renovations they've made, it won't be the worst, either. When you walk in, the place is filled with the aroma of BBQ, so expect it to stick to your shirt when you walk out. Perhaps the biggest turn off about Larsian would have to be the outside area of it. There's no other way for me to describe it, except it smells like blasts from the anus of Satan himself. I don't know, maybe it's all the animal carcasses that they had to get rid of that did it. But it's just putrid. Thankfully, the overwhelming smell of what's grilling inside will more than make up for it in the end. 


Rina with her plastic covered plate

                         Hygienically speaking, I don't think it's the safest place to eat, either. I haven't gotten sick from it , or anything like that (thank God), but.. let's just say there are cleaner places on this Earth than Larsian. It's nice to see that they're taking some steps to clean up though. Plates are wrapped in plastic bags, and you're also given plastic bags to use as gloves. Not sure if that'll help if any germs were actually on the food, but, it's the thought that counts I guess.

Recess na!

                           The best way I could describe the interiors of Larsian is.. it kinda looks like a school cafeteria. The long tables and benches coupled with the galvanized steel roof really gives off that feel. Its not gonna win any design competitions, but you know what? You'll go there for the food, not the architecture. And besides.. It's a far cry from eating while standing up in the middle of the street, just as was the Larsian of old.

Longganiza, Pork BBQ, and Isaw. Two out of three isn't so bad.

                               Admittedly, the BBQ of Larsian won't blow your mind with it's flavor. They use the sweet type of sauce that gives your BBQ a reddish hue.. something i'm not too particularly fond of because I know it's just a mix of tomato ketchup, vinegar, and 7 UP. But with Larsian BBQ, after you take your first bite, you're hooked. The taste is so addicting, you won't believe that it's only P5 pesos.. Then all of a sudden it's the best thing in the universe! The same goes for the Longganiza. (They use quite fatty longganizas, and they deliberately char it to help bring out the flavor).


The stuffed squid everyone was raving about.

                   The ladies ordered the Stuffed Squid, (around P70 bucks I think) and everyone who tried it seems to really love it. I didn't try it myself so I have no opinion of it. I do like the idea though. They stuffed squid with the same things they do with Cebuano lechon, (I think it's leeks and green onions, but i'm actually just guessing) so when they throw it on the grill, the herbs smokes up the squid meat, giving it an herby flavor. It actually sounds good in theory, but I really don't eat squid.. So I'm going to have to say that I enjoyed it - in theory as well.


Check out Don and Chai's plastic gloves
                      Larsian is also one of the few restaurants that is open during holy week. (Lucky for us tourists hehe) I think it's because they get lots of customers who buy up some BBQ (and puso) before heading off to the beach.


My driver (since high school) in Cebu, Junie, always refuses to eat with me and my group whenever we go out, no matter how many times I invite him.
 But when we go to Larsian, he can't resist.


                  Despite the less than sophisticated atmosphere, Larsian is a food experience one must not miss when visiting Cebu!
                  

6 comments:

  1. One of the best stops when you're in Cebu! Puso rocks!!!

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  2. You should know, buddy! I think you had around 30 pieces by yourself! hehe

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  3. 8s not banana leaves on puso but coconut palms

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  4. Thanks for the correction, Anonymous! Wasn't sure hehe :)

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  5. We have friends in Cebu and we eat at Larsian Fuente (and the other branch) whenever we're there for a weekend getaway. My favorites are the BBQ, isaw, chicken liver and the grilled squid...they're simply made of awesomeness at dirt-cheap prices! I don't mind smelling smoke and burnt food after the meal.

    P.S. Yes, puso is not wrapped in banana leaves but in coconut palms. Just like what's used in making "palaspas" for the Holy Week. :)

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    Replies
    1. How awesome would it be if there was a Manila branch of Larsian??!

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