I’m often asked what are the popular local food specialties and dishes of Cebu, and it makes me pause and think hard. There is of course Lechon Cebu, but if we are talking about dishes cook in the kitchen of Pinoys like Pampanga’s sisig, Ilocano’s sinanglaw and bagnet, Bicol’s laing and pinangat and the likes, I find it difficult to come up with Cebu’s version. The closest I can think of is Balbacua, I think that yellow soup made of beef innards and special spices comes close but since the dish is not really popular anywhere else in the country then it really doesn’t count, Cebu’s ginabot can be considered too but again it hasn’t captured national interest.
One thing a tourist will surely notice when visiting Cebu is the abundance of ‘sugbahan’ or grilling places and restaurants. The most famous barbeque center of course is Larsian sa Fuente. There are also countless Cebu restaurants that serve ‘Sutukil’ styles. So maybe Cebu’s Sutukil is really one of Cebu’s main contributions to Filipino cuisine aside from Cebu Lechon.
Barbeque Abounds in Cebu
These thoughts were on my head a few days ago when my sister had her birthday dinner at AA BBQ in Mactan. She would have like to go to one of the best restaurants in Ayala Center Cebu Terraces but because she was tired to get up and dress up, she went with my coercion..err suggestion.
The Original AA BBQ Restaurant in Mactan is very near Cebu’s airport, and a few minutes ride from our house. I haven’t been there that’s why I was eager to try AA barbeque and grill house again. Me and the barkada used to go to the original restaurant of AA in Salinas Drive since it is pretty close to UP Cebu. This Cebu restaurant is almost always jampacked with local diners any given night.
Today, AA BBQ restaurants are all over Metro Cebu, there is one near Plaza Independencia, another in reclamation area, and then their branch in Mactan. I think there are more but I am not familiar with them. AA has also keep up with the times, no longer are customers feasting on their delicious Filipino food amidst the smoke coming off from the grill since their grilling areas are now enclosed. Their Cebu resto branches also now have bigger and more comfortable dining areas. Huge improvements since it used to be customers are rubbing elbows with each other because of cramp and tiny floor space in their first and main branch near Cebu IT Park.
Titus, Nicko and I went ahead of the group since we know that grilling and cooking will take a bit of time. Thank heavens we arrived early at the place because when we got there, the restaurant was jampacked with foreign tourists. Yep, there were more foreign tourists – both westerners and Asians like Koreans – than Filipinos when we arrived. You can check out the picture of this famous grill restaurant chain in Cebu and noticed that those lining up were foreigners and tourists.
The Original AA BBQ: A Favorite Local Grill Resto in Mactan
This Cebu restaurant offers Sutukil experience. Sutukil stands for the Cebuano words “Sugba – Tula – Kilaw”, in English it means “Grill – Soup or Broth – Ceviche “ way of cooking. You line up at the display counter, pick the meats or seafood you want and tell the attendant how you want it cook. Then you’ll wait for your freshly cooked Filipino foods at your table.
We had pork barbeque, pork belly and cebu chorizo for grilling, baked scallops, chopsuey, pancit of course.
Pancit is a Filipino local dish that is a staple in birthday celebration because saying goes “eat pancit (during birthday) for longer life”.
Fresh Cebu SeaFood at AA BBQ
Food for Grilling in AA Barbeque Mactan Branch
The scallops were perfectly cheesy! I love it! We all loved it! At 110 per serving with 8 scallops on a plate, it was good value for money. Nicko loves it so much that he ate one full serving plus 2 more pieces. he hoard the scallops lol.
You got to love these cheesy baked scallops, Yum!
And the pancit was surprisingly good! I am not such a pancit girl but AA BBQs pancit really taste great! Unfortunately I didn’t like their pork barbeque; it was real tough for me and not yummy. Although Titus said his bbq was tender. Their chopsuey were just okay as well as the grilled pork belly.
Pancit for Birthday Celebration, so Pinoy!
If you are visiting Cebu or has just arrived in the airport and feeling hungry, drop by AA, it is located a few meters from the airport just before reaching the flyover to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. They have seafoods from shells to fishes to shrimps to squids and more. They also serve Filipino local dishes like pinakbet, laing, lumpia etc. and of course various meats for sugba.
CN, KD, CJ
The family celebrates in AA BBQ
Clean plates at AA BBQ, sarap sulit!
Prices at AA BBQ
Barbeque – P20 per stick
Scallops (8 pieces per order) - P110.00
Pork Belly / Liempo - P75.00
Pancit - P80.00
Chopseuy – P80.00
Rice – P10.00 per cup
Chorizo – P15.00 per stick
Fruit Shake – P45 per order