There’s a charming barbecue place right inside University of the Philippines in Diliman. It’s called the Beach House Canteen. True to its name, the place has that beach ambiance – minus the sand and sea, of course. But what it lacks in actual seafront settings, it more than makes up for with its truly reinvigorating al fresco dining area. Located at the back of UP Main Library, the campus diner sits on a lush tree-covered spot adjacent to the famous Sunken Garden, the university’s 5-hectare main parade grounds.
The Beach House Canteen serves all sorts of lunch and snack fares, mostly Filipino food. But there’s no doubt that its classic Filipino barbecue-on-sticks have put it on the spotlight. At first glance, theirs look no different from the street barbecue sold in almost every busy sidewalk in the country. But the taste, I daresay, is a different story altogether.
Beach House Canteen’s barbecue has that never-ending tug-of-war between saltiness and sweetness, with a very strong garlicky taste in the middle. The meat slices are chunky and tender, but a bit overcooked for my taste. Still, each stick is definitely well worth its 30-peso price tag. In my case, I also added a salted egg and tomato salad not so much as to further enliven the flavors of my barbecue meal, but rather because the outdoor lunch mood in a premier Filipino university simply called for it. As to how many cups of rice I had? My lips are sealed.