Restaurants / Bars

More Than Your Average Roadside Barbecue at this Ghetto Grub

February 1, 2016

Malate has remained an effervescent neighborhood, both embracing, and persisting against its notorious reputation. The neon lights of new and old restaurants fluoresce beside those of strip clubs and dive bars, a testament to the place which has remained relatively unchanged from its throbbing past. Rediscovering the area amidst the growing, but in ways manufactured, restaurant culture of Manila, is always a rewarding treat for those who choose to look past Malate’s sometimes sordid nature.

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From Left: Renditions of popular Chinese and Asian dishes appear on Super Six’s short menu; a tiny open-air kitchen allows one to see how their food is being cooked.

Just past Remedios Circle, on any given night, there is a litter of dirty red umbrellas pouring out from sidewalk to street, barely shielding several plastic benches and tables, and the couples squarely parked on them. The makeshift al fresco area belongs to several outlets, but it is Super Six which is, by virtue of its appearance, the most interesting. Their kitchen—which also spills out partially onto the curb—is barely one, with a few burners, and a grill, which is surprising considering the volume of food they manage to churn out even when packed to the brim.

This isn’t just your typical afternoon street food shack; Super Six’s array of meats are mostly devoid of the sticky sweet sauce which features on most roadside barbecues. They serve things like Japanese shio yakitori instead, and at no more than PHP 50 for chicken gizzard, chicken leg, and pork ears, while those at no less than PHP 25 include kani bacon and eggplant bacon. These are gobsmackingly cheap eats. Best of the lot was a pork belly skewer marinated with studs of garlic, with the burnt fatty bits providing smoky juiciness.

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Super Six’s grilled meats are far from typical inihaw fare; some sticks are more reminiscent of Japanese-style yakitori.

Their small kitchen miraculously allows for a menu of simple, short-order dishes reminiscent of those pop-up eateries scattered around Bangkok at night. There are mussels in a spicy sauce sweetened with pineapple for PHP 140, halaan in clear soup with the tiny clams providing briny seasoning to the broth, and fish fillet with tausi that proved to be addictive in their salty-sweetness. There were also more simplified Filipino and Asian classics, which ranged from a dry and crispy adobong kambing, to deep-fried buttered chicken, to whole tilapias at a mere PHP 170 which can come steamed, fried, or covered in spicy or sweet and sour vegetables.

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Mussels, and clams come tossed in either sweet or spicy sauce, or cooked in their own briny broth.

As a food neighborhood, Malate has become eclipsed by its more modern competition. But there are consistent jewels at good value, from 24/7 shawarma places, to Korean restaurants at every corner, to street eateries which make it more accessible, and even more exciting to trek through. The quality of food at Super Six is a glowing example.

Super Six Grille

Address: Remedios St., Malate, Manila
Budget per Head: PHP 60-100
Foodnotes: No parking. Outside seating only. Likelihood of being approached by anyone from a foreign stranger to a street urchin: 100%.

Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

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