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Second only to Manny Pacquiao—the boxer and politician—barbecue is the national passion of the Philippines. The sauces and marinades trend to the sweet side, but they’re often balanced with a bracing wallop of acidity. While some of the ingredients may not seem familiar, most are available in Asian grocery stores. Banana ketchup replaces the traditional tomato with (go figure) bananas. Calamansi, a citrus fruit used widely in the Philippines, tastes like a cross between a lime and an orange. Palm vinegar adds a hint of sweetness and a vibrant acidity. And we’re pretty sure you’ll know where to locate a can of Diet Sprite.
BBQ Sauce-2 cloves garlic, minced-1 shallot, finely chopped-¼ cup soy sauce-¼ cup palm vinegar-1 tbsp calamansi juice (or lime juice) -½ cup Diet Sprite -½ cup banana ketchup (or tomato ketchup)-1 tsp black pepper-1 bird’s-eye chili, thinly sliced (optional)
Mix together all ingredients and use as marinade for chicken, pork or tofu (reserving some for basting). Marinate for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight. When grilling, brush with extra marinade. Makes 1½ cups; refrigerate for up to 10 days.