In one of my leisure walks around Shangri-la Mall in Mandaluyong, I caught a glimpse of a new restaurant that just opened. It read “L&L Hawaiian Barbeque”, tucked quietly in the corner of the mall’s fifth floor. This was in the early afternoon. The store was empty. I was able to take a good look around. It gave a Hawaiian roadside cafeteria feel, with mountings on the wall. Graphics of surfers and palm trees, the space was painted with sunset hues. Though I have never been to Hawaii, it seemed… um… Hawaiian.
I was told the specialty was their Chicken Katsu. I wondered how much different it was from the Japanese Katsu that I had been used to. They said that their sauce was much sweeter. The Japanese counterpart had a more tangy sauce. They mentioned their macaroni salad was another bestseller. Since we already had lunch, I just ordered the macaroni salad to go. It was one meager scoop for FORTY PESOS! What? It should taste mighty good, and it was well recommended. So I went ahead with my order, just to see for myself how it would measure up to my good ole Macaroni salad.
It tasted how it looked like — sad. To me, it is very hard to ruin a macaroni salad. Such a simple recipe, it would be foolish to screw it up. I could not muster the courage to go back there, and order anything else on that menu. If the macaroni salad was a disaster, then the rest would more likely be disappointing.
It gave me an idea on what to serve for dinner. I scoured the internet for a recipe, and serve it at home. We did the chicken katsu the same way we would for an oyakodon. WE just tweaked the sauce to recreate the sweet L&L sauce. I used this copycat recipe from food.com:
- 1⁄2cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1⁄2 cups water
- 1⁄3 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon chicken bouillon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 -3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with
- 1⁄2 cup water
To make sauce:
- Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Add cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken. Chill and serve.
For the macaroni salad, even a five-year old could make this, L&L Philippines. Boil the salad macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Mix equal parts of mayo magic or miracle whip with plain yogurt, pineapple tidbits, shredded cooked chicken breasts, with the macaroni. Season with salt, pepper, sugar to taste. Chill and serve.
It made for a fantastic meal, served with steamed white rice and a green salad. Voila!
Foreign franchises here in Manila are sprouting like mushrooms. It feels like everything abroad is already available here. But local franchisees should make sure that their standards meet their principal food chains, otherwise it will be such a waste. The Filipino dining public deserves nothing less.
L&L Hawaiian Barbeque
Level 5, Shangri-la Plaza Mall,