Guam Diner Bytes: Ben N'Yans BBQ Place
Ben N’ Yans BBQ Place is one of the most popular Filipino restaurants on Guam because the food is “masarap”! I had not been to Ben N’ Yans since they relocated from down the hallway in this massive 2-story strip mall complex. They are in a larger space, however, they recently reduced their hours (they used to be 24 hours). I had the chance to revisit them when I had a lunch meeting with Tess Fowler and Nomer Arcangel who work in the freight business. One thing about Ben N’ Yans, is you need to have a party of several people to share dishes, and share we did!
First to come was the Lechon Kawali ($10), which is deep-fried pork belly served with your choice of Mang Tomas sauce or finadene. We did the traditional Filipino sauce although finedene is frequently ordered. There’s something irresistible about golden deep-fried pork belly. The sheer crunchiness of the skin and the lean meat layer beneath the fat cap holds all that flavor! You have to love pork to eat this - it may not be among the healthiest foods to eat, but it is one of the tastiest!
Speaking of tasty, the Sizzling Bangus ($12) which is grilled milk fish belly that’s served on a sizzling platter and is topped by green onion, tomato, pepper, fried garlic, and comes with a lemon wedge you can squeeze over it all before eating. This is another favorite for people; Ben N’ Yans is known for a variety of sizzling platters, which include chicken, beef liver, pork chop, posit (squid), and tofu).
We ordered Chicken Chopsuey ($8.00) which was something I hadn’t tried before. It’s chicken sauteed with mixed vegetables (celery, mushrooms, cabbage, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, baby corn, onion, carrot and fried garlic chips. There was some chicken in this predominantly vegetable dish and was actually pretty good.
One of my all-time favorite Filipino dishes is Kare Kare Oxtail ($12), served in what looks like a steaming black cauldron. It is one of Ben N’ Yan’s House favorites, made with beef tripe and oxtail, bok choy, eggplant, and long beans sauteed with onions in a garlic and peanut butter sauce. A necessary condiment to accompany this specialty is bagaoong, which is dried shrimp paste. (Warning -bagaoong is an acquired taste!) You have to eat Kare Kare with rice.
No Filipino meal is complete without having a soup. We ordered the Sinigang na Baboy ($10), which is pork simmered in ginger, tomato, eggplant, long beans, and white radish in tamarind. This ingredient laden soup has huge chunks of tender pork and radish in a piquant broth made sour by the tamarind. Sinigang is a classic Filipino soup loved by all, and is said to help the body fight off colds.
The last item we shared was a dessert called Sapin Sapin, which is made from rice flour that’s crushed and made into a paste. It’s a thick semi-sweet, layered sticky rice cake that’s multi-colored. It’s not my preferred dessert, however like many Filipino dishes, you have to learn to appreciate it. At Ben N’ Yan’s, you will definitely spend your time and money appreciating the many food choices on their menu!ll