Dinner for two.
I have frequented the place many times over with board-mates back in college, and the last time I've been there was more than a decade ago already. It simply used to be a strip of barbecue stalls, each one with a few tables behind the grill for diners and a basic sink for hand-washing. People who went there ate with their hands (kinamot in the local dialect), as did I of course. Given the layout, it was a given you'd be leaving the place smelling like smoke.
I don't know when they did decide to overhaul the place but today Larsian is totally different from what I remember.
Diners on the side, barbecue boys in the middle.
All the grilling now takes place in a common grilling area right smack in the middle.
First off Larsian is no longer a narrow strip but an enclosed square whose entire perimeter is lined with a multitude of different stalls offering pork, chicken, longganisa (a local pork sausage), fish, and other seafood all ready for grilling. They also have clams and scallops now, which means you can have tinola (a clear broth made with, in this case, seafood) to go with your grilled goodies. As was the case before, tables and chairs are available for diners.
Another noticeable change is that all the grilling is now done in a shared space in the middle of the square. This effectively eliminates any unwanted smoke smell sticking to your clothes.
Kinamot is still the way to go here, only this time they provide plastic gloves. There's always some change somewhere, huh! Even the puso -- those servings of rice cooked in pouches fashioned out of young coconut leaves we sometimes playfully refer to as "hanging rice" -- have changed. They've gotten smaller. I was flabbergasted when the server offered me 10 pieces of puso, thinking it was a lot. I was expecting 1 puso equals 1 cup of rice but no, turns out 10 pieces was just about enough for the two of us.
This was the stall we picked.
Fresh clams makes for good soup. The clams were a bit tough, though.
A man touches up the flower arrangement for the Sto Niño, Cebu's patron saint.
Happy tummy, happy me.
I don't know with the other stalls but Larsian may not have the best barbecue but it offers a convenient, if not a novel, option for dining. It's like a happening place, which is not exactly cheap but still fairly affordable. I actually liked the grilled pork liempo and longganisa, which were better than the barbecue in my opinion. The soup, too, but not the clams themselves, which I found too tough and rubbery.
Nonetheless it was a good meal, much so a good experience. Despite the facelift, I'm glad the place is still around after all these years.
Meanwhile, it was still Christmas in one of the stalls:
Little Santa Clauses hanging from the ceiling. How cute :)
Larsian is located right next to Chong Hua Hospital near the Fuente Osmeña Circle in Uptown Cebu City.