Yana Gilbuena has traveled the world, celebrating the cuisine of her Filipino heritage with pop-up kamayan dinners. Her hometown of Bacolod City is known for this dish. Native coconut vinegar and calamansi juice bring a distinct flavor and aroma, and atsuete oil adds vibrant color, as well as a nutty, peppery flavor. Read more about Gilbuena and this recipe.

EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2021


Credit: Jenny Huang

Recipe Summary

40 mins
8 hrs
8 hrs 40 mins




Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare chicken: Whisk 1 cup vinegar, calamansi (or lemon) juice, seltzer, lemongrass, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons garlic, ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade for basting. Add chicken to the bowl and massage the marinade into it. Cover the chicken and the reserved marinade and refrigerate separately for 8 hours.

  • When ready to cook, preheat half the grill to medium-high; leave the other half unheated. Whisk atsuete oil into the reserved basting marinade.

  • Remove the chicken from its marinade (discard that marinade). Cook the chicken on the unheated part of the grill for 20 minutes. Flip and cook, basting often with the reserved marinade, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part without touching bone registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes more.

  • Meanwhile, prepare sauce: Whisk vinegar, chile, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Serve the chicken with the sauce.


Made from the nectar of flowers from the coconut tree, coconut vinegar is mild, with a slightly sweet, coconutty aftertaste. It's a staple throughout Southeast Asia and parts of India. Use it in marinades and dressings or to make pickled vegetables.

A tart and floral relative of the kumquat, calamansi is the predominant citrus used in Filipino cooking. Look for the juice bottled or frozen. Lime or lemon juice can be substituted.

Also called annatto or achiote oil, atsuete oil adds red color and nutty flavor to recipes. To make your own, steep 2 Tbsp. annatto seeds in 1/4 cup hot canola or coconut oil for 30 minutes. Strain and discard the seeds.

Nutrition Facts

3 oz. chicken & 1 Tbsp. sauce
213 calories; fat 12g; cholesterol 96mg; sodium 297mg; carbohydrates 5g; protein 20g; sugars 3g; niacin equivalents 6mg; saturated fat 2g; vitamin a iu 27IU; potassium 282mg.