JT's Manukan Grille Review: Famous Filipino Chain In SG | Eatbook.sg
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JT’s Manukan Grille Review: Celebrity-Owned Filipino Chain Opens In SG With Famous Grilled Chicken

27th June 2024

JT’s Manukan Grille has Filipino grilled chicken at Lucky Plaza


The first time I tried Filipino fare was in 2023 when my team ordered from Nanay’s Kitchen, a halal Filipino eatery with chicken sisig and more, for one of our cohesion dinners. That was the moment my eyes lit up to the world of Filipino food. And so when famous Filipino chain JT’s Manukan Grille opened their first overseas store here in Singapore, I was thrilled to visit them at Lucky Plaza


Here’s a low-down on JT’s Manukan Grille: the story of this popular chain eatery unfolded when Filipino actor Joel Torre and his wife founded it in 2003. Ever since, their business has expanded with a total of 39 branches in the Philippines, thanks to the support of countless patrons who laud their chicken inasal, AKA grilled chicken, as incredibly tasty.

Nanay’s Kitchen Review: Halal Filipino Eatery With Chicken Sisig, Halo-Halo And More

Food at JT’s Manukan Grille


In case you didn’t know, chicken inasal is one of the national dishes of the Philippines. This grilled chicken dish usually comprises either the breast or leg cut, both of which you can find here.


For those keen on trying inasal, look for a dish named Paa ($8.50) on the menu. This set comes with a plate of plain rice with a whole grilled chicken leg along with a wedge of lime and a bowl of soup on the side. Here’s a tip: pay an additional $0.40 to change your plain rice to garlic rice if you want extra flavour.


Upon finding out that chicken inasal is dubbed the 10th best chicken dish in the world at the point of writing, admittedly, my expectations went through the roof. While this dish wasn’t as life-changing as I thought it would be, I was impressed by how soft and tender the grilled chicken was. It was also mildly sweet and savoury thanks to a special house-made marinade.


As a fan of anything with garlic, I had to opt for the garlic rice, which was essentially plain rice topped with fried garlic chips. On one hand, I enjoyed the crispy addition to the otherwise lacklustre white rice, but it was a pity that the garlic aroma was generally lacking. In hindsight, one extra scoop of the fried garlic bits would have done the trick to make this dish more fragrant and moreish.


I also got to try their Liempo ($7.70), which substitutes the grilled chicken for grilled pork belly. Again, this dish with garlic rice is priced at $8.10.


This protein paled in comparison to the chicken mainly for one reason: the pork belly was a tad too fatty. I would have preferred if the pork was meatier instead. It was nicely grilled with a lovely char on the outside though, which was a plus. I also appreciated that there was a side of achar to cut through slightly greasy flavours.


To my surprise, this unassuming bowl of Cansi ($13) turned out to be my favourite item out of everything I tried. For the uninitiated, Cansi is a popular Filipino beef soup made with bone marrow and beef shanks. 


I was rather underwhelmed after taking a glance at this dish, but it only took a spoonful of the soup  to prove me otherwise. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, while the broth was robust, with a slightly tangy flavour that reminded me of suan cai yu tang. Surprisingly, despite being extremely flavourful, it remained light on the palate

In case you’re put off by what looks like excess oil in the top layer, worry not: it’s the collagen, not oil, simmered and melted into the soup! FYI, you can also enjoy this with a friend for $15, which gets you two bowls of plain rice as well.


If you’re going with the sharing route, order the Grilled Bangus ($16), which makes for a great side. 


In terms of texture, this grilled milkfish reminded me of mackerel: the flaky fish meat within was soft and moist. It also tasted less fishy and oily, so I think it should appeal even to those who aren’t big on fishy flavours.

Ambience at JT’s Manukan Grille


During my visit, a snaking long queue of mostly Filipinos waited in line with eager eyes. I could only imagine their excitement of having one more food option to turn to whenever they missed home. Also, the thickening crowd of native Filipinos seemed like a good sign, proving just how authentic the food at JT’s Manukan Grille was.


With that said, the newly opened eatery is located within Asian Food Mall, a kopitiam in the basement of Lucky Plaza. It gets hectic during lunch hours, so I recommend heading down slightly earlier to secure a seat! For easy access, they are located just three minutes away from Orchard MRT Station by foot.

The verdict

If you’ve never had the chance to try Filipino food, JT’s Manukan Grille is a great place to start as the eatery is both accessible and affordable. Plus, with a seasoned team of native Filipinos running the place, which adds to their authenticity, there’s really no reason to sleep on this eatery.

For more Filipino food spots in Singapore, read our Lechon Republic review, where we tried crispy roast pork from $6.50 in Novena. Or if you’re in the area, read our Lucky Plaza food guide.

Address: 304 Orchard Road, B1-#038, Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863
Opening hours: Daily 10am to 9pm
JT’s Manukan Grille is not a halal-certified eatery.

Lechon Republic Review: Crispy Filipino Roast Pork From $6.50 Nett In Novena

Photos taken by Yoo Kyung and edited by Casandra Nicholas.
This was a media tasting at JT’s Manukan Grille.

JT's Manukan Grille Review: Celebrity-Owned Filipino Chain Opens In SG With Famous Grilled Chicken
  • 7/10
    JT's Manukan Grille Review: Celebrity-Owned Filipino Chain Opens In SG With Famous Grilled Chicken - 7/10


– Great location
– Delicious Cansi with generous ingredients and tender beef

– Liempo would have tasted better if it were meatier than fattier
– Garlic rice was lacking the fragrance I was looking for

Recommended dish: Paa ($8.50), Cansi ($13)

Address: 304 Orchard Road, B1-#038, Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863

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