What makes Lechon de Cebu so distinct? First, our version doesn’t need a sarsa anymore. Second, there is a different kick of crispiness and saltiness. Cebu has been branded and still holding the crown of the best tasting Lechon in the Philippines. I myself grew up having Lechon on our table every time we have a gathering (whole or kilo) and I bet every Filipino, too.
The Evolution of Cebu’s finest Lechon
Let’s start with the famous Rico’s Lechon from Talamban Cebu. The owner invented and released the first known SPICY LECHON. The taste is still present but improved with the spicy flavor. Together with the traditional ingredients, the latter added a lot, I mean a lot of chili inside the pork belly depending on the size. This new taste catches not only the Cebuanos but people all over the country.
The craze didn’t stop there! After they have released the spicy flavored one, a new innovation was introduced again, the ORGANIC LECHON which I think is unknowingly done already a long time ago before feeds.
So, what is this gastronomic extravaganza about? Well, the pig used for this is organic. From Day 1 to the pig’s final destination, it is only fed with organic food. Meaning, no commercial feeds or anything that touches any chemical; not even pesticides. For organic lovers who ironically love suckling pig and don’t mind the cholesterol as long as it’s organic, this is for you!
After the success of those new innovations, crazy new ideas from Cebuanos came left and right and one of them is the BONELESS LECHON which is… yeah, boneless! The Boneless Lechon is just typically a pig belly stuffed with the same ingredients and cooked as of the famous version from Cebu. Two flavors are offered: the regular one and the now accepted taste which is the Spicy Lechon.
If you think that is all, wait until I tell you that Cebuanos are now fusing to our typical table menu. I understand if you will say this is not new but hey! trust me, this is a whole new level. As in restaurant level. Most restaurants are now offering dinuguan, chicharron, sisig, sinigang, fried lumpia, pinakbet and all are made from roasted meat. A Swedish meatball is another one, just to name something restaurant-ish.
Lastly, the new player in the industry in Cebu is ZubuChon. Owned by a market man of Market Manila, he brought the Lechon de Cebu into a different crisp with their PRICKED LECHON. Nevertheless, the taste is still the same. The owner chose to stay on the traditional taste and way of cooking the original Cebuano style. By the way, ZUBU is a very old name for “Sugbo”, which is now known as Cebu.
To name few of the big players are CNT, Rico’s, Ayer’s, and ZubuChon. Some are small players but mind you, they have existed longer than the latter mentioned. The largest stalls in the province are found in Jai-Alai and Carcar.
Let me stop this self-punishment! I am literally craving as of writing; in the middle of the night. It’s a ciao for now. Let me look for something to eat.
What about you? What is your favorite variety? Leave your answers in the comments section below. We would love to read them.