27 Dec2006


Cebu lechons get a lot of mention on this blog and elsewhere, and particularly since I consider myself to be “Cebuano.” I have written quite a bit about lechons before, and what I think constitutes the best lechon, and finally, did a recipe for an interesting lechon paksiw with the leftovers. In the past few months, I have tried by hook or by crook to get myself invited into the heart of the top lechon makers in Cebu, to see exactly how a good Cebu lechon is made. I have not been successful. Folks guard their methods like gold. The sneaky approach of talking to a previous employee of one of the more venerated lechon houses is the next step but I haven’t found anyone yet. And doing my normal trial and error approach can get pricey if I have to fool around with 6-9 lechons, not to mention the cholesterol! So my quest to find the keys to a Cebu lechon is still in process. But I did the next best thing… I dissected a cebu lechon…

Split in half, the enormous cavity within is filled chockfull with aromatics. But first, where the heck did all the innards go? And how do they get the lech2innards without slicing up the stomach with a scalpel? Who the heck reaches in there to grab the gooey stuff? Ewww, is right. I suppose that’s the reason for the generous bowl of dinuguan that comes with the lechon, but the poor pig looked totally disemboweled and more! If I had that much space in my internal sections I could eat a WHOLE lot more than I do now. At any rate, the cavity seemed to be filled with TONS and TONS of lemongrass, green onions, sliced onions, whole cloves of garlic, probably rubbed extensively with knorr cubes, cracked black pepper and lots of salt. The glistening skin was probably basted with something, possibly a sugared concoction. The reason the ribs are so spectacularly good is that all the stuff inside cooks and flavors the meat nearest the ribs, thus the most delicious meat can be had just about there.

The two lechons we ordered this holiday season were from Lechon Family in Quezon City. The first lechon was disappointingly makunat and far from the best we have had. I think it was riding around in the delivery van for hours before it got to us. In fact, before we took delivery of the second lechon, I had one of my crew call them and tell them they better send something that tastes like the old lechons they used to deliver or it was time to switch to Elar’s or some other well-thought of lechoneros. The second one arrived in much better and despite coming off the flame at least 2 hours before, still remained quite crisp. If you plan to order a lechon, wherever you source it from, try to pick it up yourself just as soon as it comes off the fire then rush it home straight away. Because the most important key to a lech3good crisp skin is to make sure the lechon has just come off of the fire, and steam is still coming out of its butt. I hope you all get your fill of the delicious beast this Christmas… Hmmm, that does it, I covered the top 3 dishes for the holidays based on the marketmanila poll – Ham, Lechon and Roast Beef! Lechon Family, Cubao – 724-9353. Gourmet Lechon, Pasig – 829-7922. Gigi, a regular reader and lechon expert, also suggests Loring’s (supplier to Erap daw), San Juan 725-2580 and her all-time favorite, Elar’s (Imelda’s source?) at 731-7551. We really have to try one of the last two as so many folks have been raving about these lechons…



  1. peanut says:

    We had lechon for christmas and I cooked paksiw with the left over.

    I did it the Cebuano way too that is slightly sweet.
    I know the Tagalog version is cooked with lechon sarsa and liver pate.Well that’s how my husband’s cousin in law cooks it and he’s Tagalog.

    Pero Cebuano version….yummmm

    Dec 27, 2006 | 3:59 pm


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  3. asunta says:

    MM, my folks make lechon regulary because they are hog raisers so let me share with you what we do. Aside from tanglad that is placed inside the pig, we rub it with knorr sinigang mix. Rub it on the inside and out and of course use some salt and pepper as well. The sinigang mix is the secret to our juicy, tasty lechon. For extra crispy skin, we baste with olive oil or canola oil. Try this the next time you make lechon.

    Dec 27, 2006 | 5:09 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    asunta, many thanks for those tips, yes, I recall from an earlier post on lechon that you guys do this at home fairly often… will have to get the nerve up some day and try it…

    Dec 27, 2006 | 8:18 pm

  5. wil-b cariaga says:

    I remember our helper telling me her lola’s lechon is far more better than cebu’s lechon, she is from capiz, the ingredients she mentioned are sabaw ng sinigang powder and lemongrass added in the stuffing inside, hmmm I really have to ask her her lola’s recipe, i think it sounds yummy. . .

    Dec 27, 2006 | 9:05 pm

  6. Christine says:

    Hi, MM, hope you’re having a wonderful time with your family and friends this holiday season. :) Two of my favorite lechons are the cebu lechon in the Fort (near Bamboo Lounge) and that of Genevieve Hing – 0922-8588080. I tried the latter at a friends despedida and I loved it. I never really liked lechon as much as to “love” it, but this was that good.

    Dec 27, 2006 | 9:09 pm

  7. sister says:

    Lola had a “lechonero” who came regularly for all our birthday and holiday lechons. He butchered the pig at dawn in the laundry area, hund it up from the rafters doused in salt, and came back late in the afternoon to roast the pig.The pig was stuffed with lemongrass, salt, onions, scallions cracked black pepper. No Knorr, pls. Sometimes a stuffing was made with razor clams, chorizo and rice. It was basted with a mop dipped regularly into cold water until the last half hour when it was allowed to crisp. Then it was packed and sent by LBC to Manila in time for dinner.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 12:15 am

  8. Maria Clara says:

    Lechon from a good source is irresistible with crispy skin is a knockout and cannot be replicated in the oven. The crispy skin is the stellar part of the lechon. For the meat part, I like the spare rib section and the belly. Our lechon roasted in an open pit stuck in a bamboo pole and rotated continuously while roasting is the best with good sarsa is delicious. We used to roast our lechon stuffed with paella lined with banana leaves for added kick or just plain dried banana leaves the brown ones. It is the best. Paksiw lechon cooked after two days is great — the flavors all mixed in well after those days.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 2:28 am

  9. tulip says:

    My family had Elar’s lechon on Christmas Eve; it is very, very good. We picked it up and waited for it to cook. It’s my family’s favorite source for years other than the usual flown lechon from Cebu. For the parties for employees, friends and charity we settled for Mila’s since it stays crisp for long hours and bigger, those were really good too but we know the owner so I guess they give us the best ones? I heard complains against that source.
    For the New Year, my family is planning to visit the farm and ask for the helpers to roast for us and their families. I like the sight of it, and might as well look closely at the stuffing and baste they use. All I can remember is they do it same as what your sister stated but there is definitely an oil mixed with “whatever” that they keep on basting the skin to make it crisp and tasty. The lechon we usually have at the farm is almost comparable to lechon Cebu though the helpers are Tagalogs and not Cebuanos.
    Paksiw na lechon is moreover “forceably” enjoyed by the family after feasting on mostly meat-stapled dinners. But it is great though especially when you put lots of oregano and your own homemade liver sauce. Yum pa rin!

    Dec 28, 2006 | 3:04 am

  10. peanut says:

    My cousin in Manila told me about the lechon in Camiguin.Apparently when they cook lechon,they stuff it with whole chickens that had been stuffed as well.When the lechon is done,they take out the whole chicken that had been wrapped in foil and deep fry it.Is this true anyone?If it is,the chicken would be so yummy as it would be so flavoursome.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 5:01 am

  11. choy says:

    while people normally rave about lechon “cebu”, most visayans will tell you their versions are just as good. and as a half-cebuano, half-leyteno, married to an ilongga: and whose work entails a lot of travelling around the archipelago, i must agree.

    “lechon bisaya” is it. they may differ a bit from place to place, but essentially, lechon in the visayas (actually we’ll have to include mindanao, since they speak mostly visayan there) is really so flavorful that we have no use for ‘sarsa”. simple suka with garlic and chilies would do. some use patis w/ kalamansi and i’ve seen some people using ketchup!even our paksiw is done sans sarsa; it’s really paksiw-just vinegar, garlic and ginger. (although i’ve also tried making left-over lechon as sinigang-also superb!).

    and from my personal research, lechon bisaya is basted with either pepsi (not coke;pepsi is sweeter) or buko juice.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 9:53 am

  12. joey says:

    I’ve had lechon in Zambuanga and it was fantastic! And I had different ones on different occassions…all being super tasty and crisy. But the best I have ever tasted was the one we used to have at my dad’s friend’s place on our way to Baguio. He had a pigery and they would slaughter it the day itself and we ate it straight out of the fire. So, yes, I guess a big part of the secret of good lechon is really having it as fresh-from-cooking as you can…

    Dec 28, 2006 | 10:37 am

  13. ihid says:

    Crispy lechon? Consider having the black colored pig. The GMO white will not give the same crispiness.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 10:57 am

  14. asunta says:

    MM and Wil B Cariaga, yes my family is from Capiz so this is a tried and tested recipe from the land of the aswangs.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 4:44 pm

  15. Juls says:

    Try practicing on a cochinillo first to get the flavors right before going whole hog. It’s cheaper and easier too cook.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 11:28 pm

  16. corrrine says:

    Wow, reading these comments raises my cholesterol level. I miss the lechon cebu in Makati Supermart in Alabang. I CRAVE for paksiw na lechon cebu but I don’t know where to buy in the BF Homes – Alabang area. Great with Shiraz! Cheers and Happy New Year to all!

    Dec 28, 2006 | 11:37 pm

  17. Alexander Uy says:

    I didn’t get to eat lechon this year =(

    Jan 2, 2007 | 9:23 am

  18. ShoppaHolique says:

    Has anyone every tried making arrozcaldo out of lechon left overs? It’s cooked overnight using a slowcooker (that electric brown pot, not sure what it’s called)… it’s my comfort food.

    Marketman: Can you suggest (I know it’s late for the holidays, but we still got birthdays and other celebrations, don’t we?) a remedy for kunat lechon skin?

    Jan 2, 2007 | 11:06 pm

  19. DADD-F says:

    I just logged on so this delayed reaction. But I find the whole discourse quite fascinating. I must agree with Choy (Dec. 28, 2006. People usually rave about Cebu lechon which I suspect is probably due to more aggressive advertising and perhaps, because there seems to be a lot more Cebuanos scattered about the country. Cebu lechon is good (Some Cebuano friends attest to one coming from Talisay as the best and that from Mandaue, second best.)though I find that everytime I eat some, I develop allergies (“…rubbed extensively with knorr cubes…” as you said?). But that doesn’t detract from the fact that Visayan lechon, in general, is certainly tastier as Choy says. I have travelled around the country and lived in different parts for significant periods of time. I dare say that the best lechon comes from Leyte. The tradtional variety, that is. The commercial types are still good eats but the lechon done the old fashion way fares sooooo much better! My family hails from Leyte (But that’s not why the best lechon for me comes from there.) and there we dig a pit to cook lechon, traditionally, of the native variety (a lot healthier and as far as I am concerned, a lot tastier) and of just the right age and weight that the outcome ensures juicy, tender, absolutely divine lechon–with the crispy skin, of course. In fact, I used to ask my Uncle in Leyte to make one for me everytime I crave for an honest-to-goodness lechon and just had it sent over. Warays also use other ingredients to lend for a more flavourful lechon but we certainly do not gorge it with such that the end product tastes more of the spices and stuff and nowhere can you savour the heavenly taste of the meat anymore. Anyway, with lechon so good, there is absolutely no need for a liver sauce. In the province, we make better use of the liver.

    With leftovers, my mother makes such terrific lechon paksiw! Truth to tell, I’ve never tasted anything quite like it. My brother-in-law, a Tagalog, would always request my mother to make this whenever there is lechon, especially one brought from home. I tried doing it exactly as my mother does–even using our own vinegar that can very well rival an original sukang iloko–but I just can’t produce lechon paksiw the way she does. Sigh….

    Jan 30, 2007 | 1:22 pm

  20. Danny Yaptangco says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am the owner of Gourmet Lechon, the present name is Lechon Delight, we sell our lechon in Salcedo Market, in Magallanes on Sunday’s and Christ the King church on Sunday’s
    Our cebu lechon is flame cooked with fire wood we do not use uleng. The high temperature of the flames boil the water that is trapped in the belly of the pig, and since it is mixed with spices spreads to the entire body.
    We also use spices that are only found in Cebu, it gives the lechon the distinct Cebu Lechon taste. I am glad that you enjoyed the lechon. E-mail me if you have an order and I will make use that it is specially great. Better than the original cebu lechon.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 8:01 pm

  21. Maria says:

    Try Naldo’s Lechon in cebu. 0917-6300-888 or landline 346-0202. My family said the taste is just right.

    Jan 11, 2008 | 1:53 am

  22. Anton says:

    In Mindanao some lechons are served with paklay or papait as an extra dish also made out of the internal parts of the pig.. :) similar to dinuguan…

    some even come with paella.. dont know if you can get anything like this now..

    Mar 17, 2008 | 2:56 pm

  23. randy says:

    to enjoy and have more customers the taste of lechon baboy.and please can you give me the ingredients of lechon baboy.tnx,…………….

    May 24, 2008 | 1:40 pm

  24. ash says:

    The Lechon Cebu served to us is the best lechon I’ve ever tasted. Its crispy skin is so good and the meat is tender and juicy. I love it! The people there are hospitable and cheerful. They seem to be very happy people.

    Try http://www.lechoncebu.com

    Oct 2, 2008 | 8:30 am

  25. sylvia says:

    I agree. Cebu’s lechon is really the best lechon. The meat taste good. It is very flavorful. Nothing can compare the taste of cebu’s lechon.

    Dec 3, 2008 | 4:04 pm

  26. john B. says:

    I tried cooking lechon and the stuffing we put inside the pig’s stomach are (star anis,scallion,onion,garlic,ginger,gin,msg,salt,tanglad,pineapple juice’fresh squeze’) and for basting we use water and saltand it turneed up to be a tasty lechon and the taste is diff and i admit if will have the money i will put up a lechonan with using my own recipe try it guys!!!

    Apr 5, 2009 | 7:17 am

  27. Jose Yap says:

    May alam po ba kayo na authentic Cebu na lechonan sa Metro Manila? Pls pakisuggest po.

    Apr 8, 2009 | 1:22 pm

  28. Roland P. Panares says:

    Hi Jose. We are Manong’s Tasty Lechon Cebu. We are from Cebu but we have decided to stay here in Metro manila to service our growing clientele. You can reach us at 7032133 or 0908-3237727. Free delivery din po kami. Thanks.

    Apr 23, 2009 | 12:23 pm

  29. Jowan says:

    Cebuano lechon is already famous since before the time Knorr ever existed. Cebu lechon is like Coca Cola. Whenever a lechon taste really really good, its Cebu.

    Also, experienced first hand, I used to be involved in one of the largest government infrastructure project in the nineties. You could say it was filipinos galore. Almost 7 thousand involved, from all over the country. North South East West. Trust me when I say, that every weekend, a birthday there a party here, theres only one kind of lechon. And thats Cebu Lechon. And you will see a kind of dissatisfaction among every faces when you hint a kind joke that theres a possibility that it would not be Cebu Lechon that be served that day. The project I was involved in was in NCR by the way.

    Now, one must know what is Cebu Lechon first. If you say that theres Leyte lechon or Capiz lechon, and if there’s any small amount of touch or even ingredient that is so much like Cebu lechon, chances are it is Cebu lechon. Maybe some cook from Capiz had prepared it, but never the less that cook was doing a Cebu Lechon

    Aug 28, 2009 | 10:15 pm

  30. Roland P. Panares says:

    Hi. Just like to inform you that we recently opened our first Manila outlet inside SM North Foodcourt. Hope you could visit us and have a satisfying gastronomical experience with our mouth-watering Cebu lechon.

    Call us at 7032133 or Smart mobile 0908-3237727 for any questions or orders. Thank you.

    Sep 24, 2009 | 1:40 pm

  31. Roland P. Panares says:

    Goodness, I forgot to put our company name. MANONG’S LECHON CEBU. Please visit us at SM North Foodcourt. I’m really getting old. Hehhee.

    Sep 24, 2009 | 2:07 pm


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