Lechon de Leche, Leche Flan, Dulce de Leche, Pastillas de Lecheâ€¦yikes, whatâ€™s with all the leches lately? Heeheehee. I have received several emails asking where I get lechon and while I hate to disappoint as I donâ€™t really eat that much lechon in Manila, I do provide you with two different sources further down in the post, in case you are desperate. A real lechon de leche should be a baby pig that is still suckling its motherâ€™s milk. We used to order these brilliant lechon de leches from one of the Makati villages but the owners moved and I donâ€™t have their new address. At any rate, the whole purpose is really the thin crisp and utterly delicious skin. Itâ€™s the grown up version of Peking duck in a wayâ€¦and the luxury is in the epidermisâ€¦the photo here is of a lechon de leche taken at the Saturday Salcedo marketâ€¦
As far as regular lechons go, they seem to taste better to me in the provincesâ€¦not sure why but they just do. My family is from Cebu and thus partial to the Visayan style of lechon which includes stuffing the stomach cavity with tons of tanglad (lemongrass), spices and salt. I also understand that they sometimes rub the skin with coconut juice to caramelize it furtherâ€¦what better combination is there than fat, caramelized sugars and salt in the same morsel/bite??? I also like lechons relatively young at say 12-15 kilos only. While there is less meat, there is more skin to meat ratio and the juices in the stomach really soak into the rib areas which makes for finger licking good ribs. Also, the only time to eat the skin is within 20 minutes of the lechon coming from the fire. It is hot below the skin as the fat still bubbles away but the skin is wicked crisp from having cooled for a bit. My personal record consumption of crisp skin? – about 60 square inches of the stuff before popping a cholesterol pill!!! I heard a story once that a lady got a hole in one at the Cebu Country Club Golf course and proceeded to eat much of a whole lechon herself…she had a stroke a few hours later!
In Manila, we order our Cebu style lechons from two places: Lechon Family or Family Lechon, not sure what their name is really, and this is their contact information: #129 N. Domingo St. (across the Petron Gas Station), Cubao, Quezon City Telephone 724-93-53 and you have to pick up your lechons during peak periods. The other source is the one that sells at the Salcedo Saturday market (I know, I know, Gigi, one of my regular readers think they are pretty boring) that is pretty good but best only as soon as they come off the fire rather than after sitting wrapped in paper for several hours. They are Gourmet Lechon and Lira Gamboa is the store manager and they can be found at 15 West Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasign City Telephone 829-79-22. There is no substitute for doing it yourself but I think my neighbors would freak out if I chased a little pig around my backyard, stabbed it in the neck to drain its blood while it screamed bloody murder then set up a large charcoal flame to roast it over the next few hoursâ€¦Iâ€™ll just wait until we go to the beach after Christmas where I have asked the bantay to order two small pigs for us to roast under the large tamarind tree out backâ€¦