17 Jul2011

First, I would like to apologize for the slow week of posts. There is so much I would like to write about, but I have been in Cebu for the past week getting ready to open our second restaurant, and watching over the first one. It’s been barely a month since we opened Zubuchon at One Mango and here is an update for those of you who are curious how it’s going…

Gangbusters. That’s the only way to describe it. Marketman & the entire crew are simply stunned by the response and we are truly grateful to all of you who have visited, sent friends and relatives, posted it on your facebooks, etc. Saturday is probably our busiest day of the week, but lately, nearly every day feels like a Saturday. :) I realize Pinoys love to check out a new place, and wonder if this interest is fleeting, but we are surprised nonetheless. If you guys could see a video feed of the front and back of the house, you would be amused. Besides a full crew at full throttle, Marketman has literally waited on tables, cleared them, made fruit shakes, kept folks occupied until waiters could take their orders, explained our history and food, washed and dried dishes, posed for pictures (egads!) and signed autographs (I kid you not!)… While I have gotten in front of the stoves to cook, I avoid the kitchen as it is tiny and there is a system in there that I simply cannot mess up or it delays service. We have had our hiccups in the last few weeks… orders gone missing, drinks arriving late, some things too salty, others too bland, bills that don’t add up, lechon served at room temperature (our aircons too efficient) and needing to be warmed up. But we have endeavored to recover whenever possible, and appreciate how accommodating so many of our customers have been. I am sure we have turned off a few diners, but the number who have returned repeatedly in just a month’s time has really surprised us.

Saturdays are unusually busy, and while we only have 28 seats indoors (and a few more outdoors), yesterday we served over 200 guests who dined in-house, and another 30-40 people who came to buy lechon and other dishes to take out. Frenetic is an understatement. I arrived in the morning to have lunch and go do some errands, and I ended up staying 12 hours straight and bussing tables…

Our second outlet, Zubuchon Escario, is just a few steps away from the provincial Capitol, and we open on Monday, 18 July 2011 with a very edited menu. To celebrate the opening, we are offering a one day special of Marketman’s lechon sisig rice in chinese take out boxes. Fried rice with homemade lard, lechon sisig, lechon drippings, a hint of chili and other seasonings. Totally MSG free. At PHP39 (90 U.S cents) a serving, it’s a steal, probably below cost actually, and only for take-out… It’s first come, first served and only while supplies last. But we are ready to provide at least 500 of these special meals on Monday.

So again, thank you, Marketman & Crew are most grateful to everyone who has dropped by the restaurant in recent weeks, and we hope to continue to improve both the quality of dishes and the service provided. A special shoutout goes to Marketmanila readers from Manila and elsewhere in the country and world who have dropped by in recent days, some who said the they flew in pretty much just to pig out… :)



  1. Ellen says:

    Congratulations, MM! We are definitely flying to Cebu one of these days just to check out Zubuchon. Is these a number I can call to make reservations?

    Btw, I saw you on TV yesterday. :-)

    Jul 17, 2011 | 7:55 am


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  3. Philip says:

    Hi MM. Congratulations on the opening of Zubuchon! August 27-30 is a long 4-day weekend (27 is a Saturday, 28 is a Sunday, 29 is National Heroes’ Day, and 30 is Eid’l Fit’r [Hari Raya or the end of Ramadan]).

    Instead of going to HK or Singapore, my girlfriend and I are thinking of taking a Culinary Tour of Cebu. Any chance you can organize one? Or could you recommend a really good Cebu culinary tour provider?


    Jul 17, 2011 | 8:05 am

  4. Gerry says:

    If you do have an issue in keeping the zubuchon warm, I suggest you use infrared warming lamps, similar to what they use to keep roast beef warm in buffets. They may be available from local restaurant supply places like Pfescorp, KLG or Technolux.

    Jul 17, 2011 | 8:26 am

  5. Betchay says:

    Congratulations MM! Amazing response indeed! However, don’t forget to take sometime off for yourself too. I guess your recent weight loss paid off—giving you so much more energy! :) I’m sure your second restaurant will be a hit as well.

    Jul 17, 2011 | 8:39 am

  6. Marketman says:

    Gerry, actually we did have heat lamps in the first week. Double bulbs, 500Watts worth. But one of them blew up and shattered, rendering a lechon wasted, so we have since removed them. Still looking for a suitable replacement…

    Jul 17, 2011 | 8:57 am

  7. moni says:

    MM, congrats for the Zubuchon resto doing gangbuster business. I have sent Facebook messages to all my friends and former students now working in Cebu about how special your resto at One Mango Mall. I have also informed my Chinese research partners in Hangzhou and Haikou that Cebu should be their must-visit destination next time they are in the Philippines, if only to enjoy the pork goodies at Zubuchon. They are excited as I am.

    Jul 17, 2011 | 9:29 am

  8. betty q. says:

    For suitable replacement for your infra-red lamps, MM…maybe do a research on those display cases like what they use in Chinese delis or grocery stores ….why you could even have an assortment of charcoal roasted chickens or lechon manok in those display cases or even those lechon stuffed sisig!

    Jul 17, 2011 | 10:04 am

  9. Gej says:

    Phenomenal! Congratulations. Pretty sure this won’t be fleeting.

    Jul 17, 2011 | 10:05 am

  10. JE says:

    I can imagine that your approach to remedy all those hiccups will be nothing short of surgical.

    Jul 17, 2011 | 10:48 am

  11. Carol says:

    Dear MM, Family and Crew – many, many congratulations!!! :). Well deserved indeed, after all your hard work and dedication! I am so happy we are one of your buena manos!!! :). God bless always! :)

    Jul 17, 2011 | 12:19 pm

  12. Hazel says:

    It really warms my heart to read such good news about how well your Zubuchon restaurant is doing. You have such a great crew MM! You bring out the best in them. Definitely will visit Zubuchon when I do come home next year. It’s in my to-do list!

    Jul 17, 2011 | 12:59 pm

  13. Mimi says:

    MM: I don’t know if my suggestion is possible, but when my baby was a newborn he was placed under a baby warmer for several hours straight for several weeks. The warmer at the hospital was lke a tall clothes rack with a rectangular hood which was adjustable in height. I guess it was safe as most babies had them over the bassinet. It was pretty warm underneath it. Maybe you can find a warming/heating machine like those for the lechon?

    Jul 17, 2011 | 2:38 pm

  14. James says:

    Dropped by Zubuchon last night. We tried the lechon, lechon sisig, lechon dinuguan, and adobong kangkong with lechon and chicharon. Everything was delicious! We’ll try the rest of the food in the menu on our next visit. By the way, the kamias shake was divine! Now I know why it’s a bestseller. :-)

    Jul 17, 2011 | 2:51 pm

  15. Bernard says:

    Thanks for the samplers yesterday MM :) I will definitely try the lechon sisig tomorrow because your 2nd outlet is just a 3-minute walk from our house…What time will the outlet open?

    Jul 17, 2011 | 3:10 pm

  16. cumin says:

    Hey I’m so very happy for you and the rest of the crew whose hard work is paying off. Don’t you just love it when diners leave spotlessly clean plates! I’ll be visiting Cebu soon and will definitely drop by…and maybe if you’re around, I’ll ask for an autograph :-)

    Jul 17, 2011 | 3:23 pm

  17. leo says:

    if you cook it, they will come.

    Jul 17, 2011 | 3:51 pm

  18. Chinky says:

    congratulations! Will try to make it to Cebu one of these days!

    Jul 17, 2011 | 5:14 pm

  19. Maddie says:

    Congratulations! My nephew and niece paid a visit recently and said they were in pig heaven!

    Jul 17, 2011 | 6:03 pm

  20. Lannie says:

    MM, my heartfelt congratulations to you and your crew. I didn’t get to make it to Cebu this time but I’ll be back this X’mas and who knows… you may already have a Manila Zubuchon resto :)

    Jul 17, 2011 | 6:39 pm

  21. Rebecca says:

    WOO HOO!!!! Congrats to you and the Crew on the restaurants. I’m sure you’ll work out the glitches soon.

    Jul 17, 2011 | 7:14 pm

  22. Ging says:

    We will be ordering 12 of those sisig for take out tomorrow :-)

    Jul 17, 2011 | 7:14 pm

  23. Marketman says:

    Ging and Bernard, we will open at 10am… Yipes, need to cook more lechon sisig rice… :) Thanks everyone!

    Jul 17, 2011 | 10:31 pm

  24. giancarlo says:

    Congratulations! When is the manila branch opening?

    Jul 18, 2011 | 12:25 am

  25. giancarlo says:

    Congratulations! When is the manila branch opening?

    Jul 18, 2011 | 12:25 am

  26. linda says:

    Congratulations,MM and crew! I hope you’ll have your Makati branch open by next year! I can feel and see a future Zubuchon franchise being created sometime:)

    Jul 18, 2011 | 7:33 am

  27. Ging says:

    MM, i lost Joan’s card and cant contact Zubu. Can we please reserve 15 servings of the Sisig Rice in your chinese take out boxes. its another working lunch for the staff. i will send the messenger for them at around 11:30. hope you can relay this to the escario resto. we are only 5 minutes away. thanks!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 7:49 am

  28. joan says:

    Hi Ging, we’ll reserve the 15 boxes for you, don’t worry. Our Escario branch number is 032.5835699, Mango branch is 032.2395697. Enjoy! :)

    Jul 18, 2011 | 8:21 am

  29. Anne :-) says:

    Congratulations MM and crew!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 8:55 am

  30. marilen says:

    Jusr wanted to chime in – congratulations on this great success!!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 8:57 am

  31. natie says:

    when your blog went “silent’ for a few days, I knew you got busy with the restos…so happy for your success!! i’m sure all the followers here feel as if we’re all part of this.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 9:08 am

  32. MAMAI says:

    Congrats MM and crew! I really can’t wait to go back to Cebu. I’m so jealous of my friends who have already eaten at Zubuchon! I keep counting the days till I’ll be in Cebu. All I ever think about is Zubuchon before I sleep and the moment I wake up! I think it’s already an obsession! Hahahaha.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 9:33 am

  33. Jeff says:

    Hoping to see a Zubuchon Manila Branch soon!

    Congrats MM!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 10:31 am

  34. jay p says:

    i wonder if you can calculate how many calories you serve per day :)

    congrats Market Man and the Zubuchon Team!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 10:33 am

  35. judessa says:

    Hi MM,

    My family finally visited your resto in One Mango yesterday. Unfortunately we were a bit frustrated with the service. We got served after 30 mins or so, the lechon was served at room temp, the dinuguan was a bit bland then some of the dishes were served very late thus we had to cancel some of our orders since we were already famished! We also overheard 2 of your staff who were arguing as to who will get us the service water, hehe! I know that your resto is still experiencing birth pains as of the moment and I hope that you’ll be able to deliver a quality service to your customers soon. Congrats MM!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 10:44 am

  36. Piaya says:

    Congratulations MM & crew! Indeed, Zubuchun is one of Cebu’s best restos..

    Jul 18, 2011 | 10:59 am

  37. Nikita says:

    Congratulations to the whole Zubuchon crew! :) can’t wait to do another Cebu trip

    Jul 18, 2011 | 11:04 am

  38. ihid says:

    The Day Off exposure was quite long – long enough to show how you struggled with Tagalog. Murag nag lock jaw. Congratulations!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 11:16 am

  39. potato says:

    Congrats MM and to the crew!

    So wishing its January, then we can finally visit your Zubuchon restos and eat everything in the menu! Hopefully you’ll be there to sign an autograph, if you’re not busy of course :D

    The most admirable thing about your post is that you admit of the hiccups and made up for it. Some restos tend to sweep it under the rug and just apologize, some obviously insincere.

    More success and more branches for Zubuchon! :D

    PS. A Manila/Luzon branch would be lovely ;D


    Jul 18, 2011 | 11:21 am

  40. jigs says:

    Congratulations, MM and crew! When are you opening in Manila? No pressure there…

    BTW some Cebu-based friends only have praises for Zubuchon… they’re saying everything’s so fresh and yummy. Plus they like the prices. Thought I’d pass on that review….

    Jul 18, 2011 | 12:13 pm

  41. Lambert says:

    I saw you and your wife at Zubuchon last week! I wondered why you both were there in full force, now I know haha :) Congrats on the new outlet!

    By the way, lechon skin portions were so much better. And, of course, the iba shakes can still rock my world LOL.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 1:20 pm

  42. Marketman says:

    Judessa, thanks for that feedback on unsatisfactory service… I will raise this with management and staff at the next briefing. We have been unbelievably full, and apologize for lapses in service. We have immediately instituted a MAXIMUM number of guests per meal, and have stopped trying to accommodate all guests that show up, to ensure that situations such as yours are minimized as much as possible. I hope you will allow us to make up for the less than satisfactory experience by having you back at a future date… will have the manager contact you directly in the next few days. Again, we appreciate your feedback and will act on it quickly.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 1:40 pm

  43. Joe-ker says:

    I am not surprised with the response that you are gettting. Your meals are truly worth its price. I do hope that you keep the high quality of the items that you serve and keep it consistent. Keep it up and hope I can visit Cebu again soon:-)

    Jul 18, 2011 | 2:17 pm

  44. Ging says:

    Thanks MM and Joan! The Sisig Rice was fantastic. The Escario branch sent us an extra serving. As i deliberately ordered a lot, many of the staff (including me!) went for seconds hehehehe we will be visiting your mango branch later this week or next. i will give advance notice as there will be about 12 of us.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 2:30 pm

  45. kennonballer says:

    just made reservations for lunch and dinner tomorrow at the mango branch. this baguio boy’s ready to take on lechon heaven!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 3:38 pm

  46. Jenn Chon says:

    Wow, heaven must really be on my side! My aim was just to eat at ZUBUCHON. Imagine, meeting you in person (twice in 2 days — friday lunch & saturday dinner), conversing with us, allowing us to take pictures with you, giving us free samplings of pickles & chicharon and even witnessing you waiting on tables. Hehehe! I am just sooooooooooo thrilled!

    Be warned…I’ll definitely be back with a batallion of pig-eaters….i’m not kidding!!! =)

    Tsk! Tsk! i didn’t get to drop by (eat again) at the opening of your Escario branch. Had to fly back to Manila. Hopefully, on my next trip I can finally try all the other dishes.

    Congratulations again and see yah soon!

    Jenn Chon — A big fan of ZUBUCHON, remember me??? =)

    Jul 18, 2011 | 4:09 pm

  47. Footloose says:

    No apologies required. I once commented that what happens in Market Manila matters to me more than the discovery of another distant heavenly body. Little did I suspect that the rapid formation of a black hole in real time in the very fabric of English life but scarcely affects me would truly rivet my attention. You have been busy in the same few days as a one-handed bill poster; I wish you plenty of energy and endurance.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 6:48 pm

  48. Mom-Friday says:

    congratulations MM!
    now we are all wishing you’d open one in Manila soon! :)))

    Jul 18, 2011 | 7:03 pm

  49. paolo says:

    congratulations on the 2nd store! i will just savour the mouth watering pics MM surely would be sharing with all of us.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 7:45 pm

  50. t2rad says:

    Two branches in Cebu?! Envy. Have to echo the sentiment around here: when do we get a Manila branch?!!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 7:58 pm

  51. TheProtector says:

    Congrats Sir…keep the Cebuanos happily dining ever after…but don’t forget the Manilenos waiting for Zubuchon to finally branch out in Manila….or Batangas…Today Cebu, tomorrow the great wide world….Eat and Run!!!!!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 9:18 pm

  52. Junb says:

    You’ve been Very Busy!!! ….I’m sure you’re not complaining :)

    Jul 18, 2011 | 9:40 pm

  53. Kasseopeia says:

    Bernard, you lucky duck! 3 mins away from MM’s resto?

    Like a kid taking its first steps, am sure any resto would run into a few glitches. Rest assured, true-blue foodies know this and will not be turned off by Zubuchon’s “birth pains”. In fact, my sisters are now pestering me to bring them with me on my upcoming Cebu trip. A foodie family we are. SO looking forward to visiting your resto and eating Zubuchon fresh… not that the frozen ones aren’t good. =)

    Jul 18, 2011 | 9:48 pm

  54. Eileen says:

    Congrats MM! I received frozen Zubuchon as “pasalubong” a few days ago… It was good and flavorful but I can’t wait to try fresh Zubuchon! Hope I can visit Cebu soon! :)

    Jul 18, 2011 | 10:02 pm

  55. MP says:

    Hi MM. I seriously doubt the interest in Zubuchon will be fleeting – as long as you and your crew make serious efforts to maintain quality food and service. Some of our family friends have visited the other day and were seriously impressed with the food and the prices. I am very pleased that Zubuchon lived up to the hype I created (to our Cebu-based friends). So, despite the birthing pains (mostly on the service side), you and your team deserve heartfelt congratulations.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 10:09 pm

  56. tonceq says:

    *Patiently waiting for Zubuchon Manila to open* Congratulations MM! :)

    Jul 18, 2011 | 10:46 pm

  57. filet minion says:

    Congratulations MM! I’m sorry it’s been such a hectic week for you. I hope you can still make it to the GawadKalinga-CSI forum to entice social entrepreneurship tomorrow night. MM fans, if you can’t eat Zubuchon in Cebu, you can try the next best thing and catch MM’s talk, tomorrow night 7pm at Ateneo School of Mgmt Bldg Rm 111.
    Sorry for the shameless plug.

    Jul 18, 2011 | 11:14 pm

  58. Marketman says:

    filet minion, you have mental telepathy or something?? I just put a post, I need detailed directions to get to the venue… thanks!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 11:23 pm

  59. netoy says:

    MM – do you take reservations if only for 2 persons? we are planning to visit in time for the sinulog festival next year and i have no doubt that your places will be rocking! if so, may i have the number of your mango branch please? daghang salamat..

    Jul 19, 2011 | 2:40 am

  60. The Average Jane says:

    Congratulations MM! Hope you could open a branch in Manila soon! =)

    Jul 19, 2011 | 9:33 am

  61. tes says:

    yup, the airconditioning is way too cold. been there 5x already. the lechon keeps me coming again. the grape shake was superb!
    and my plate was prematurely removed by the waiter, even though bits of food was still there. i was only asking for my flan, may he thought im done already.

    Jul 19, 2011 | 10:57 pm

  62. ykmd says:

    Hi MM! My family ate at zubuchon mango for lunch yesterday. We came bright and early so managed to get seated right by the lechon :) my mom asked for a copy of your menu for a souvenir as I had told her about your blog and quest for the perfect lechon, and your crew graciously gave her a photocopy (maybe you should print take-out menus?)
    Hubby and I loved the stuffed squid and lechon sisig! The lechon was so flavorful and so good dipped in pinakurat! And the skin was just PERFECT. My teens devoured that and the 5 pork fried rice. Loved your plating for the seaweed and pickle platters- the guso/ lato/lukot were so fresh, and serving the vinaigrette separately is a great idea. The iba shake transported me back to childhood and was the perfect “antidote” to the richness of the pork. The complimentary biko and budbud after our meal was devoured as well (my teen son took one hesitant taste after much prodding, then ate the rest.
    Your crew was very polite and accomodating, kudos! The sisig came last, despite being an “appetizer” and the paksiw was a bit too sweet for my taste but other than that, we had a great meal! Too bad you weren’t there so I could get your autograph ;) We will be heading back to the US in a few days and I hope to find many more Zubuchon restos next time we’re home!

    Jul 20, 2011 | 3:24 am

  63. Ging says:

    Hi MM. I had lunch at the Escario branch with my senior staff today. only 2 other tables were occupied when we arrived at around 11:30 am. Some hiccups: food was served but we were not given forks and knives. we had to request for them. waiter did not know how to position knives, forks and spoons. we were overbilled but that was easily rectified by the cashier. dinuguan did not come with a serving spoon. very minor kinks that im sure will get ironed out in time :-) food servings were very generous. i think its a little bigger than the serving at one mango? by the way, many thanks for accommodating our baby furball Puffy. we were half afraid we were going to get turned away but the crew just asked us to go in :-) i hope the situation will remain that way. we and other dog lovers are always on the look-out for places where we will be welcomed with our babies.

    Jul 20, 2011 | 5:50 pm

  64. Marketman says:

    Ging, we don’t have a policy stated, so they were accomodating, but international standard is NOT to allow pets in restaurants in general… the typical exceptions are in some European countries. I believe in the U.S., you cannot take dogs into restaurants unless they are aiding people with disabilities… But thanks for the feedback on Escario… will bring this up with staff.

    Jul 20, 2011 | 6:41 pm

  65. Ging says:

    Aaaaw that’s just too bad. There are just too few places around where we can meet up with our friends (both humans and furry) :-( and our Puffy loves to go on paseos too, especially on those days when he has just had a hair spa treatment :-(

    Jul 20, 2011 | 8:02 pm

  66. Marketman says:

    Ging, there are outdoor tables at Mango, perhaps an acceptable compromise where humans can dine with furry companions nearby? :)

    Jul 20, 2011 | 10:36 pm

  67. britelite says:

    visited last tuesday at around 2 before going to the airport–staff nice and food okay and reasonable.bought chicharon and found lard in your airport outlet–
    for starters not bad all–congratulations!

    Jul 21, 2011 | 8:56 am

  68. Ging says:


    Jul 21, 2011 | 3:56 pm

  69. terrey says:

    we were there in Zubuchon (me, husband, 2 yo son who was all over the place, sis-in-law) for lunch last Friday, 15 July. you seemed so busy Mr. MM (having a business meeting i guess) so i didn’t bother to come up to you. the idea to ask for an autograph did cross my mind but decided against it in the end…am shy :-) anyway, love the food, love the ambience, like your staff, love the over-all feel and “dating” of your resto. congratulations! would love to be back again come another vacation in Dec. Cheers!

    Jul 21, 2011 | 4:07 pm

  70. terrey says:

    btw, when i flew back to bkk two nights ago, saw someone put a box of Zubuchon in the overhead bin…my sis-in-law even asked how did i come to know about this “soci” place ’cause it is the same lechon that her business associates in Manila asked about and she (sis-in-law) always sends them Zubuchon. way to go Zubuchon and crew and family! :-)

    Jul 21, 2011 | 4:16 pm

  71. CecileJ says:

    I finally got my wish!!!! An official trip to Cebu and badgering my Cebuano friend to take me to Zubuchon and I was ONE HAPPY CAMPER!!!! We had lechon, dinuguan, daing fried rice, jackfruit salad, kangkong with lechon and iba shake. Zubuchon replaced CNT as my poison of choice! Haha! The flesh was so flavorful and moist and the skin was just perfect! The fried rice was equally good as was the jackfruit salad.

    My Cebuano friend took home the leftovers and his Mom promptly told him that the family would eat there the next Sunday!

    I took home frozen lechon for my family and they LOVED it as well! But nothing beats eating fresh lechon so I guess that means a Cebu trip for the family!!!

    Jul 22, 2011 | 5:58 pm

  72. Marketman says:

    CecileJ, so glad you enjoyed it… how was the service? terrey, you should have said hello, lots of other readers seem to be doing so… :) Anyway, thanks for trying the restaurant and I am glad you enjoyed it. We are still so young that things do go wrong on occasion, but I hope we are learning from mistakes… britelite, thanks!

    Jul 23, 2011 | 9:25 am


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