An Office Lunch…

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I wanted to have a summer lunch for the office crew and about 10-12 construction workers who were finishing off a renovation project in Cebu. So I purchased a little pig and we set about preparations to roast it in our new lechonan, or is it a litsonan? Instead of a bright sunny day, the clouds heaved buckets of water down on us and it was quite wet. But with litson na baboy over the coals, appetites were building, particularly because it took an hour longer to cook the pig than we thought… So here was the simple but delicious menu for 20 or so…

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A huge pot of kinilaw na caraballos with lukot (ceviche of fish and sea hare secretions), made with superb native vinegar sent to Marketman from Toledo, in Western Cebu.

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Grilled fish on bamboo skewers. These were grilled until bone dry, the crew like it this way…

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And two heaping bowls of dinuguan made from the pig’s innards, blood and more native vinegar. We also had tons of boiled rice, a dessert and drinks. Oh, and the total cost, not counting the labor hours used? Approximately equivalent to two Big Macs per person. Not bad, huh? And there was enough for a huge pot of litson paksiw the next day…

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33 Responses

  1. And that is how it is done. Hardly gets any better than this. Congratulations on the fine accomplishment. I wish all research projects were this enjoyable to you and to those who toiled and labored to achieve the result.

  2. Been reading the Lechon Chronicles (backlog of entries to read since there’s a lot of work to do these days) and I am simply AMAZED at the passion you have for our lechon.

    SKL that I used to eat lechon with: bagoong isda, suka and crushed chillies. I still do actually, if we’re talking about the Tagalog/Luzon lechons. But I’ve been having Cebu (the kind one puts on a plane, hehe) or Cebu-style lechon more often these days so no dips necessary. We had lechon two nights ago and man, oh, man it was good! The office ordered it from somewhere in Alabang, I believe.

    MM, I noticed salads interspersed with your lechon posts… parang may pattern of “fat-low-fat/healhty-fat-low fat/healthy -fat…” hehe…

    Looking at your lechon, my first thought was: “Wow, kulang na lang puso (rice cooked in a “ball” weaved from coconut leaves), suka at sili”. Oh, and a couple of bottles of ice-cold beer!

    Good luck on your quest for lechon perfection! I do hope the book comes out. I already have ten people in mind who will want to grab it and have you sign it. I’ll be the eleventh. *lol*

  3. Don’t forget the lechon sauce. I’m waiting to see what your recipe will be like.

  4. Gilda, for Cebuanos and many Visayans, they don’t use lechon sauce. The lechon is quite strongly flavored so a lechon sauce is superfluous in their view. Thus only vinegar, patis, sili or a kalamansi are necessary as an accompaniment. But I have to admit, I like the sauce tagalog style too. I have to get the pig right first, then the sauce… kasseopeia, yes puso would be perfect! As for the book, I am a bit of a chicken. Over 24,000 cookbooks were published last year in the U.S. or is it the world, and only 100-200 are worth buying to keep on one’s library shelves… so you can see the failure rate… I am a numbers person after all. Roberto – and I have several more lechons to go during the rest of the year! :)

  5. I love this kind of eating. Lechon, salad and fish, it doesn’t get any better than this.My palate does not get confuse, I appreciate the simplicity and the goodness of each
    food.
    Thank you MM

  6. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the lechon chronicles will bring us. I do hope you achieve lechon perfection by Xmas, MM! :)

  7. Big Macs are over rated, but they serve a useful guide to values, particularly for those fans of your column who reside overseas – 2 Big Macs is instantly understood in most societies.
    Such a wonderful life! At moments like when reading your writings I wonder why I ever left the Philippines!

  8. quiapo, just keep repeating in a low drone… traffic, petty and not so petty corruption, expensive fuel, electricity, water if you can get it, low wages, low productivity, declining quality of education, etc., etc., Sorry, don’t mean to be a downer, just a realist. There are some real advantages to being wherever you are, I am sure… :)

  9. Yes you are right. No bars at my windows, plenty of parking, no traffic jams, superb available medical facilities at low cost, wonderful unpolluted food ingredients . . .but no lechon, no danggit,. .ah well, we cant have everything, I’ll just have to go home more often.

  10. Pwede ring, i-deep fry yung remaining lechon pieces then slather them with dinuguan sauce for your own version of kanin club’s “crispy dinuguan.” Perfect with bahaw.

  11. Good thing we ate sisig at gerry’s grill with crunchy chicharon on top at lunch. It’s not lechon but it’s pork and fat together. Good enough.

    Looking at the picture all I can think of is this:

    Too much lechon.. must eat one now… must stop the craving…

    Need to get my fix sooner.

  12. In Leyte, the perfect lechon dip is native vinegar with crushed garlic, siling labuyo and a pinch of salt. This mixture somehow is a good counterpoint to the fat. As we say in Cebuano, “Lami kaayo!”

  13. A couple of posts have emntioned hanging the pig for several hours before cooking apparently to dry it. I wonder if instead this is to offset the effects of rigor mortis?
    The freezer pig held for a month in the chapter 3 posting would have undergone some enzyme processing which would result in more tenderness.

  14. I love dinuguan! My top 1 pinoy food ever. Spicy with a kaldero of rice, of course. MM, what version of dinuguan was this? I love all that i’ve tried: traditional vinegar, with young sampaloc fronds, with ginger, with gata and ginger.

  15. lechon is my favorite… my friends always tease me that i eat the crispy skin like a potato cracker… i am just casually cracking it…..

    i can finish a lot…. plus i prefer the Visayan version of Suka plus sili….

  16. MM, quiapo mentioned rigor mortis. I think it’s worth investigating how rigor mortis affects the quality of the lechon. I don’t know the timeframe of when it sets in and when it subsides but I read somewhere that meat cooked while in a state of rigor mortis will be poorer in quality- this is one case of fresh not always being better. Will ageing be beneficial similar to what it does for beef?

    quiapo, the drying is really to dry the skin to make it more crisp. But whether there are enzymatic reactions occurring during drying I do not know… it would be interesting to find out.

  17. Oh that pic of the fish on a stick. I used to eat the eyes first.
    I had been wanting to do a Lechon in the back yard for a while, but never enough people around for such an occasion.
    Waht an excellent project.

  18. Oh Marketman,

    What you just served to your crew is so delicious. Oh stop it. I almost had an orgasm as I read through your blog. I think you, sir is the devil in disguise. You bring so much happines to my tummy. After all “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.

  19. What a perfect lunch indeed! Wish I was there to enjoy with you guys! The boys looks so anxious to start ripping off the lechon’s skin!

  20. mm, you make me hungry all the time! crunchy lechon skin dipped with the pampanga sauce or the achara… yummy! whenever i crave for lechon, i just bake a pork shoulder or the pork belly part. it still comes out good but not as good as the real thing…..

  21. I’ll trade 10 Big Macs plus a side of large fries for this lunch in a heart beat!

  22. mm, the lechon looks so crispy. You`re lucky to have a crispy lechon even though it was raining. How did you do it? It really looks so yummmmmmmmy!

  23. My husband (who is also a Bisdak)Bisayang dako has been attempting to cook the perfect lechon here in Canberra in our backyard.We bought the motor from Ebay(walay tig tuyok hehehhehe) and the big drums for the charcoals,he got his friends to make.
    I think we have perfected the process 3 lechons ago.Our Tagalog friends loved the way the lechon is flavoured inside and yes we have succeded in having a yummy crunchy skin even in the cold Canberra weather.

  24. You may find this website – spitjack.com – interesting for more tips for your lechon chronicles. They were featured in an article about roasting whole pig in the June 08 Food & Wine issue. I’ve been following your lechon making and loving it! Just want to share this info with you. Thanks for all the food ideas & features!

  25. MM, may I ask how the Visayans make their lechon? I have a theory that they brine it to make it so seasoned and juicy. I can’t imagine though a large vat where the pig would be brined in. Is it injected then?

  26. No Candygirl,we marinate the inside of the pig the night before it is to be cooked.Just before cooking,pour hot water inside the belly.It makes the whole marinate go through all the meat as it is being turned in the spit.

  27. i like your reply to quiapo! and yes, you are a realist,definitely not a downer! it consoles me, being also away from home. you don’t only have a good palate but a good heart as well

  28. Wow…. I like all the servings including the dinugoan… (tho im not allowed to eat one, since im an INC)

    lol… still I like the cowboy styled lunch

  29. That lechon really kills me! I may tasted and eat all types of food in the world but this lechon is far superior to anyone. Unfortunately i deprived myself on eating it thought i liked it very much! can i blame myself of marrying an arab muslim lady?? thats the barrier, im crying everytime i went home and just looking on my family and friends munching on that slabs of meat, it kills me…..

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