How much for a KILO of lechon skin??

Is he for real? Honestly, that was my first reaction when one of our supervisors came up to me, indicating that a dine-in customer had just asked if he could buy a kilo of lechon skin, just the skin. The staff were understandably flummoxed, unable to provide a suitable answer, this definitely wasn’t covered in their training with “Sir”… :) I glanced at the table in question and four very serious looking middle-aged diners were munching on the skin of the lechon platter that had just been placed in front of them. On the positive side, I thought it was a brilliant compliment, but actually, they apparently weren’t joking… So they repeatedly asked the waitstaff and supervisors if they could, indeed, buy just the skin, and how much did we want for it… At the time, I reflexively said no, as that would deny other clients who showed up for dinner the pleasure of a balanced plate of lechon meat and skin, and all manner of brouhaha would probably ensue…

But now that I have had a chance to think it over, this will be our response to anyone who poses such a brazen question agoin. “Sir, a kilo of just lechon skin? That will be PHP8,888 but will require an advance order of one day. And if you would like our “IDCWYT” special, which includes a kilo of skin and a bottle of chilled Veuve Clicquot, that will run you PHP12,999, 6 lipitor tablets included, on the house. “IDCWYT” stands for “I don’t care what you think”… :) After all, we try to make our customers happy, really happy. :)

The reason the cost is so high is that it renders the lechon meat difficult to sell, and it would have to be recycled into other uses. It would be like ordering a large lechon and just eating the skin. Think of ordering say 8 Peking ducks and only eating the skin, that would cost you a pretty penny as well, and it probably wouldn’t even reach a kilo in weight. I would hate to think how many calories would be contained in a kilo of lechon skin, but I would definitely believe it would be the likely cause of heart failure if consumed by just 3-4 people. Hmmm, a release form signed by clients might be necessary if they go through with this order…

But too much of a thing, even a good thing, is simply too much. After the first few square inches of puffed, glistening, golden lechon skin, your happy hormones will have reached their peak, and additional bites will no longer be truly appreciated. So I encourage moderation… a bit of skin and meat, a bit of squid stuffed with sisig, a spoon full of lapu-lapu daing fried rice… But if you want the truly smart answer, here it is. Instead of drawing envious and dagger like stares from neighboring diners at one of the restaurants, book our private garden dining space instead. Order Marketman’s Feast and along with 20 guests or so, request that the waiters “skin” the lechon and savor just the skin (probably a half kilo worth of it) as the ultimate appetizer, along with some bubbly that you bring along, or ask us to provide. Then go on with the rest of the meal. That is being both smart and extravagant. :)

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64 Responses

  1. Can we start a rumor that you’ve started raising mutant pigs that have three times as much skin? :)

    Y’know, like that rumor about KFC raising mutant chickens that have six legs. Haha.

  2. Too funny.Eating just the skin of one whole lechon in one sitting is a cardiologists nightmare…but then again, unlike most lechons I have tasted, the Zubuchon skin and meat, tastes excellent, so I guess they will be happy with the skin and meat.

  3. i know you were saying it in jest [?] but now i’m curious: would veuve cliquot congrue with lechon? what grape varietals [or combo] would it be best paired? [rioja?, malbec?, cab?…]

  4. The stuffed squid looks really good! Off topic….I just begged a friend flying in from Cebu to please, please buy me the frozen lechon at the airport. She’s flying in tomorrow. I can’t wait!

  5. What a way to go :) It’s kind of like ordering Peking Duck, but just one way. The private meal would be better value for money, considering the price of 8,888 for 1 kg of skin.

    Would a Veuve Cliquot be able to stand up to the skin? If you’re after the sparkle, there’s a sparkling shiraz that might be more appropriate. That’s decadent, in a good way :)

  6. I will quote one of my most favourite lines from Fawlty Towers— “One satisfied costumer, we should have him stuffed!”

  7. Wouldn’t it be nice if the pig skin they use to create chicharon can also be used to make lechon skin? I wonder if you were to bake in an oven pig skin with the same herbs and basting sauce you use for lechon, would you end up with lechon skin?

  8. ami, I have tried… see this post from a couple of years ago where I tried to make just lechon skin or crackling in an oven… Irene, you may be interested in reading this post on lechon and verdicchio, a truly inspired pairing. But yes, I think the Veuve would stand up to the richness of the lechon skin… :)

  9. A kilo of pork skin would be mighty expensive when you think of the its consequences in cardiovascular disease and the necessary interventions later, if…… you are even lucky enough to have it diagnosed before it kills you .

    Take heed of MM’s advice on moderation, and, caveat emptor of the consumers’ own doing!

  10. The guys asks for a kilo of lechon skin and MM sells him the Marketman’s Feast.

    MarketMan you da Marketing Man! Ha ha!

  11. Exactly what I was thinking Ami, just maybe MM can invent something =) with local or imported source of pork skin.

  12. Ami and didi, the reason it is extremely hard to replicate lechon skin on its own is that the original is slowly rotated above charcoal flames, constantly being basted by fat and herbs and spices. A stationary piece of skin just doesn’t seem to get the same light, crisp, flavorful characteristics… or at least a reasonable replacement for good old fashioned lechon skin… :)

  13. Maybe they’re having a collective midlife crisis and this is their idea of living on the edge.

    Seriously, tho, my dad suffered a debilitating stroke after feasting on humba. So I appreciate MM’s caveat to customers. Really, Lipitor is not like Darna’s bato. It does not make anyone invincible.

  14. When i first started selling meals at a fixed price, a customer came up then asked – how much for the rice alone ? Nxt question- how bout the chicken bbq alone ? how the pork bbq ? Flummoxed is the word. Very appropriate. You will in all likelihood get these curve balls for several wks – maybe months. But you’ve good a good learning curve – better than most may I add in all humility to ur readers. After that, sustaining novelty can be very cruel to the uninitiated. God speed MM

  15. Oh but you eat Zubuchon (and other lechon Cebu) not just for the skin but for the juicy, tender, flavorful meat as well! You have to do all the steps; biting the crispy, slightly salty skin flavored by the little fat that’s stuck to it, chew on the succulent meat, work towards the very flavorful ribs, get another crunch from the cartilage, pause to lick the salt off your lips, continue by nibbling on the ribs, savoring the salt, roasted garlic and rosemary (and all the flavors in it), end by biting the rib bone to suck the juice. Yummmm!!!

    breathe… then repeat. :)

  16. MM – Oh yeah, how can I forget about the pig skin experiment you had some time ago. Maybe we can learn something from the spanish and their cochinillo asado on how to get that marvelous skin using an oven.

  17. what if you create a faux-pig body made of wood or metal, wrap the skin around it like a jacket and start “lechoning” it?

  18. They might as well buy one whole lechon so they can have all the skin they want plus the meat for pritchon or pinaksiw. Truly, it would be hard to sell lechon without a decent amount of skin. I remember my mom having a mini-meltdown because her lechon order had too little crispy skin. I probably would have a mini-tanty myself haha!

  19. In Australia, one can buy porchetta which is boneless pork stuffed with garlic and herbs and rolled up with skin on the outside. It retails for about $40 a kilo. I believe it originates from the Abruzzi area. I am sure it would go well cooked in our lechon style.

  20. Hi MM, how about stretching the skin of the pig, a la peking duck? You’d get more mileage, or in this case, more ‘per square inch’ of skin stretched.

    Better yet, fatten dem pigs up big time (obese level) then put them on a quick fast drastic diet, leaving plenty of loose skin hanging, then cook it a la Peking duck style, i.e., blow up the pig for stretched skin…

    I need to go get a job…been watching too much of these shows…

  21. You need a Shar Pei Pig.

    Nayannika: Rather than “Killing Me Softly”, it would be “Killing me Crispy.”

  22. Yes, lechon skin only should include a verbal warning and a signed waiver. Not only cardiovascular disease! My lola was feasting on lechon skin during Noche Buena and a few hours later she was writhing in pain. Her gall bladder exploded as we would find out at the emergency room. No ofense to my lola, but she was a bit greedy hogging all that skin. Sugeon did say her gall bladder would have erupted soon enough, but all that lechon skin was the catalyst. Anyway, lola recovered, but her hospital bill was astronomical!

  23. I did also spend numerous hours and time to replicate a lechon skin by using just a skin. I never had the luck so far but so far the best closer to a. Zubuchon like skin is the pork crackling recipe from Ferguson henderson.

  24. hi there mr mm,

    i’ve read about the marketman’s feast together with the magellan’s feast in your previous article. what dishes are included in each type of feast?

  25. Junb,
    I too have tried and failed in trying to create a crispy lechon macau type skin from just pig skin alone. I think the genius of a Nathan Mhyrvold or a Heston Blumenthal is needed in what is the holy grail of the porcine world.

  26. If I were on death row (likely for bashing someone’s head with a fishpan), a kilo of Zubuchon skin would be my last meal!

  27. You guys are so hilarious…tee-hee. These pictures do get the salivary glands on hyperdrive! Yum!!!!

  28. MM – is the last picture your typical plating for a combination order? just asking kasi if it is, then my next question is do you sell these items (stuffed pusit, fried rice) a la carte? looking at this picture, i know i will be needing more of the stuffed squid and possibly the fried rice to satisfy my gigantuan cravings (since reading your posts). we definitely are coming in january for the sinulog festival and i can’t wait to go and have a feast at your place. i wish it’s bukas na nga eh…… would appreciate your response para naman we know what to expect. more power to you and your staff!!

  29. Too funny hahah. And I agree, too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

    MM, I just had a wild idea, I’m just not sure if it can be applied in “real life”. How about wrapping pork skin over a slab of pork fat -a big one, from the pig’s back? Then slowly roasting over charcoals like the regular sized lechons. The skin should be “accupuntured” (??? MM, I can’t remember the term you used heheh) just like the zubuchon. And don’t forget the herbs and spices you used on the zubuchon. Maybe putting the herbs and spices between the skin and the fat before tying it up with wire instead of twine. What do you think?

  30. GayeN, it’s hard to find a large piece of pork skin, even imported, as they tend to cut them up or use them to begin with… But I do have one idea I will try in the months ahead… more on that when I finish with the experiments… bettyq, did you see the meal we did at Per Se many years ago? All small portions of some 15+ items… superb. Not “bitin” at all. :) But I too like the large helpings of dishes with rice… netoy, the last photo was set up just for this photo… we serve everything family style, each serving for 2-3 people. The pusit for example comes on a hot plate with two medium sized pieces… the lechon comes in half or whole kilo platters… the rice comes in platters good for 3 people… sur, thanks for that suggestion, have to look it up. Irene, yes, it might work as well… PJ, they are the classic dishes I have mentioned for the restaurant… but as the feasts get more expensive, they include things like a whole tanguigue for kinilaw, cut as guests are about to eat the kinilaw… More details can be emailed to you by the Zubuchon folks in Cebu if you like… Risa, sharpei pig, hahaha! Dragon, I actually have tried “stretching” the skin… quiapo, I have done porchettas and written about them a few times. We actually offer a porchetta at the Mango restaurant on weekends… lee, hahaha, I love the visual, would have trouble finding the whole skin…

  31. MarketMan – The lechon skin picture is so making me want some! Did you change cameras again? a Canon 600D?

  32. We need pigs that grow more skin than meat. Like some types of dog breeds. Where are those jurassic park geneticists when you need them eh?

  33. Can pork skin be “lechonized” (sorry, I don’t know the term) without the pork fat and meat? That’s basically chicharon, right?
    My dad used to work in a meat factory where the pork skin is thrown away or sold to employees and he brings them home and we boil them, season them, then pop them in the oven. It’s not the same crispiness as lechon, not even close. Also, eating just the skin is not challenging enough to eat and you won’t appreciate the goodness of the skin. That’s just too much heaven.That would be like eating oysters or shrimps that’s already been de-shelled, crabmeat or boneless bangus or hulled butong pakwan. Something is missing. It’s like taking them out of their natural habitat. Lastly, is pork skin really that ma-cholesterol? I always thought the gelatinous, sebo grease is collagen not cholesterol, or I’m just in denial. Ok, Denial.

  34. too bad the skin is so fattening. That’s like the best part of the pig….the lechon!!! mmmm….!!!

  35. MM – thanks for the info.. now, i am more excited!! will definitely pig out when we go to zubuchon in january! really can’t wait!! i’m starting to drool now……. (-:

  36. Why not a lechon sandwich ? Dipped in gravy. A wet sandwich really. You will only need a few ingredients but the prep work alone is the killer. Just a thought

  37. Just got back from a weekend in Cebu. Wife would have had zubuchon for brekky, if I’d let her out of the hotel that early. As it stands, would have done us both better – Figaro pan de sal is not to be wished on my enemies, even.

    Two hours later, back to Zubuchon, for our second meal, to slake the Wife’s lechon pangs. Again, enough food for any three people, but even the Wife says “basta” when she tries to finish 1/2 kilo of zubuchon by herself :D

    Two trips through, and two adults order enough food to get free sisig. Both trips :D

    You’ve got wonderful staff there, some of the best service I’ve ever had in the Philippines or elsewhere.

    I vote for Arranciata or San Miguel Negra – fit for a working man’s feast.

    Matthew Z

  38. Yehey! the long wait will soon be over—-will be visiting Cebu 1st week of Oct.ZUBU chon!ZUBU chon! ZUBUchon!ZUBUchon!

  39. Mr Z, thank you for that feedback… it’s always good to hear from folks who have dined in the restaurant, and I am so happy you found the service to be to your liking… we are slowly but surely ironing out kinks and hopefully we shall provide more consistent food and service in the future… :)

  40. We love dining at your restaurant, especially the Mango branch. I think the Escario branch is too small with not a lot of selection, Anyway, a kilo of lechon skin might give those people a heart attack but at least they would die happy haha :) btw our best order aside from the the zubuchon was the crispy pata, stuffed squid with lechon sisig and the iba and pineapple mint shake! Can’t wait to come back for more :)

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