Lechon Sisig Carbonara a la Marketman


It sounds wacky, but all I can say is “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it”… Obviously our freezers at home are likely to have a stock of lechon based products to enjoy and experiment with. This seemingly odd sounding spaghetti isn’t really so odd after all. For an “authentic” carbonara, you typically use guanciale (cured pig’s cheek) or the common substitute would be bacon of some sort (hopefully not the overly sweet kind). Our lechon sisig is made from the cheeks, ears and other bits of a roasted pig, so I thought, why not?


Into a heavy stainless steel pan I added several tablespoons of olive oil and about half a cup of chopped white onions and sauté for a minute or so. Next, add about 250grams of chopped lechon sisig. Let this cook over relatively high heat until most of the moisture evaporates and the bits of sisig start to brown and caramelize. Some of the sisig will stick to the bottom of the pan and brown, try to keep most of the pieces moving in the pan.


Meanwhile, into a boiling pot of water with lots of salt, add roughly 400-500 grams of spaghetti pasta. Timing is crucial here, and the pasta should finish when your sauce components are all ready to be mixed together. In another bowl (perhaps even your serving bowl already), break 3-4 eggs and whisk them with a fork along with say 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.


When the sisig is ready, add about 1/4 cup of dry white wine to the pan and scrape up the bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the cooked spaghetti to this pan with onions and sisig and keep the heat on really low for about 20 seconds more. Stir to mix. Add about a ladle full of pasta water to moisten it all up. Then 1-2 minutes later (do it too soon, and the eggs will scramble, do it much later and your eating obviously raw egg) add this mixture to the bowl with the eggs and mix well. The resulting “sauce” is creamy without the addition of cream or milk (as many, many restaurants are wont to do these days). Season with several grinds of black pepper and top with some more grated parmesan cheese. Consume within the next ten minutes. :)

I will not lie. It wasn’t your classic carbonara with that hit of distinctively cured meat taste. But this was a home run nonetheless.

P.S. I just did this again in the Cebu office to less than stellar results. So here are some further tips for success. You MUST use VERY GOOD parmesan cheese, freshly grated. Store-bought pre-grated cheese may make or break this dish as it did in Cebu. Your eggs must be from a good source, and if possible organic, with bright orange yolks and non-watery whites. Make sure your sisig is well-cooked, but not crispy and dry yet, and that you don’t use a substitute for the white wine. If you like a CLASSICALLY made carbonara, you will probably like this version as well.

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18 Responses

  1. MM, i showed this post to my son just now and he said, “i was fine with bacon. he just had to show us another way. aaarrrggghh!” ;-)

  2. I can taste this already. I think I’m blessed and at the same time cursed with visual and mental taste buds.

  3. Pre-grated parmesan is scary especially when heated up or cooked – it can smell like vomit!

  4. General, thanks for that, it’s so sad when anyone passes away. I didn’t meet Mr. Shand, perhaps you were thinking of Tom Parker-Bowles, his nephew and son of Camilla Parker-Bowles.

  5. Marketman, this is so out of topic but I am so excited because my husband and I are going to Cebu this May 9-11 to attend a wedding. I will finally get to taste the Zubuchon lechon and other dishes at your restaurant – so happy just thinking about it. There was no Zubuchon the last time we were in Cebu (circa 2009)….We will be staying at the Waterfront hotel and I was told there was a branch near that hotel. It’s the first thing we plan to do after we check into the hotel. My daughter who’s not joining us already asked me to bring home some lechon for her…..

  6. Another off topic comment MM:

    Your current survey is enough platform for a good comprehensive government program for a president or any politician running for office. In the poll, foremost in the respondents’ minds is the control of corruption with education running second. A few placed importance on environment. Only 69/763 voted for implementation of the RH bill and family planning.

    It is interesting to note that SE Asian countries that have successfully promoted and implemented population control ( Thailand, Malaysia,Vietnam, Indonesia) resulted in poverty reduction . See table 1 of the article below and compare the GNI ( gross national income) , poverty incidence and total fertility rate of the countries mentioned with that of the Philippines:


    “The experience from across Asia indicates that population policy cum government-funded FP program has been a critical complement to sound economic policy and poverty reduction.”

    It goes without saying that population control will help in addressing all the other issues mentioned in your poll.

    “Moreover, the weaker the state’s ability to tax and mobilize resources (including spending on the right priorities) is, the greater the negative impact on economic development of a rapidly growing population, which in every developing country is largely accounted for by the least educated and poorest segments of the population.”


  7. ConnieC, I was planning on writing a post based on the results once they get close to 1000 responses, where I think they well represent the community that visits Marketmanila, though that would be a skewed representation of the total Philippine population. But in short, I completely agree with you. But more on that later.

    mylene, if you are staying at the Waterfront downtown (not at the airport), then you are near the Zubuchon branch at The Walk in IT Park, across the street from you. Fresh lechons tend to arrive at 11am and 6pm daily so it’s best to dine soon after that. Our biggest branch is the Escario Central branch, in case you would rather dine there. And a final tip, lechon is cheaper at our city outlets vs. the airport kiosk (we pay astronomical rent and fees there, the highest in any Philippine rental situation I think) so get your pasalubong at the branch, or pre-purchase it for pick-up at the airport to save over 10% on your purchase…

  8. Would be nice to have this is available on your resto Marketman. I have yet to eat a delicious no cream carbonara, even at Italy(!). And those cream based fake carbonara sold at restaurants are just sad, not even sure if they put eggs on them. Parmesan cheese though is quite expensive.

  9. Zerho, lots of places in Rome would do a classic, non-cream, carbonara (though I have to say we once had a scrambled egg version that was horrible)… Margarita Fores’ place Pepato also used to do a brilliant version, made in a bowl of carved out Parmiggiano Reggiano if I recall correctly. It’s also wickedly easy to do at home, so I encourage you and others to take a crack at it and here’s an 8 year old post/recipe to help you do it… :)

  10. Thanks for the tips re: Zubuchon. I already got the contact nos. of your IT Branch so that I can call before going on May 9.

  11. I assume the acidity cuts down on the richness of the lechon fat and the silkiness of the eggs. Intriguing…

  12. Risa, yes, acidity cuts fat, but acidity seems to burn off somewhat… for me, its the flavor and the added moisture that the dish needs.

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