You just have to smile a little. Above is an advertisement we are running in major Cebu City newspapers soon. A bit tongue-in-cheek, a bit of irreverent fun.

ZUBUCHON is celebrating its sixth month of operations, and to mark this milestone, we are introducing ZUBUCHON LIGHT! A smaller, cuter, leaner and less fattening take on its chunkier, jolly cousin, ZUBUCHON. For the month of June, the introductory price for this roasted piglet is just PHP2,888, probably one of the LOWEST PRICES amongst similar sized lechons in Cebu. The offer allows folks who have been hesitant to order our larger lechons to taste our Zubuchon practically at cost, if not below cost. We only use the finest ingredients, including fresh and dried aromatics, herbs and spices (organic wherever possible), sea salt and olive oil. Absolutely no added MSG. And each lechon is accupunctured, and hand-turned on a bamboo pole by a lechonero, not a mechanized rotisserie. It is an excellent value at PHP2,888.00! And our way of saying a HUGE THANK YOU to the many folks in Cebu, and those who have visited Cebu, who have tried our products over the past six months. Daghang salamat sa inyong tanan!


Most consumers in Cebu seem to buy lechons with a PHP3,200 or less price tag. I am not sure if that preference is truly because they intentionally desire a very small piglet (with less fat and meat as well), or simply because the economics of the times dictates a lower price point, period. However, the “frugal” amongst you should really check out this analysis — if you order a typical commercial lechon in Cebu for say PHP3,000, it is roughly 4-5 kilos in total cooked weight, then if you remove the head, feet and stuffing, the likely amount of net edible meat/bones is roughly 3-3.5 kilos or a whopping PHP850-1,000 per kilo of lechon meat/bones. THAT is PRICEY. Zubuchon’s most recommended size of whole lechon at PHP5,500 is roughly 16-18 kilos lechon cooked weight, or say 13-14 kilos net of head and feet, and that works out to roughly PHP400 per kilo. We believe this larger size also has the best balance of some fat for added flavor and beautiful basting, along with a reasonable amount of meat for consumption. So remember, a cheaper overall price does NOT necessarily mean you get a better value.


Finally, some thoughts on that INFURIATING INDUSTRY PRACTICE of blithely stating a particular lechon is “good for 30 persons” or some other vague assertion. It’s very easy to see just how reasonable purveyors are being. The average healthy serving for a guest at a buffet with other food on offer is probably between 150 -200 grams cooked weight of lechon meat and skin, though some can eat far more. So if we use an easy benchmark of say 5 servings per kilo of lechon meat/bones, then a lechon with a net weight (no head, feet or stuffing) of say 13 kilos should, in theory serve 65 people. However, from my experience, with lechon enthusiasts amongst one’s guest list, it might be safer to assume say 250-300 grams per person. When you purchase lechons, ALWAYS ask for the estimated cooked weight (and make sure you WEIGH it when it arrives), then remove 2+ kilos for the head and feet for a larger lechon, then divide that number by your portion size. Don’t believe what anyone asserts is “good for 30 persons”..


P.S. We do NOT ship these smaller lechons to Manila as their crispy skin has a tendency to get soft sooner, and the transportation to the airport and freight costs would make these even pricier per kilo. Therefore, this offer is only good in Cebu City. Thanks. :)

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49 Responses

  1. How so à propos. I was just reading an article in the NYT about a food fair held in a Brooklyn church basement attended by beginner cooks aspiring to break into food retailing. Here is the most telling view:

    “If we first build a following at the markets and online, then we can get the money to open a storefront that much more easily.” Commitment to marketing, packaging and general hustling are as important — or more so — as kitchen skills. Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, Tumblr and Blogspot are important for spreading the word;

  2. from those photos, i can already tell that the skin is ultra crispy!! happy anniversary to the little red pig!! i get it: the price is light and right!!

  3. Congratulations MM & Crew!!!

    This is definitely going to be a winner amongst the Cebuano’s who have regular Sunday family lunch gatherings. I’m assuming the net weight (minus head and feet) for the Zubuchon Light is about 4 kilos (am I correct?) and that should feed about 20 people, which is the typical Sunday family size gathering. Then the head and feet can still be made to paksiw and sinigang….LAMI-A!!!!

    As to anniversary month, we started the Sunday Market at BTC on September 4 last year, and Zubuchon was their from the beginning. So technically, you’re celebrating 9 months of making thousands of people happy!! ;->

    Maybe you should come up with count of how many Zubuchons have been served on your annual anniversary ala mickey d’s…..hehehehehe

    Congrats MM & Crew!!!

  4. Artisan, I think net weight is about 3.0-3.5 kilos if I am not mistaken. So for these, for family and friends, I would think 12-15 guests is a better guide. That gives everyone more skin as well. Also, the six months is just since Zubuchon went official… of course the crew had already had a few months trial by fire at the Sunday market! :) This was the lechon size we have been testing recently to make sure it passed muster and was good to introduce to the public.

  5. Still a good size considering some of the family guest are kids. Hmmmm, will have to check what the family is planning this weekend….hehehehe.

    Also like the Zubuchon T-shirts the crew is selling at BTC ;>)

  6. Gimingaw uruy ko ug inasal….that used to be the centerpiece of our family Sunday lunches :( Congrats on the success of your porky masterpiece MM and crew!

  7. Good idea MM and crew! Whenever i’m in Cebu, my dad would buy 4 kilos of lechon for sunday lunch. Zubochon light is perfect for sunday lunch centerpiece.

  8. Congrats on the success of Zubuchon. Cannot wait till I get back to Manila on June 19 to order one again.

  9. Normally younger animals attract a significant premium over older varieties of meat, so this is a fantastic offer. Many would be willing to pay much more for a young lechon.

  10. Hi MM,
    I’m dedicating my birthday to you because today I am going to try the crispy belly flavours that you posted and i’ve been waiting for this day to come….. Yummmm, Yummmm, Yummmm!!!!

  11. Hi MM, your Zubuchon ad looks great and very straightforward. I’ll make a mental note, or even write it down, to try Zubuchon in my next visit to Cebu. :)

  12. wow..parang Coke light…lets fly to cebu as there are several cheap flights offerred by pal, cebu pacific and air phil. congrats to you and your crew!

  13. Bubut, exactly. I just booked a roundtrip airfare to Cebu under PAL’s promo the other day for just PHP 1240 roundtrip! For that price, you could almost go to Cebu for a lechon lunch. :) chloe, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope the liempo comes out well! Thanks all for such encouraging and kind remarks!

  14. Hehehe since I’m on diet and need to lower down cholesterol, Zubuchon light is definitely suited for me ;)

  15. Manila Branch!!! Kahit week-end lang at Salcedo or similar venues … :-)

    Happy 6 Months Zubuchon!

  16. MM,

    what is the usual weight, before cooking, for a lechon weighing 5 kilos with head and legs on?

    i’ve always been curious as to how much shrinkage happens during the loooooong cooking process.

  17. Here in Manila, the cost of “native” piglets is P360 to 380 per kilo dressed weight (approximately 5 kg.), while the hybrid piglets cost only P250 or so per kg. Problem is that hybrids don’t make good cochinillos. Just wondering why Cebu’s lechons seem so much cheaper?

  18. Zubuchon light with a bottle of coke zero is a dieter’s dream =) I tried your sisig with hoisin and cucumber in cua pao bun. It was great! I have a slight aversion to eating small chopped up bits of unrecognizable protein so when eating sisig in restaurants I always wonder what’s in it. But with yours I’m sure only good things went in it. And you can taste the lechon’s caramelized skin and the herbs. good stuff! Thanks so much again.

  19. chrisb, I have the same aversion, must hark back to the times when my parents used to say there was neighborhood cat or worse in non-vetted siopao. So yes, the zubuchon sisig is all the “good parts” of the head and other external parts like leg meat, etc. The sisig does NOT have any fillers, and actually costs quite a bit to make in terms of lechon used. :)

    Gerry, I don’t know how Cebuano lechoneros do it, I swear there is little or NO margin on retail lechons if done right. The same lechon that we sell in Cebu for PHP450 a kilo at the mall could easily command PHP700+ a kilo in Manila considering that MSG laden, mechanically turned lechons are already retailing for PHP600-700 in Manila malls. The pigs are not MUCH cheaper in Cebu, so a lot of it has to do with the skinniest of margins, read my answer to wahini, below for more…

    Wahini, the weight loss is huge. A typical 40 kilo pig, will be delivered as a 21-23 kilo whole lechon, including stuffing. Of this only 16-18 kilos is saleable chopped lechon meat, the rest are bones/head/stuffing/etc. So ultimately, only about 40% of the live weight is sold as chopped cooked lechon. Assuming you are paying an average PHP140 or so for live weight pork (it costs more when the pigs are smaller rather than the massive ones used for grocery porkchops, etc.), then the raw meat cost alone for 1 kilo of lechon is already PHP350. Add to that maintenance of the piggies (fruit diet, feed, twice daily bathing, custodial services for the pig pens, then the organic or natural herbs, spices, etc. olive oil, then packaging, staff, retail rental space) and you can see how good lechon at PHP450-500 per kilo is a darned bargain! :)

    Small lechons or true lechon de leches can run as much as PHP220 kilo live weight, while the massive commercial piggery pigs can drop to as little as PHP110 a kilo live weight…

  20. Oh my Gulay! I’m so craving for lechon right now. I am salivating as i type this :)


    How many does one lechon feed? Any plans for the manila branch?

    How about a lechon eb here in manila?


  21. How many does a lechon feed? I remember a journalist called “Del Fierro” who was able to finish one lechon de leche by himself at one sitting.

  22. congratulations! one of those reasons i wish i am home in cebu right at this time. so envious of my ka-bisdak.

  23. ended up having zubuchon for lunch because of this post (eating kinamot style of course). :DDD thanks for the breakdown MM.

  24. Hey Marketman,

    Dude you’re making me wish I could fly to Cebu as soon as I saw the pix, then even had a chance reading the whole article. Droooooooooolllllll naka-ka TL. One thing I notice though, Why is it that each time you do an article on “Lechon”, folks like me comes out of the woods and just can’t help ourselves and comment? Perhaps it’s that magical animal.

  25. i was just thinking MM, it would be funny if you put a balloon (stylized like your little pig) at the end of its tail — that would be Zubuchon Light !!

  26. MM, why don’t you just bring one of your lechoneros in Manila and cook the lechon there so that more people will taste it fresh from the lechonan.

  27. Divine G, it’s not so easy… We get only backyard raised pigs, then feed them for the last few days weeks only the good stuff. We slaughter them ourselves in an approved slaughter facility, under stricter hygiene standards than most, we need a place to roast them and a source of all the materials, plus personnel. It isn’t as simple as just bringing someone over. For some things, it’s best they first remain where they were conceived until its time to make a move. It makes it more special that it isn’t available everywhere… :) Didi, the crew does take orders on larger lechons for check in or airfreight to manila and elsewhere…

  28. I finally got a tast of zubuchon…only the frozen version though,since we had a friend pick it up at the airport..and i can now attest to it being the best lechon,ever…i can only imagine how it would taste if we were able to eat it crisp and just off the lechonan…

  29. no stall in manila? I’d love to sample that pig one of these days, even in the Makati Sunday markets.

    Where can I buy those frozen cuts for sisig? Also in Cebu? I hope not.

  30. Hi MM,

    Would you still advise to purchase zubuchon light and have it handcarried from cebu back to manila? I wanted to surprise my mom for her birthday and I would have wanted to buy a whole one rather than the boxed chopped set. Is it true that the quality suffers as you bring it back to Manila due to the travel time? Thanks.

  31. timtam, yes, the skin will suffer if checked in as baggage to Manila. We don’t use any preservatives or “tricks” to result in a long-lasting crisp skin. It can be reheated, but ideally it is enjoyed pretty fresh…

  32. a friend came back from a short vacation in Cebu and brought some zubuchon! counting the minutes til lunchtime! =)

  33. Will the zubu(light) still be available in July? what’s the regular price =)

  34. akcebu, I think the regular price is PHP3,200, but please contact Zubuchon at the numbers above for certainty… thanks.

  35. Hi! How many days does it take for the airfreight? I will be going to Bohol before flying back to Manila. Can it be flown or ferried to Panglao,Bohol?

  36. Airfreight orders need to be made a day or two in advance. It takes the flight to Manila is only an hour, so it “takes” just a couple of hours before you retrieve/claim the lechon from the airport. Sorry, we can’t send it to Panglao… only originates from Cebu airport for freight…

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