I’m one of those weirdos who don’t like lechon (suckling pig). Whenever there’s lechon at a party I just take a piece or two of lechon skin and pray that it’s crispy otherwise I won’t even eat that. I don’t bother taking the meat unless it’s transformed into paksiw na lechon. I just find the meat bland and boring.
Last year when I went to Cebu I asked my readers on Facebook where they suggest I eat in Cebu. Most of the replies were lechon stores since that’s the most popular delicacy in Cebu. Naturally I didn’t go to any since I don’t like lechon.
Last May when Molly, one of my favorite readers, found out I was in Cebu she wrote to me and suggested I try boneless lechon belly. She and her good friend Jing hooked me up with Niko Gochan-Hernaez of Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly. To be honest I went because I was so touched by their efforts and wasn’t expecting anything.
My friend Vivian, another non-lechon eater, and I went to the Parkmall branch. They didn’t have an actual restaurant but a stall with outdoor seating.
Here’s Niko the nephew of the owner and inventor of the famous boneless lechon and Gay, the branch manager. Niko is holding a whole lechon belly that weighs around 4 kilos and cost P1,800-1,960 and perfect for taking home to Manila.
I was excited to see the blistered skin that promised to be crispy.
The meat part didn’t look that interesting.
The menu was quite simple and straightforward. Order the lechon by weight and as many puso (hanging rice wrapped and steamed in coconut leaves) as you can eat.
I guess this was a typical order for the diners, some lechon and lots of rice. Our order was the opposite. 2 plates of lechon and just 4 puso.
This is puso or the famous hanging rice of Cebu. They pronounce it with the accent of the second syllable, pu-só.
I begged Niko not to prepare so much since “I don’t really like lechon.” Those were the famous last words I uttered as soon as I took a bite of the super crunchy flavorful skin. I couldn’t believe how moist, tender as tasty the meat was. The flavors of the secret blends of herbs and spices really permeated through all parts of the meat. The part of the pork nearest the center was the saltiest and tastiest.
1/4 kilo of original boneless lechon belly
Trying the spicy lechon was another story. I’ve never, ever raved about pork before so read on. With my first bite I fell into pork lust. Yes it was spicy but combined with a depth of different flavors like lemongrass, ginger, garlic and many more that we couldn’t guess. There was also barely any fat underneath the super crispy skin. I’m usually so anal about scraping that off.
Each bite brought a gush of ooohhs and aaahhs from Vivian and me. For two non-lechon eaters we almost wiped out both plates. They had a choice of three vinegar based dipping sauces that were totally not needed.
1/4 kilo of spicy boneless lechon belly
Just look at all those spices. Be careful when you eat this since some parts were much spicier than the others. I don’t have a very high tolerance for spice and this was just perfect for me. It had enough heat to give my taste buds a kick but I didn’t need to chase it down with water.
I didn’t really like the semi-sticky rice and only ate half despite the spiciness of the lechon. I can just imagine if I had garlic rice instead. I would be much happier.
More than two weeks after this spectacular meal Vivian and I still dream about it. I was already planning when I will order a whole lechon belly to treat my friends. They can deliver to the airport in Manila just for a fee of P500.
Imagine my happiness when I saw the announcement on their Facebook page that they are opening their first Manila branch on May 25, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at the SaveMore Market Food Area in Festival Mall in Alabang. I just hope they cook it here so the skin will be as crispy as the one I ate in Cebu. I’ll see you all there!!!!
Cebu’s Original Boneless Lechon Belly
168 Ouano Avenue, Mandaue Reclamation Area, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
10 thoughts on “Cebu’s Original Boneless Lechon Belly”
Pogi naman ni nephew! The lechon looks just as yummy though. Hahaha….
Ha ha I hope Niko reads this comment. 😀
But Alabang’s still so far! Haha. I wasn’t a lechon fan either, until I tasted Cebu lechon. 🙂
san po bnda sa alabang?
Not too bad according to my friends. I’m willing to brave the traffic to Alabang for this. 😀
I think it is Cebu that was regarded to have “the best lechon in the world.” sabi nung sikat na international tv chef. i love lechon talaga, kultura na kasi natin 🙂 see my personal short blog hilig talaga eh lechon baboy
yes CEBU it is!!!and we LOVE CEBU!!!!and am planning to open my own LECHONAN in manila, it will soon be in TAGUIG ususan the birthing place…ABANGAN!!!!! to La, Shine, Shoot First, Eat Later (blog owner), Vera & Paul you are all invited once I will open the first branch, so keep in touch if interested. Lechon ug Puso lang at drinks bottomless……
I look forward to your Lechon Willy!!
yummmmmyyyy. nakatilaw njud tawn ko ana. 😀