Pepita’s Kitchen – Hayop na Degustacion

I was recently invited to a 13 course degustacion at the home of Dedet, the lechon queen. I’ve seen pictures of the food she served from Instagram but I purposedly didn’t read any reviews so I wouldn’t have any expectations.
 
Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion-001

We were offered some snacks, candies and cocktails but I didn’t dare touch anything that could fill up my empty tummy and use up space reserved just for food.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion-003

I was in the excellent company of food bloggers, writers, an editor and a chef. The one thing we all had in common was we were all foodies.

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Dinner also served as a mini reunion with my fave bloggers Jin and Franny

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To whet our appetites we were served a special cocktail made with cotton candy and lambanog mixed with pineapple juice. Pour the liquid into the cotton candy and watch it melt and turn back in to pink sugar.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- Pepita's magic potion
Pepita’s magic potion

 

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- Luccarelli Rosso Salento
Luccarelli Rosso Salento

 

Chicharon is made out of pork fat and skin that’s why it’s sinfully good. To lessen our guilt with all the upcoming dishes Dedet painstakingly made chicharon from pork tendon. The texture was as crunchy as the pork fat version. I’m not fond of gabi but the addition of sinigang flavor to the dip cut the richness of the gabi.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- tendon chips with dip
tendon chips with dip

 

This single piece of shrimp bathed in a sauce made with salted eggs was one of my favorites among all the good dishes. All this shrimp needed was some pasta. One of these days I will order this shrimp from their take out menu and add it to pasta for an instant party entree.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- hiplog
hiplog

 

My seatmate was Dedet’s daughter, Liyora, who at a young age is on her way to become a super foodie. She loves her mom’s degustacion and she partakes of it every time she can.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- little Pepita Liyora
little Pepita Liyora

 

Liyora taught me how to eat the bone marrow and I agree with her. She told me to liberally sprinkle the ‘special salt’ or chicharon dust on the bone marrow and top it with the incredibly decadent ox tail marmalade. After my careful setup I took a big spoonful, inhaled and ate it with gusto. And no I didn’t feel my blood pressure spike. I did hear bells ring and felt the microscopic nerves on my tongue do a jig. Naturally I ate all the leftover ox tail marmalade. If Dedet bottles this I would buy it right away. This would taste heavenly on garlic rice or even on French bread.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- bone marrow with oxtail marmalade & special salt
bone marrow with oxtail marmalade & special salt

 

Dedet did a great job of alternating light and heavier dishes to give us a reprieve. The salad may look like mishmash of things but I enjoyed eating them all. There’s homemade yogurt cheese, uber yummy cashew butter and the surprise watermelon Pop Rocks all complementing the lightly dressed arugula.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- salad surprise
salad surprise

 

My second favorite was the plump crab claw cooked in crab fat and coconut cream.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- sipit sarap
sipit sarap

 

I had to resist eating all the rice since it went so well with the all the crab love. Silly me I thought dinner was all meat when the seafood dishes were even more spectacular. Not so strict vegetarians will enjoy the non-meat dishes but they will feel sad when they smell the aroma from the lechon.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- crab, crab fat and rice

Named after the popular instant noodle brand, this simple yet pleasing noodles were flavored with herbed oil.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- lucky you
lucky you

 

Spicy tender pieces of lamb and potatoes made up lambada.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- lambada
lambada

 

I skipped the tamarind sorbet which I found too sour. I didn’t need my palate cleansed anyway. Bring out the lechon!!!

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- cheers palate cleanser

 

The usual degustacion includes only one Pinoy lechon but Dedet wanted us to try her two newest creations.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion-023
Dedet and her youngest daughter, Liyora

 

Watch Liyora expertly cutting the lechon, hear the gasps as she wields the large knife with precision and listen to the crunch of the skin. 

 

I’m sorry that the picture below looks like the pig ate packs of instant noodles on the sly and when he was cooked and opened up his guts spilled with cooked noodles :D. The lechon skin was as crunchy as it sounds and the meat was really tender and very flavorful. It didn’t need any sauce at all. I wanted to eat more skin but there were 17 other people elbowing their way to the little piggy. 

Pepita's Kitchen than long lechon

 

You are supposed to put this crab garlic butter on the noodles. Do you feel lightheaded yet? 

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- crab garlic butter
crab garlic butter

 

Among the two lechons I liked the one stuffed with Chinese ham more. I didn’t think the pairing would work but you should have smelled it when the lechon was cut up. The salty ham flavored the lechon from inside. You must order this pig!!! A sweet ham glaze was served for the ham too.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- ham lechon
ham lechon

 

The pacing of dinner was just right. At this point I was full but I could still eat dessert. The first dessert was oatmeal made with Ghirardelli white chocolate. Everyone who hates oatmeal will eat this for sure. I just wish she used dark chocolate instead.

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion- cholesterol sweeper
cholesterol sweeper

 

I love how the mind of Dedet works. This dessert is genius!

Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion - guinataan brûlée with layers of carabao flan
guinataan brûlée with layers of carabao flan

 

Do you see your favorite bloggers and food celebrities in the picture?

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I highly recommend you try this Hayop na Degustacion with family and friends. It’s a good deal for the joy and happiness each dish brings. If you have balikbayan or foreign guests then this menu will definitely impress them. 

We had 13 courses but the actual menu is for 12 courses and 1 lechon only.

Note: There is a surcharge if you order the than long and ham lechons for the degustacion. You can also order an extra lechon for your meal. The more pork the happier, right lawmakers? 
Pepita's Kitchen Hayop na Degustacion menu

Pepita's Kitchen Food to Go menu
Pepita’s Kitchen Food to Go menu (click to enlarge)

The 12 Course Hayop na Degustacion meal costs:

Lunch: P2,250 per person 
Dinner:  P2,250 per person +10% service charge

 Pepita’s Kitchen
telephone: 0917-8660662, 02-4254605
email: pepitaskitchen@gmail.com
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