Friday, August 22, 2008

Where to Buy the Best Lechon de Cebu?

Lechón (Tagalog: Litson and Cebuano: Inasal) is the Spanish word for suckling pig. In the Philippines, it connotes a whole roasted pig, lechón baboy. Chicken and beef are also popular. The process of lechón involves the whole pig/piglet, chicken, or cattle/calf being slowly roasted over charcoal.

The pig had always been the center of communal feasts in pre-Hispanic Philippines, and "Lechon" is the normal manner it is prepared.

Undeniably, Cebu's Lechon is the best in the country. It is tasty as it is, there's no need for any savory dip to go with it. Ask for Mang Tomas (liver sauce) and Cebuano's will stare at you and laugh.

Cebu's lechon baboy is whole black native (free range) pig roasted over charcoal, skewed in bamboo, stuffed with herbs and spices like lemongrass locally known as "tanglad", salt (injected into the meat), pepper corn and more, then baste with either milk or soda or coconut water to keep the skin crispy.

I once saw how it is prepared, it's never a pleasant sight. Hot water is poured onto live pig to shed its hair and the rest is history. I've entered the roasting station of CNT Lechon, it is impressive to see several lines of mechanical rotisserie. That should make the cooking even, not to mention efficient.

We normally forewarn foreign guests, other nationalities especially from the west, find it barbaric to see a whole pig served on the table. But Chinese and Filipinos just love EVERY part of it, right? I feast on the belly and the skin, most on the ribs, some even rave about the tail, the tongue, the ears, the dinuguan (pork blood stew with internal organs), and the brain!

My previous post about Cebu drawn more than the usual readers, googling for information and contact numbers for Cebu's Lechon houses, there are hundreds of lechon houses in Cebu but these are the more popular ones:
NOTE: To contact via telephone, use COUNTRY CODE 063, AREA CODE 032

Cang's Lechon
Sanson Road, Lahug # 2328899
- the original Cang's Lechon, with crispy skin and tender meat, the fat looks like it's trimmed off, it's very tender that the vertebra easily collapse.

Cary Cang's Lechon (Edna Cang)
Sanson Road, Lahug # 2358886; +639276441923
-(similar to Cang's Lechon, now operating independently) my family's personal favorite. Aside from the usual lechon, a whole chicken (add P150 each) or rice can be stuffed inside. Imagine chicken or rice that tastes exactly like lechon.

Alejo's Lechon
Labangon # 2618575

Lighthouse Restaurant
Gen. Maxilon Ave # 2332383
-famous for Lechon de Leche, a few days old piglet, so tender, they use plates to slice it. For dine-in, you can order whole or smaller portions.

CNT Lechon
Archbishop Reyes Ave # 2326146
V. Rama # 2544249; 2546641
Juan Luna Ext Ave # 2335339
(with outlets in selected malls)
-famous for their retail outlet that sells lechon per kilo*, they can pack them in a box ready for cargo. Also available in Las Vegas, USA:
1203 E Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, USA # 702-270-2500

Se Ben's Authentic Cebu Lechon
SaveMore Supermarket, Parkmall branch
Reclamation road, Cebu City
# 4129799; +639173266999; +63922-8236168;
-promising new addition to the lechon industry

Rico's Lechon
Talamban, (Enrico Dionson, owner) # 3440119
-rumored for being former President Erap's source of lechon

Zubuchon (as endorsed by Anthony Bourdain)
(Edrid or Beverly) # 2365264 (M-F 9am-4pm)
Sunday Market at Banilad Town Center, Sundays, 10am-1pm

- but frankly, it doesn't come close to Cebu's best lechon.  You might just wanna try it simply because it was endorsed by travel channel Anthony Bourdain's blog.
- offers the convenience of online orders, recommended by a few bloggers who are non-Cebuanos. I haven't tried this, but the published rates are quite expensive.

Carcar Town Market- famous for having lechon juice, a seasoned clear (salty) soup.

Lorenzo's Lechon Baka
# 4162849
- specialize in roast beef/calf with sweet brown sauce. My birthday party isn't complete without them roasting a leg for my guests. :D They also serve roast turkey and goat.

The price of Lechon Baboy has increased about P300 for whole and P50/kg compared to last year. During peak season, price increase about P200-500 or they serve a smaller sized lechon. Peak season is from December, extending upto January (for Sinulog). Normal price range now should be:
P300 per kilo
P2800 good for 20-25 (whole)
P3200 good for 25-30 (whole)

Updated price for 2010:
P360 per kilo
P3500 good for 20-25 (whole) about 8-10 kilos
P4000 good for 25-30 (whole) about 10-12 kilos

Airport to airport airfreight from Cebu to Manila costs about P500, the seller usually charge additional P100 for packaging. Including freight, it is actually cheaper to buy from Cebu than in Manila.

*lechon sold per kilo tends to use bigger and older pigs, the meat may not be as tender and the skin is thicker which tends to be harder even crispy. So I still prefer to order in whole, the younger/smaller the better. Don't worry about left overs, stewed (paksiw) or sauteed, they are still worth the added cholesterol. :D Our household cook has a superb recipe, I'll try it out soon and post the receipe here.

Ever wondered how to keep the skin crispy?
- while it's steaming hot, keep it loosely covered. Don't keep it too long in the (car) trunk either. The steam tends to soften the skin.
- while waiting to be served in an airconditioned room or windy area, keep it covered.
- reheat leftover skin (if any!) in pressure cooker or toaster on high heat.

A celebration isn't complete without lechon, Christmas season ('Ber months) is coming up, I'm so eager to feast on more lechon again with hanging rice "puso" to match it.


Sun Jun said...

well you guys do dip it in vinegar and soy sauce ... to each his own preference i guess hehehe

davao lechon tastes as good ...

and as a plus, you can buy biik lechon here. ^^

freeze said...

we do? i don't and i don't see others do that either, that's for other types of inasal. oh, maybe when you buy per kilo since it's not as savory since the meat are way too thick.

biik lechon? Lechon de leche, is available too but not all carry it since there's high mortality for lil ones. It's often served during lauriat (in lieu of pigeon) esp for weddings. Besides, a lechon de leche isn't enough for our household. hehe

on your next visit, bring us some davao lechon so we can gauge if it tastes as good. hehe

Novz said...

I love Ben's lechon. It's the nearest lechon shop from where I live.

Another way of procuring lechon is to buy a live pig of your choice in the market, then have someone lechon it.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your posting! i just ordered and paid online for a lechon for my son's birthday party here in HK! hope it works out, although i think it would.

I used to order lechon every special occassion we have in the family when we were still based in Manila, and it's great to know that we can still do it now that we've moved to HK!

thanks again!

Shiela said...’s lechon is very delicious. It doesn’t need any sarsa (sauce) to make it tasty. I am very much satisfied with the juicy meat & the crispy skin. It is indeed a quality lechon that every Filipinos’ crave shall be intensely satisfied.

LechonCebu is the best!

Shiela from UP Los Baños

nina said...

Mmmmm, lechon. I'll book mark this entry para next time we go to Cebu, we'll look for these :D

jezza said...

Its true. Lechon cebu is very delicious. I love the taste of their lechon. Yummmy

marie said...

Number 1 talaga ang lechon sa dahil sa kakaibang lasa ng lechon nila. Napaka crispy at tasty ng meat. Oh i love lechon cebu so much.

freeze said...

i do appreciate your thoughts here, keep on posting.

(but no spamming please)

Ramel said...

Sikat na talaga ang cebu pagdating sa lechon. May cnt, cang's, alejos, lechon cebu at marami pang iba. Pero dahan dahan lang sa pagkain ng lechon baka kayo magkasakit. like me kumakain lang ako ng lechon pag my occasion lang. Dapat paminsan minsan lang.

Manong's said...

Hi! We are Manong's Tasty Lechon Cebu. We are new here in Metro Manila but we have been doing our backyard lechon biz in Cebu since 2001 pa. Try us and you will know the difference.

You can reach us at 7032133 or read our blog at

Er offer FREE delivery. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Im Sol from manila. I think is not expensive. I said this because I order lechon from them last year december 24 and their lechon is very affordable. Nkita ko kasi ang site nla sa internet when i looking for lechon sa cebu. And very affordable talaga yung price ng lechon nla. Wla kana kasing babayaran pang freight eh. Ang lechon na inorder ko last year ang yung medium size nila na worth Php 4500.00. free na yung freight ko. That is why masasasabi ko na affordable talaga ang lechon nla.

freeze said...

hi sol, thanks for dropping a line.

Frankly, a medium sized lechon in Cebu costs P2800-3000 only and airfreight costs less than P500.

P4500 is relatively cheaper than buying in Manila, which costs around P5000 right? :D

freeze said...

Manongs, maybe you want to send free lechon to me for taste test, naka free ads ka dito... hehe

Anonymous said...

hello freeze this is sol. sorry for late reply. anyway nagkamali ako ng type last tyme. Yung medium size na lechon nila worth 5,500. Mura lang compare sa dito sa manila. I dont know sa ibang lechon sa cebu kng magkano ang price nla. Pero ito lang ang masasabi ko nasarapan kami sa lechon nla.

Anonymous said...

hi guys CARY Cang's LECHON & ROAST BEEF is the number 1 lechon in cebu, and guys let me tell you its the best lechon in town you will never regret... try one and you will experience the wonderful lechon in cebu...
i order lechon every now and then i even ship it to manila, davao, bacolod, zamboanga for my friends they ask for it they love it...

so i suggest try it...
its is so yummy and tastey... you will always want one...

thank you

freeze said...

Cary's lechon is definitely one of Cebu's best.

I have yet to try their roast beef. I'm very satisfied with Lorenzo's roast beef that I didn't want to try others. hehe

freeze said...

I tried out Zugbuchon simply because it was endorsed by Anthony Bourdain.

As a true blue Cebuano, all I can say is, it's far from the best tasting lechon in Cebu. It doesn't even come close.

Nevertheless, thanks to him for acknowledging Cebu's lechon.

Anthony Bourdain: you ought to come back and indulge the best of the best.

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