Lex in the city
IT HAS been a Cebuano tradition to have lechon on the table for every special occasion. Birthdays, fiestas, anniversaries, Christmas parties, and family reunions are events I look forward to for the lechon. Yes, I am one of those people who revel in the thought of having lechon the following day and sometimes can’t sleep just thinking about it.
Lucky for me (and the many who share my so-called affliction), Cebu is home to the best lechon-makers in the country. Many brands have made a name for themselves not only in Cebu but nation-wide and I must say that one of my favorite brands is Rico’s Original Spicy Lechon. Its flavor is just the one I keep looking for. The meat is ever so tender, the spiciness is just right, and the skin is always so crispy. I am salivating just describing how perfect their lechon can be.
Today, several lechon places have emerged in the metro selling the boneless belly variant. I find it really interesting and so I tried a couple of places that sold these. In my opinion, it is such a brilliant idea! My favorite part of the lechon is the belly. Some like the ribs, some the ear and the tail, but I love the belly part.
So you can only imagine how excited I am to go to these places that serve only my favorite part.
And speaking of favourites... One of my all-time favorite lechon places—one that is always reliable and consistent—is the lechon from Carcar, a municipality that is less than an hour’s drive south of Cebu. My friends and I used to drive down to the Carcar Public Market all the time just to eat lechon. Our suki is Mama Lita. I know it is quite a drive but it is worth the trip. What amazes me is how tender and flavorful the meat is no matter how large the pig is. In the city, we usually order the medium-sized lechon for fear of having tough meat from bigger pigs. But in Carcar, it seems size does not matter. When they chop open a whole lechon, “juice” flows out of its belly and that “juice” is poured on top of your one kilogram of lechon that usually costs about P280/kg.
Now, if that doesn’t make you want to drive down there right now, let me tell you about their super-sized puso (hanging rice) with tapul. It is probably the best tasting puso you will ever get to try (free of the smell of chlorine) and it is the perfect match to any lechon. The big ones are three pieces for P25 and its size is slightly bigger than my fist.
If you want to enjoy your lechon immediately, go to any of the eateries surrounding the market. Ask the owner politely if you can eat there for a fee (usually P10 per person but we usually give more) and of course, order your drinks there. That’s what we usually do.
There are many different brands of lechon to choose from and many of them are really good. I think it is a matter of finding one’s favorite. I like trying lechon here and there, ‘coz when you’re really lucky, you will find that once-in-a-blue-moon lechon experience that is simply magical.