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.
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 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.
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!!!!