The four of us who have been friends for more than a decade usually find time to spend a couple of days or more in an out-of-town trip around the country. In the list for this year was Samal Island and Davao city, but due to bad weather that caused flooding in some parts of the city, we all agreed to fly to Cebu instead. The first thing that comes in my mind when we landed Cebu city was lechon– suckling pigs slowly roasted over open fire (usually in charcoal). I was craving for this food since I arrived in Iloilo for my short break but got no chance to munch in any of those restaurants we had visited. And since I was in Cebu, I definitely grabbed that chance. It is said that Cebu has arguably the best lechon in the country and that this city is synonymous to lechon.
After we settled our things in hotel, I approached the reception and asked where to go to taste Cebu’s lechon for our lunch. She right away mentioned Zubuchon in Escario Street. Perhaps because it is near to where we were staying and a jeepney ride from Capitol site where our hotel was located. Zubuchon is a casual dining restaurant. As we entered the place, their waiters approached us eagerly and led us to our table. We scanned the menu and ordered for a start a large serving of lechon, lechon dinuguan, and ginataang langka with daing. We wanted to try more food listed on their menu but decided to reserve some for our next round of food raves.
Zubuchon’s lechon is certainly their all time best seller. It was proclaimed by the famous TV chef, Anthony Bourdain, as “the best pig ever”. Bourdain said in the site, blog.travelchannel.com, “it can now be said that of all the whole roasted pigs I’ve had all over the world, the slow roasted lechon I had on Cebu was the best.” And that was in Zubuchon. This catapulted Philippines as the top in Bourdain’s Hierarchy of Pork. Proud of the distinction, Zubuchon wrote such title and Anthony Bourdain’s name on the glass in their restaurant.
But what really makes their lechon so special that a lot of people ques during meal time and those who previously dined keep on coming back? Personally what I like about it was the skin’s crispiness to which every bite sounds like bursting fire crackers. The meat is tender and juicy but it seems just the same average lechon meat I had tasted before, but the herbs that they use as stuffs are savored. I ultimately found out that their lechon is still cooked the old way. And what is good is that they don’t use glutamate nor brushes their pigs with artificially flavored sauce.
Never got enough of Zubuchon, thus we returned for our dinner during our last day but at this time in their Mango branch. Similarly, we ordered a plate of lechon and dinuguan which was our instant favorite from the first time we ate at Escario. We also got squid stuffed with Zubuchon lechon sisig and seaweed platter vinaigrette. For drinks we ordered, their kamias shake which they recommended to balance off lechon’s fattiness, though it really is a refreshing drink. The mixed flavors of sweetness and sourness were playing in the mouth.
There maybe other restaurants in Cebu specializing in lechon, but Zubuchon satisfied our craving. Our dining experience in both Escario and Mango branches was good that definitely deserves a come back.