Cebu is famous for their version of the Lechon Baboy. Lechon Cebu is probably the best lechon there is. The meat of their roasted pork is very tasty, and the skin is made crispier and taste a bit sweeter thanks to buko juice.
But there are a lot of “new breeds” of Cebu Lechon, and one of the most popular new versions is called Zubuchon. Zubuchon’s lechon became popular among locals and foreign tourist here in Cebu thanks in part of the comment of celebrity chef/best selling author/tv host Anthony Bourdain in his series called “No Reservations Philippines Episode” that the Lechon Cebu of Marketman is “The Best Pig Ever”. It’s hard to argue with a man with impressive credentials such as his.
Lechon Cebu by Zubuchon
But is Zubuchon really the best pig ever? I’ve stayed here in Cebu for more than a year now and tasted some of the most popular Lechon Cebu brands here such as CNT Lechon and Marina’s Lechon, but before this post, I haven’t tried dining at one of Zubuchon’s restaurants here in Cebu. At the back of my mind, Zubuchon is a bit expensive, especially with all the marketing hype and their nice looking restaurants located not so “masa” places like in One Mango Ave and in the Island Souvenirs hotel in Mactan Island .
Zubuchon’s Cebu Lechon Taste Test
Cille was invited for a Bloggers forum in Summit Circle Hotel in Fuente Osmena in Cebu and she asked me to pick her up because her bag is a bit heavy thanks in part of the loots she got from the 3 days event. It was about 12 noon when we met and both of us are a bit hungry. I told her that we try Zubuchon for a change, especially there is one near our location.
When we arrived, there a lot of people already seated and eating their lunch, thankfully, a table was vacant inside their air-conditioned dining area. The moment we are seated, I looked around for what our fellow customers are having. I’ve noticed that Zubuchon restaurant also offers other dishes other than lechon like pancit canton, stuffed squid, and dinuguan but I am guessing most of these dishes are somewhat infused with their famous lechon.
Zubuchon Frozen Lechon at 490 pesos per Kilo
We opted to order 2 different lechon dishes and a plate of pancit. Zubuchon offers budget meals called the Fast meals for 140 pesos. Each meal comes with a cup of rice, atchara and meat of your choice, drinks not included. Cille ordered the Fastmeal with the original Zubuchon Lechon while I ordered the Pritson Meal or “Pritong Litson” where the Lechon meat and skin was deep fried.
While waiting, I took some pictures of their restaurant and some of their famous Pasalubong items like chicharon and the frozen Zubuchon lechon whose packaging can pass the strict rules of airports, making them one of the most popular and sought after pasalubong from Cebu.
Our order arrived after a few minutes. After taking some pictures, Cille and I exchanged some lechon meat and skin so that we will know what the 2 lechon variants taste like.
Cille’s Zubuchon lechon is very good. The meat is very tender and has little fat. The skin is also very crispy. The meat is not that salty unlike its other Cebu counterparts.
Lechon Cebu by Zubuchon
It is said that Zubuchon only roast pigs raised in backyards and not those which came from commercial farms. They also use the old Lechon Cebu method of roasting pork but added a twist by adding some non traditional spices on top of lemon grass, black pepper and onions. When one of the staff started carving and chopping a big slab of the lechon on display, I noticed some rosemary leaves inside the cavity if the pig. Wonder what other spices and secret ingredients Zubuchon uses in their recipe in order to make their popular Lechon Cebu?
Crispy Lechon Skin
For added flavor, you can make a concoction of spicy vinegar and soy sauce for your lechon’s dipping sauce. For those not so familiar with Cebuano cuisine, lechon here are not served with Mang Tomas all around sarsa or any liver sauce for that matter.
As for my order, I was a bit disappointed. The meat was a bit tough and lacks flavor. Guess deep frying lechon doesn’t work well, for lechon baboy is already an oily dish and adding more oil can make the meat taste bland. The skin also became chewy, not crispy.
Pritson ( Deep Fried Lechon)
The pansit on the other hand looks great. There are a lot of ingredients in there such as lechon skin, lechon meat, chicharon, vegetables and mushrooms. Cille find the pancit a bit too oily. For me, their pansit tasted good but a bit sweet. It is a bit expensive also for a pansit dish at 190 a plate.
Pansit at 190 pesos
Now back to the big question, “is Zubuchon’s Lechon Cebu the best pig ever?”. Well it’s a tough call to make. The Lechon of Zubuchon is very good. The meat is very tender. The skin however is very,very good. Few lechon houses serve crispy lechon skin. Guess it comes from the Zubuchon’s philosophy that Lechon Cebu is best served and eaten hot, when there is still steam coming out of the pig’s rear.
As for the price, the price of their Zubuchon Lechon is just at the same price range of other Cebu Lechon. A kilo of Zubuchon lechon and their frozen Zubuchon lechon is only 490 a kilo. Half a kilo sells for 260 pesos. These prices makes Zubuchon great for family gatherings and a must have Cebu Pasalubong.
Their Fastmeals are priced at 140 per serving but the amount of the lechon meat is already good for 2 persons. I think they served almost ¼ kilo of lechon in every plate.
Very Crispy Balat ng Lechon
Definitely, Zubuchon is one of the best Lechon houses here in Cebu. Just go and visit one of their branches and decide for yourselves if their Lechon Cebu truly deserves the title of the “ Best Pig Ever”.
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