Best Lechon in the Philippines | The Happy Pig Trail
One of the most adored Filipino food that needs no further description is lechon. And there are many versions of it as there are claimants to the title of the best lechon in the Philippines.
Surely, lechon can turn up any simple gathering into a real feast. It’s the most anticipated centerpiece on any holiday table. While it is touted as one of the most adored national dishes, there are certain places in the country that are just so popular for it.
Finding the best lechon in the Philippines
My endless pigging out across the country always lead me to surprising tastes of the “happiest pig” as the late Anthony Bourdain puts it. And on this blog, allow me to share the greasy roll of the best places to sample this artery-clogging but succulent all-time Pinoy favorite.
Cebu is synonymous to lechon. Cebuanos call it “inasal” & it’s available anywhere in the province. But I particularly love the Carcar roast because of its unique meat juice. And never look for “sarsa” when eating lechon because it goes perfect with just chili in vinegar. Otherwise, be ready to get skewered yourself alive.
It’s always the skin that runs out first. Then comes the belly, the ribs & some tug for the tail or the ears. But the Cebuanos have crafted a special lechon belly roast to delight its hungry patrons. Zubuchon, CNT, Rico’s & Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly are the household names in this league. But I give my two thumbs up to Rico’s for its perfect blend of salt & spice.
The closest rival of Cebu lechon is that of Iligan City. Unlike Cebu’s salty version, the one in Iligan will keep your kidneys happy. Avid fans of lechon would tell you that it’s the basting that makes the wonderful difference. Stories go that Iliganon lechoneros apply pineapple juice or Coke as the pig goes into a slow roast.
I couldn’t say further. You have to come down south & taste it for yourself—-the yummy difference is obvious.
Just dip it in Pinakurat, that special coco vinegar from Iligan that got into a sour fight with condiment giant, Datu Puti. Lechon Iligan is best eaten with “kinilaw”, yet again another must-try in this city made delicious because of “tabon-tabon”, a fruit unique to Northern Mindanao.
Popular names are Dado, Jaime, Dacer & Gloria. But when in doubt, just head straight to Timoga. Just across it is a row of lechon stalls screaming that the best lechon in the Philippines is here.
Batangas is more than just “bulalo” & “lomi”. It is also about good lechon. In the town of Balayan, this crispy fella even has its own festival called Parada ng Lechon. Every June 24, lechons are dressed up & paraded around town replete with marching bands & decorated floats.
Beyond the frenzy & fancies, Balayan lechon is truly yummy. There are no secrets to it—just tender meat & crunchy skin made flavorful by the wicked use of herbs & spices. Batanguenos say their native pig lechon is a must-try here because it’s more tender than the usual white swine.
Rebekah & Mila are the names to remember for the best lechon in Balayan. But if you come during the festival, the entire town turns greasly delicious with lechons just about anywhere.
AND THE REST
Bale Dutung in Angeles, Pampanga is one Filipino degustation any foodie must try. The highlight is no doubt, Lechon 5-Ways or 6, 7 depending on the whims of its star chefs, couple Claude & Mary Ann Tayag. Sample the many ways of serving lechon in surprising & certainly delicious takes.
Baroy, Lanao del Norte
Albeit a new culinary festival, Baroy is making waves in the lechon scene with Lechon Festival held every June. It started as a family recipe & prepared as a household backyard fare. But this spitfire tradition grew & now supplying the entire province of Lanao del Norte.
It’s not a big thing here but there are a few names worth mentioning. Porky’s & Lechoneros are the bedrocks of lechon in Davao. They’re equally good & just like any tradition, it only takes vinegar to complete the entire delight.
Is Ormoc, Leyte stealing the spotlight of the best lechon in the Philippines? This tiny town is recently making a gustatory spin & it surely is roasting it wildly yummy. Imagine thin crispy skin & tender meat — ohlala!
Grease up folks because Zamboanga City takes you to a cardiac delight with its Asao Festival. As they say it here, sabroso!
Finally, I give a big thumbs up to Camiguin. Yes, this awesome island is also slowly making a name in the lechon trail in the Philippines.
As the popularity of lechon sweeps across the globe, many lechoneros have also innovated with exciting stuffings like paella & chicken. So whenever you travel around, check your cholesterol meter because who knows, we might find new destinations to join our roll of best lechon in the Philippines.
Do you know where else can we do pig spotting? Comment on the box below & before you know it, I am already there.