Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Magic that is Cebu Lechon

I'm not really a fan of lechon, while I love feasting on its crisp golden amber skin (who doesn't?!), I find the laman a bit bland to my liking.  Truth be told, I look forward to the paksiw two or three days after everyone has had their fill of this fiesta/special occasion guest of honor.

But all that changed in Cebu.

Having watched Anthony Bourdain's declaration of Cebu's lechon as the best roasted pig ever, I wanted to see or rather, taste for myself if this is indeed true.  Nevermind, that the one Anthony Bourdain had was, in all probability made especially for him.  I'm sure any lechon in Cebu would somehow bear a semblance, albeit ever so slightly, to the Bourdain lechon.

We told our driver to bring us wherever we can find Cebu lechon ( a very turista and first timer request, I know).  He brought us to CnT, one of the more popular lechon chains in Cebu.

CnT is a turo-turo type establishment.  You know the drill, get a try, fall in line, look at their offerings (yes they have dishes other than lechon), point at the one you like, put in in your tray then pay to the cashier.
The long queue at the counter area

This is it! Lechon galore!

True to its reputation, Cebu lechon is more malasa than it's Manila counterpart.  The skin is also crispier and the layers of fat is considerably thinner, I don't eat taba, if you must know.
Crispy balat
Tasty laman

I made the mistake of asking for sarsa, only to be greeted by a rather sheepish smile, "Ma'am, di po uso yun dito."  He then showed me how do sarsa the Cebu way, toyo and suka.  I was hesitant to try this because I prefer my lechon drowning in Mang Tomas.  Hmmm...bagay nga.  I think this simple sawsawan works because the lechon is tasty enough to begin with. 

Here's some of the dishes we ordered to somehow balance our lechon binge.
This is something that I truly enjoyed, fresh, sour,spicy and gingery, the way kinilaw should taste like.  I forget the name of the fish they used but this is something that made CnT's kinilaw a cut above the rest.   It's spongy and the texture is something a cross between a squid and a shrimp.  It does not even look like a fish.

I think to say we enjoyed the food is an understatement.

Guess what?  I hand carried some CnT lechon back to Manila for Mamu to enjoy.  After a few days, I had the best lechon paksiw ever!

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