5. CNT Lechon
We have been hearing good things about CNT's lechon and saved this for our last lechon meal in Cebu before we flew back to Manila. I have to admit that our expectations were pretty high since we have already tasted 3 of the 5 lechon brands in this review. I kinda had a feeling that this was not going to be a good experience when we went into the restaurant which looks like an old canteen across SM Cebu. As we took our first bite, the excitement in our faces were washed away as we chewed into some pretty tough pieces of meat. CNT lechon was salty but lacked flavor and some parts of the skin were already soggy. Also, the meat itself looks old, as if it was cooked a day or two ago. Do not get me wrong, this is still one of the best lechon we have tasted ever, but among the other popular lechon houses in Cebu, and with a high expectation, this came across as our least favorite. Our taxi driver on our way to the airport told us that the lechon had to be salty to prevent it from spoiling as these were prepared a day prior to serving.
Website: (can't find it)
Contact no: 032-2544249/032-2546641
*image grabbed from http://alejoslechon.com/
Contact no: (032) 261-8575 / (032) 261-1086
Contact no: 032-2365264 / 032-2547342
2. Ayer's Lechon
*Photo grabbed from http://www.ayerlechon.com/
Since we were already out of time, we decided that we will just bring Ayer's Lechon home as pasalubong. We bought the lechon at 3 pm but because of a 5 hour delay in hour flight, we arrived home by 1 am. To our surprise, the skin was still crispy! Ayer's had almost the same flavor as with Alejo's but milder thus allowing the natural flavor of the lechon to bind with the spices. The meat was juicy and even after 10 hours, it was still delicious.
Contact no: (032) 268-0327
1. Cebu's Original Lechon Belly
We certainly did not expect that this would be our absolute favorite. Cebu's Original Lechon Belly is the best in Cebu! To start with, they have two variants for their lechon, original and spicy, and both are equally scrumptious. The flavor was not too over powering. It was like a delicate mix of the spices merging with the pork belly's natural flavor forming a very unique taste. The spicy lechon added some kick to the already tasty lechon. The meat was tender and of course the skin was perfectly crispy. Eating this by hand with "puso" rice or ketupat was one hell of a great meal.
The lechon experience in Cebu was certainly memorable. Some of you might raise an eye brow as to the arrangement of these five but collectively Cebu Lechon is... (channeling my inner Bourdain) the best pig ever! It is not the mix of onions, garlic, leeks, pepper, fish sauce, star anise, etc.. that characterizes the Cebu lechon but moreover, it is biting into an important piece of the Cebuano culture that makes this "pig" extra special.