Friday, July 12, 2013

5 Best Lechon in Cebu

Anyone who visits Cebu is recommended to bring blood pressure medications as the almost evil lure to taste the world famous Cebu Lechon will definitely follow you throughout your stay. Lechon has always been associated with Cebu. Even in other cities, there are lechon houses who claim to be authentic Cebu Lechon. So what is it with Cebu  Lechon that everyone craves about? We unwillingly (LOL) took the challenge to find out what is it that makes people crave about it so much. Also, I'm going to give you a rundown of our top 5 considering flavor, juiciness of the meat and the crispiness of the skin.

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

4. Alejo's Lechon

*image grabbed from

We did not know about Alejo's until we tasted it from Mix and Joanie's wedding reception. Even in online reviews their name would appear very seldom as one of Cebu's best. As I've learned (from their website), they have been in the lechon business for 20 years already but since I don't think they have a restaurant, they are not very popular with tourists. Alejo's Lechon was ultra flavorful with very juicy meat and very crispy skin. The meat was so tender it almost melts in your mouth. I felt though that the flavor was too strong that it tasted good on my first bite but eventually my tongue got tired of the taste since the flavor of the herbs were overpowering the pork's natural taste.

Contact no: (032) 261-8575 / (032) 261-1086

3. Zubuchon

Anthony Bourdain dubbed Zubuchon "The best pig ever." and they are mighty proud of this distinction. They even have this posted in their store in Escario Central, Cebu (and I heared in all branches as well). As we walked into the restaurant, very eager and friendly waiters greeted us and catered to our orders. Fresh from our flight, this was our first lechon meal in Cebu so we were really excited to finally taste Cebu Lechon. We were not turned down by this tasty lechon and I would say, the skin on their lechon was the crispiest from all that we tasted. There were some parts that were a little bit chewy but over all the meat was tender but not soggy. It would have ranked higher for me if it was not too salty. There were several cuts that I think were part of the pig's inner cavity where the stuffing were that are too salty. This might be the reason why the waiter was recommending the Kamias Shake but I went for a can of soda to negate the oiliness in my mouth.  Also, the boneless variety was not available when we dined in and the part given to us had a lot of bones in the serving.

Contact no: 032-2365264 / 032-2547342

2. Ayer's Lechon

*Photo grabbed from

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.

Contact no: (032) 232-1155 (Cebu) / 0907-751-9340 (Mall of Asia branch)

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.

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