Lechon: It’s Tastier in the Philippines

When it comes to roasted pig, nobody does it better than Pinoys!

By Raphael Mones
October 21, 2016

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve about two months away, some Filipino families are probably already planning their menus for noche buena or media noche. Among the dishes that are staples on dining tables during these festive occasions, the lechon has always been the crowd favorite.


Lechon or the roasted pig is served all throughout the globe, particularly in countries like the US, Cuba, Puerto Rico, China, Indonesia, and Serbia. The Philippines, however, holds the distinction of having the best in the world, and even Time magazine and renowned American chef Anthony Bourdain seem to agree. In this article, allow us to dive into the world of this magical pig, which should get you salivating and your stomachs growling.

Lechon: Back in swine
Records show that our ancestors have been roasting pigs long before the Spanish conquistadores had set foot in the country. However, the lechon recipes that we have become accustomed to are most likely from the Spaniards as part of their influence in our local cuisine.

Lechon is derived from the word “leche” or the Spanish word for milk, since suckling pigs were the only ones being roasted before. However, as the popularity of the dish increased, so were the types of pig that were skewered and cooked over hot coals.

La Loma = Lechon coma
The district of La Loma at the southwestern area of Quezon City is known as the main hub of lechon in Metro Manila. Roasted pigs line up its streets where some of the biggest names in the industry began. Mang Tomas Lechon is one of them, known for their “all around” liver sauce that complements the lechon. Also born along La Loma are beloved brands Pingping and Mila’s.

Though La Loma has been regarded as the “lechon capital” of the Philippines, there are other places in the metro where you can get our favorite swine: Lydia’s Lechon has their main branch in Baclaran and nine others across Metro Manila. Sabroso Lechon is another established name in the industry, and is found in South Triangle and Katipunan Avenue, both in Quezon City. Meanwhile, General’s Lechon is situated in Makati and Parañaque. Also getting rave reviews from diners is Elarz, which has various branches across the metro as well.

Nothing beats Cebu Lechon
But if you’re looking for perhaps the best lechon in the country, there’s nothing quite like the one in Cebu. In fact, their lechon is so great that people from Manila would even have it shipped all the way from the province.

While you’re in Cebu, be sure to check out Rico’s Lechon, especially if you want your roasted pig to have a spicy kick. For those who love the crispy skin, CnT tops the list. But for Anthony Bourdain, Joel Binamira’s version is the “best pig ever,” which you can try at Zubuchon. And if you’re on a tight budget, head to Carcar Public Market and see the stalls that sell affordable cuts of this Pinoy delicacy.

Though lechon is undoubtedly one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind, keep in mind that it is also said to be one of the culprits for the spikes in the blood pressures of Filipinos after celebrating Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Afterall, a 100-gram serving of lechon is equal to 170 milligrams of sodium, 150 calories, and 9 grams of fat. This holiday season, feel free to indulge in the country’s favorite pig, but do it in moderation.

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