One claim by a television giant has stirred Cebu netizens as to which lechon brand is actually Cebu's favorite. In a news release the TV network reports that Cebu's "number 1" and "favorite" lechon, Zubuchon, is opening soon in Manila. Not too long after, the post has gone viral but necessarily on a positive note. Netizens were up in arms amid what they perceived as a ridiculous claim.
Cebu's Number 1 Lechon
I've been around the Cebu food scene for quite a time now. And lechon happens to be one of my favorite Cebuano dishes. In this post, I will weigh in on this trending #LechonWars and will make my own personal ranking. Do note that I will only rank the lechon brands that I have personally tried. Although I will also make some notes on the ones I haven't tried yet.
House of Lechon (Cebu City)
My personal favorite among Cebu lechon brands is House of Lechon. While this restaurant is located in Cebu City, their lechon recipe more closely resembles the one from Carcar. With or without that accompanying sauce Carcar lechon is known for, this one really tastes good. And they probably cook one of the best baked scallops in Cebu too!
|House of Lechon in Cebu City, Philippines|
CnT Lechon (Cebu City)
I'm pretty sure many Cebuanos would agree that CnT Lechon has long been one of Cebu's top favorite lechon brands. For one, it is prepared the traditional Cebuano way and it's been on the scene for a while. Never mind that there are many lechon brands popping up. CnT Lechon still has a solid customer base. And lately, they are bringing the brand to the shopping malls. That should open up more opportunities for them.
|CnT Lechon in Cebu City, Philippines|
Zubuchon (Cebu City)
In terms of ambiance, Zubuchon is up there as their restaurants are usually located in modern commercial areas such as The Walk at Asiatown IT Park and Escario Central Mall. Zubuchon though has a unique flavor profile that is unlike any of the traditional Cebuano lechon recipes. This is probably the reason why Cebuano netizens were kind of outraged by the claim that it is Cebu's favorite and number 1 lechon brand. It just isn't Cebuano! Zubuchon's lechon preparation includes coconut milk as one of its ingredients.
|Zubuchon in Cebu City, Philippines|
Crispchon (Cebu City)
Another non-Cebuano lechon preparation in this list is Crispchon which is on the menu at La Mesa Grill in SM City Cebu. This one is fried, not roasted like the rest of the lechon brands listed here. Like Zubuchon, it's more of the ambiance and the unique taste profile that makes La Mesa's Crispchon interesting.
Lechon sa Intsik (Carcar City)
When driving down south, a popular lechon stop is the public market in Carcar. And here's a trick I learned from one of my cousins: ask for the lechon sa intsik. The Carcar lechon is unlike any other in Cebu. They put in some sauce with the lechon, a practice not advisable elsewhere in Cebu as you would want your lechon skin crispy to the bite.
Celia's Lechon (Talisay City)
Back when I was living with an aunt during my high school years, Sunday was always lechon day. We bought lechon near the old Talisay City town hall. Every Sunday, that one stretch of lechon stalls teem with buyers mostly churchgoers who just finished their Sunday obligations hearing mass at the nearby Santa Teresa de Avila Parish Church. And some are about to enjoy a picnic in the nearby beaches. But one lechon stall stands out from them all. And it wouldn't be hard to notice that people actually flock to Celia's. Now run by the late Celia's offspring, Celia's also has a stall in Banilad, Cebu City.
Cebu's Original Lechon Belly
Cebu's Original Lechon Belly is a game changer in the Cebu lechon scene. This trendsetter created a unique space in the Cebuano lechon industry. Now, many up and coming lechon brands have taken from the boneless lechon craze pioneered by Marlon Gochan. Now, they have stalls all over the country.
Ayer's Lechon (Cebu City)
Ayer's Lechon, another traditional Cebuano lechon brand that has been around for quite a time now. They are easily recognizable by Cebu visitors as they have a stall just outside the departure lobby of the Mactan Cebu International Airport. They are one of the pioneers in packaging Cebu lechon to be brought on flight mostly to Manila.
|Ayer's Lechon in Cebu City, Philippines|
Alejo's Lechon (Labangon, Cebu City)
While Alejo's Lechon do not have a restaurant space, the sheer amount of daily orders they get will make one really curious why they are a hit. Alejo's is but one of 2 places that my family orders a whole lechon from during special occasions. It's good-tasting lechon cooked in massive quantities. Sometimes though, they can be too salty so consistency seems to be an issue here.
Lechon sa Lilo-an
A Sunday treat at the Lilo-an poblacion, lechon sa Lilo-an also has its loyal following which is largely middle-class and lower income families out to spend a family day in the affordable beach resorts in Lilo-an and neighboring towns. Many of these Sunday lechon stalls in Lilo-an can be found by the roadside fronting the town hall.
Mila's Lechon (Talisay City)
A more established lechon place in the Talisay City poblacion is Mila's Lechon. Other than Sundays, this is the preferred lechon brand in the area. Celia's just takes over on Sunday. There's nothing really fancy about Mila's Lechon and I would rather gladly eat their grilled seafood over their lechon.
Abling's Lechon (Talisay City)
I know of 2 spaces that Abling's Lechon occupies. One is at the Gaisano Capital SRP in San Roque, Talisay City. The other is an inato-style carenderia near the Tabunok Public Market also in Talisay City. I prefer the one in Tabunok as the air conditioning at the Gaisano Capital SRP takes the crisp out of the lechon skin.
Lechon Brands I Have Yet to Try
Known for it's spicy lechon, I have yet to try Rico's Lechon. I've been craving for it for a long time now and it seems like I'll have to wait a few more years to finally try it. Rico's really has very good reviews and many of my foodie friends in Cebu attest to how good it tastes.
Tatang's Boneless Lechon
When you cannot have enough of lechon, Tatang's Boneless Lechon may be right for you. They offer a lechon buffet every Monday. And for some reason, I haven't even tried it yet. I did hear good reviews about them so it's worth checking out.
What is your favorite Cebu lechon brand? Let me know in the comments.