Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zubuchon: Cebu Lechon At Its Best?

Anthony Bourdain with Zubuchon

Zubuchon Cebu Lechon logo
When Anthony Bourdain finally decided to come to the Philippines and do and episode for his show No Reservations, he proclaimed Cebu Lechon as the "Best Pig Ever!"  When a culinary legend like him endorses something as the best, then you better give it a try as well.  While the Cebu Lechon he ate wasn't readily available in the market before, thanks to Market Manila, retails shops have opened in strategic locations in Cebu city.  The first stall opened at the Banilad Town Center and another one can found at the domestic pre-departure lounge of the Cebu International Airport.

Banilad Town Center - home of Zubuchon Cebu Lechon
So when my badminton buddies decided to fly over to Cebu for a series of friendly games against the Cebu team first weekend of April, I made sure to put this pig on my list!  

Zubuchon Cebu Lechon - Unconventional Lechon Skin

Just look at that ei! Doesn't that make you wanna sing "Isn't it lovely, Isn't it wonderful..." with matching head bobbing just like that of Stevie Wonder! Read on to know the final food scouts verdict!

Zubuchon stall at Banilad Town Center

Growing up in Davao and practically raised eating Lechon for every special occasion, I believe I know how a good Lechon tastes.  And while Cebu Lechon got ahead in promoting itself as the Lechon-capital of the Philippines, Davao Lechon is equally as good as Cebu Lechon.  And I've tried a lot of Cebu Lechon in my life as well having had the opportunity to be assigned in Cebu for 3 years! 

Moving on, if you were to ask this food scout's opinion, Zubuchon Cebu Lechon is not the best Cebu Lechon there is.  As a matter of fact, I would go as far in saying that it is not southern style (Cebu-style or Davao-style) Lechon at all.  While the cooking process is the same, Zubuchon Lechon for me, lacks the Lemongrass kick that southern-style lechon is identified with.  Instead, it tries to project a gourmet image by using western herbs like Rosemary.  It reminded me of eating Cochinillo in Spain.  

Another thing that brought my spirits down was how the Lechon skin was prepared.  While popping the skin to resemble that of the skins in Lechon Kawali or Crispy Pata makes the skin crispier, it can also be overdone and make the skin really tough to bite into.  Not to mention that it makes the skin rough.  That was what I got and it made the skin inedible for me.  The Lechon skin is the best part and yet I didn't get to enjoy it.  I still prefer my Lechon skin crispy and silky.  

Zubuchon in 1-Kilo packs
Interviewed a couple of true-blue Cebuanos and you can tell from their reactions that Zubuchon is not for them as well.  The stacks of still unsold prepacked 1-kilo Zubuchon Lechon in the stall on a lunch weekend should have been enough indication already.  The packaging though is perfect for easy transport for Manila-bound passengers who want a Lechon taste that's still hard to find in Manila.  

Verdict: You'd go for this simply to try what Anthony Bourdain tasted.  And you wouldn't be coming back for more given all the better options there are out there.  I have to admit though that I've tasted less than a kilo of this pig.  It's worth giving another chance.  

If you're looking for Cebu Lechon, check out this directory of Lechon de Cebu.  Makes me think of coming up with a directory for Davao Lechon as well.  

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  1. Have you tried Rico's Lechon Steph? If not, you should! I tell you it's the best. Super love their spicy lechon:)

  2. Hi Ting!

    is that in Cebu? Haven't tried Rico's pa I think. Sige next time I'll try that.

    Here in Davao meron din Spicy Lechon c/o Beko's Biik ^^ Sarap din.

  3. yep, cebu. naa sa talamban ilang lechonan. super yummy jud.

    cute lagi ang name da, Beko's Biik. hehehe.

  4. ^^ thanks ting!

    yup, Beko is the angga of the owner and they really serve biik! smaller than the usual lechon jud ^^

  5. hehe same sentiments.

    write a directory, it brings traffic! thanks for the ex-link! ;)

  6. Only Manileno was impressed by hear for taste I totally agree with your post.

    I watch the video of bourdain, the lechon skin he ate is the regular lechon skin we all loved.

  7. it's understandable to see Manilenyos finding it good because they are not exposed to the real thing ;-)

  8. davao lechon is better than cebu lechon!!! hahaha! i love the sarsa which they don't have ;) joey's, kang's and may isa pa kaming binibilhan! but that said, i still ask stan to buy me Zubuchon each time he goes to cebu. just toast the skin and it gets crispy and yummy again. so i guess you won't like general's lechon - making waves here in manila for their curry lechon :D

  9. Hi Jenny!

    hahaha ^^ I like davao lechon more as well. ;-) I've heard of joey's and kang's but when I was there we usually ordered at Alejo's ^^

    I had a feeling that Zubuchon's lechon skin would be good for reheating ... it could be because of all the pimples. hahaha Pero when eaten fresh it's really tough - makabungi! I guess there would be some parts that are not as tough but all the skin in the pic above was very tough. :-(

    ei! No qualms with CURRY Lechon. I would love to try that. I just hope it's not 1k per kilo like that organic lechon we saw at powerplant! hahaha

    I would classify Curry lechon like SPICY Lechon with chili or Lechon Paksiw already. It doesn't claim to be lechon like we know lechon should be. hahaha Kasi Zubuchon had to use "zubu" in its name! parang it's saying it's "cebu" hahaha.


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