“Best pig, ever!” – Anthony Bourdain
With the endorsement of Anthony Bourdain, one of the hottest chefs in the world (hottest here can mean any way you want), as the “best pig, ever!”, Cebu’s pride, Zubuchon is a must-visit place in the Queen City of the South.
On the day we arrived in Lapu-Lapu City, I was craving for something crisp with chockfull of cholesterol. I had food filled with cholesterol in the days leading to it but they were not crisp. Luckily for Juan and I, the boat from Consuelo, Camotes Island docked in the port that was 10-minute away from the Mactan Marina Mall branch of Zubuchon. We braved the searing heat of the Visayan sun to go to Zubuchon (after a short detour in Island Central Mall) to have our lunch.
The place was well-lit and cheery, thanks to all the red accents, from the plates to the little pig figurines, inside the restaurant. The staff was super accommodating and cheerful. I knew from the moment I walked stepped into Zubuchon that I would have a fun time there.
During the short period that we had to wait for our food to be served, I read the story of behind the name Zubuchon and the peculiar look of their lechon.
According to the short account, Zubuchon is the combination of the words “zubu”and “lechon”. “Zubu” is from the 16th century maps that refer to the island of Cebu as “Zubu” while “lechon” means stuffed and roasted pig (also known as the bane of my existence). Based on the same narrative, guests always ask the Zubuchon people why their lechon does not look the same (not as picture perfect pretty) as the other lechons. Some guests even go as fas as saying that Zubuchon lechon is “ugly, paler, and bumpy”. At this point, I smiled because who calls lechon “ugly”? It is one of the most glorious sights in the banquet. Sheesh.
Anyway, Zubuchon people claim that their lechon looks like the Betty La Fea of the lechon kingdom because they “only use fresh coconut water to baste the backyard-raised pigs. They stuff the pigs’ bellies with over a dozen fresh and dried spices and natural sea salt. They sew the pigs up with native abaca twine, and they intentionally hand-prick the pig’s skin to get air underneath it, to help crisp up the pigs while they roast for hours.”
They add that they “do not use any soy sauce or other bottled ingredients (to help provide that deep mahogany brown skin). They never use blow-torch to even out the light spots. They do not use MSG, food coloring or other chemical preservatives.
I can attest that their lechon is not as even-skinned as the other lechon, but I have had their lechon in a few occasions, and all of them tasted so damned good! I would have the lechon that is not pretty on the outside but tastes wonderful over a beauty queen lechon that I cannot distinguish from the other beauty queen lechons in terms of looks and taste.
For more information, please visit www.zubuchon.com.