Manila or Cebu Lechon: A Staple Filipino Food for all Occasions

This is not about a vacation destination or where you want to settle down or retire. It is about the Filipino’s most popular and staple food in most Filipino gatherings (aside from my favorite, Lumpiang Shanghai) LECHON. 

Chasing Flavors_Lechon Cooking

In case you don’t know, the word “Lechon” is a Spanish word referring to roasted suckling pig; it is popular in countries once colonized by Spain.

Mactan Newtown Alfresco Megaworld Cebu Lechon mae Ilagan (16 of 38)

Lechon is a whole pig roasted slowly and manually over charcoal. Spices are placed inside the belly of the pig and on the skin to make it delectable.

Since the country is divided by islands and oceans, Lechon is cooked and enjoyed differently.

The two famous “styles” of Lechon are Cebu Lechon, also known as, the Visayan lechon, and Manila Lechon or the Tagalog lechon. Both look the same but are prepared, cooked, and served differently.


Cebu lechon is prepared by stuffing the pig belly with spices (onions, garlic, pepper, laurel leaves and lemon grass) it is then roasted over charcoal made from the husk of the coconut.

Mactan Newtown Alfresco Megaworld Cebu Lechon mae Ilagan (38 of 38)

As an additional flavoring, salt is rubbed on the pig’s skin, this they say will make the skin crispy.

Manila lechon, on the other hand, is prepared by placing salt and pepper inside the pig’s belly and roasted over wood charcoal. Others use Sprite or 7-up and rub it on the skin from time to time. To make the skin crispier, others also put other spices such salt and pepper. Manila lechon is served with Mang Tomas lechon Sauce. They say that a lechon is not complete without the sauce.

The first portion to be devoured when serving lechon is the skin. The crispier the better. Left over meat is set aside and made into a stew or “paksiw”; again there are two version of this dish. The visayan version used soy sauce, vinegar and pepper while the Tagalog version uses the Mang Tomas sauce and adds a lot of garlic and pepper.

Whatever style you prefer, the lechon is the most desired dish or food item during occasions, even people who are not fond of eating lechon appreciates the crispiness and taste of this dish.

Do you love lechon? Are you #teambalat or #teamlaman?