Three Little Pigs
Since I traverse back and forth Cebu on a regular basis, I've become somewhat of a lechon-snob. I like my porkers tasty, crispy (skin), and tender (meat) without the over-abundance of fat; the combination is next to impossible. I've even gone as far as to roast my own lechon de leche (suckling pig) just so I can attain the perfect pork. So imagine my delight when I was invited to chow down not one, but three different types of lechon from grassroots company General's Lechon. I say, why settle for one when you can have three?
I don't normally attend events for bloggers, but when Anton and Spanky call for a gathering, I'm (almost) always in because I know these two have dining du jour down pat. And when they holler "Lechon", my ears begin ringing.
Why a trio of roasted pork? Well, because there is a variety of flavors to choose from General's Lechon. Above is the Chili-Garlic version, hence the mouthful of chili and, duh, garlic. The other two flavors were the Original and the Curry variety. Curry FTW?! Let me get back to you on that.
A native of San Carlos, Negros Occidental, Generals Lechon is the brainchild of Brian (pictured), whose outgoing personality is infectious and perfect as the product endorser of his lechons. Why General's Lechon? He points to his beautiful wife, and I understood immediately. Smart man.
He explained how the pigs are hand-picked from the province and that his claim to fame was the crispy skin of every lechon he serves.
He then demonstrates an interesting way of slicing through the pork, not your usual butcher-style chops but began with precise parallel cuts from head to tail. Then Brian proceeded to cut it sideways so the meat and skin are conveniently portioned out to squares.
I realized that Brian was following his own Lechon Code, or or suggestions on how to perfectly piece through this crispy pork. #1 was to "Crisscross the Skin". Check
Picking up a square, I realize that the pork skin was very lean and did not have a layer of fat, only a nice crispy layer with some of the meat combined. Rule # 1 also said not to mix the skin with the meat since it will make the skin soggy. My first bite was a crackle of delight, followed by some finger licking sounds. I liked this skin, a lot. As you can see, even from that shallow a level, herbs and spices are already rubbed in to keep the flavor prominent even from the first layer.
Inside the cavity of the lechon are mounds of herbs and spices such as lemongrass, chili, peppers, garlic and salt to flavor the meat from the inside out. The Original flavor had garlic and lemongrass, but the Chili-Garlic flavor had a spicy kick plus an overabundance of garlic which I immediately leaned towards.
#3 Rule was to Fork The Belly. Belly meat, the parts hiding by the table, is the BEST meat for flavor and salt addicts. This is great as pulled pork, usually comes out in layers and slices, and tastes damn good.
For some reason, I really enjoyed the Curry Lechon, rubbed with yellow Thai curry. It lent a mild nutty-curry flavor which smelled divine. One person noted that, it didn't taste like lechon anymore but pork curry, but I was really surprised how the sweetness of the pork lent itself well to the spiciness of the curry.
People could not resist the Chili-Garlic and was an instant hit, catering to Filipinos taste buds for salty and spicy.
Of course I was also drawn towards the Chili-Garlic, and deemed it have one of the best flavors for lechon that I've had in a while, outside of Cebu, of course.
When I attempted to come back for seconds, I realized that everyone else was ahead of me. This is where Rule #4 Tear the Ears, and #5 Dice the Back & Legs, applies. as those are usually for the late comers. Three little piggies, all WIPED OUT within minutes. General's Chicken has that effect on people.
Even Marlon, the lechonero, couldn't help but grin at me: Tsk tsk... too late. You snooze you lose.
I could not, however, get passed the butt plug of foil. Couldn't we have stuffed it with carrots or something? (bad joke)
Price per Lechon P3000-P6000 ($70-$135)
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