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Review: Cebu Zubuchon

I’ve heard the hype about Zubuchon – from the Internet, friends and family – so I finally decided to try it out myself and see if it really is worth all the rave reviews.

After it was heralded by Anthony Bourdain as “The best pig ever”, Zubuchon stood out from the rest of Cebu’s lechon houses to gain popularity worldwide. For those of you who don’t know who Bourdain is, he is an American chef and TV personality known for his cultural and culinary shows.

Zubuchon’s pigs are not derived from commercial piggeries. They are actually carefully selected pigs from the backyards of a select number of individuals. Zubuchon also takes pride that they do not use MSG or commercial flavorings in their dishes and prefer to go with organic ingredients instead. The pig is not mass-roasted with the use of machinery. It is carefully staked on bamboo poles and roasted over charcoal in the old fashioned way.

The Ambiance
Zubuchon at One Mango Avenue is very clean and sparsely-decorated. I like how it is mostly white with mirrors and has an open feel. You can see how your Zubuchon is cut and prepared at the counter too. They have three usual sauces placed on every table – vinegar, oil and soy sauce (I think). I only tried vinegar and believe me, it tastes really good. Better than your ‘pinakurat’ vinegar.

They display their chicharons on the shelves too, just in case you may want to take home some.

The Service
The service is exceptional. Frankly, I expected to be treated like crap because I was merely wearing an old faded shirt, shorts and slippers and my friends were dressed like we were just going to the next block to buy fishballs or something. But NO, we were treated like queens. Really. The waiters were friendly and very attentive, carefully placing utensils and smiling at us each time. If you want to order something else, all you had to do was catch their eye and nod and they will be right beside you in a nanosecond.

The Food

Of course, why else would we go to Zubuchon but for the lechon itself. We ordered ½ kilo for P260.00 for 3 people. Then we ordered a Garlic Friend Rice platter for P90.00 and Adobong Kangkong with Chicharon for P80.00. I forgot how much we paid for the Sola iced tea, though. (Apologies).

The Zubuchon lechon was superb. It was, by far, the best tasting lechon I ever had. Ever. The crispy skin was decadent and with vinegar, it was just perfect. I was surprised that we did not find a non-crispy pork skin anywhere in the platter because that is usually the case in Cebu lechons. The lean meat is perfect and so is the fat. It is tender and easy to chew as well. My friend said that she can taste a lot of seaweed in the pork although I don’t agree. It’s sweet and salty and made perfect with a dash of that vinegar concoction.

The Adobong Kangkong is topped with chicharon so it’s not really all that healthy. But then, if you go to Zubuchon for lunch, you know you aren’t exactly up for healthy dishes. The Kangkong is a must-try, methinks.

I did not try the Five Pork Rice Platter simply because I think the lechon is enough pork for a couple of days, so we opted for the Garlic Fried Rice platter, which was an excellent choice. I swear, I could eat the whole platter to myself.

On the downside, their lechon had a lot of bones which somehow dampened my otherwise stellar opinion of them.

The Prices

P260 for 1/2 Kilo
P490 for 1 Kilo
Rice and other carbs
Five Pork Fried Rice - P190
Sisig Fried Rice – P180
Lapulapu Daing Fried Rice – P170
Garlic Fried Rice – P90
Plain Rice Platter – P70
Garlic Rice, single – P30
Plain Rice, single – P25
Zubuchon Pancit – P190
Sisig and Tomato Pasta – P180
Sotanghon Guisado – P170

Kinilaw na Zubuchon – P290
Zubuchon Sisig – P190
Chicharon Bulaklak – P190
Chicharon – P90

Zubuchon Crispy Pata – P450
Pritchon – P380
Zubuliempo – P380
Paksiw – P250
Slow-cooked Adobo – P220
Dinuguan – P190
Chorizo – P190

Squid stuffed with Zubuchon sisig – P330
Fried Chili Shrimp – P240
Fish Fillet with Garlic and Butter – P190
Sizzling Bangus – P180

Eggplant Salad – P90
Adobong Kangkong with Chicharon – P80
Dessert Sampler – P200 (leche flan, biko, budbud kabog, ripe mango)
Ripe Mango – P70
Silvanas – P70
Leche Flan – P50
Biko – P50
Budbud Kabog – P40

They also have Fast Meals (a choice of lechon, dinuguan, adobo, pritchon and paksiw lechon) served with rice and pickles for P90 to P140 per serving.

Zubuchon is located at One Mango Avenue Bldg., Cebu City. Call them at +32 2395697. You can also order a whole lechon three days in advance by calling +32 2365264.

Location Map: