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Review: The Best Lechon is from Dumanjug

I’ve lived in Cebu my whole life. I’ve had lechons from all over: from Talamban to Talisay, and all the way down to Carcar. The best lechon is still and always will be Dumanjug’s lechon. It’s about 74 kilometers from the city, after Barili, before Moal-boal. It’s about a 2- or 3-hour drive from the city.

There’s nothing like eating lechon right after it’s been roasted and cooled. It really is a feast for the senses: seeing the pig in its roasted glory, smelling the fragrant aroma of the different herbs and spices tucked into its belly, hearing the crisp skin crackling when you slice into it, and finally tasting that glorious juicy piece of pork! Ah! This is why lechon is Cebu’s celebratory dish. It’s the embodiment of success attained after hard and grueling work. It’s a pork-sonification of work hard, play hard. It’s Cebuano. And Dumanjug is the best place to get it. Find them at the local market. Prices range from P2,800-P3,500 whole, or at P300-P350 by the kilo. Just go early so you can get the best pick.

The secret to ordering lechon is to get a good pig, termed "aslonon" (ready to roast). You want a young one around 3-4 months old because you’ll still be able to taste the milk in the meat and it’s so tender that it’ll melt in your mouth. Seriously! Also, pick a good-sized pig, meaning not big and bulky, around 3-4 feet long from snout to tail and less than a foot wide. If you’re getting a big pig for a big crowd, get ready to hear complaints of tough and dry meat. Might as well get two good pigs then get stuck with leftovers from one big one. Also, the pig must be roasted over coals and dried coconut husks. These enhance the flavor. All these ancient methods are still being observed in Dumanjug. The other lechon stations are so commercialized. They taste generic, porky, and are super greasy! That’s why I don’t eat lechon from the city. I only eat the best.

If Dumanjug’s too far for you, you can get the next best thing. Order from Alejo’s lechon. We’ve been celebrating decades with their pigs and they’ve never failed us. The skin’s always crispy and the flavor is exceptional. Call them at (+6332) 2618575. Order the P2,800 pig. They deliver it to you with "dinuguan" (pork blood concoction). But you have to remind them about the "dinuguan".

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