Monday, November 28, 2011

Beauty and the Beast - our daughter vs. lechon in Cebu

Here are a couple of photos from our July-August trip to the Philippines, showing our daughter clowning around in Cebu with a fresh lechon graciously provided by her Lolo and Lola (grandma and grandpa) shortly before her 8th birthday.   While all the Pinoys and Pinays reading this will of course know all about lechon, many others, barring people from Spain and its former colonial possessions, will probably not be familiar with the other fellow in these photos.  

My friend, Mr. Lechon

I'm not scared of lechon baboy!


Lechon, also known in the Philippines as lechon baboy, is a roasted young pig (although in Latin America I think for their lechón they use larger/medium size pigs) traditionally cooked on a turnspit over charcoal; coconut charcoal in the Philippines. Although the term "lechón" in Spanish literally means suckling pig, the ones used in the Philippines are a bit bigger and are typically around 10 kg.   I would assume that different countries formerly colonized by the Spanish have different spices and cooking styles, but I am only familiar with Filipino style lechon.  Lechon is prepared throughout the year for any special occasion or party, during festivals, and for the holidays.  After removing the entrails and seasoning the body cavity with a variety of spices (usually lemongrass, anise, onions, and garlic), the young pig is cooked by skewering the entire animal on a rotisserie turnspit and cooking it in a pit filled with charcoal.  It is roasted on all sides for at least several hours  until done.  The process of roasting and basting results in making the pork skin very crisp, and it is considered by many the most desirable part of the lechon.  In my experience, the skin is the first part of the lechon to "go" at parties, so better get in line before it disappears!   It's masarap (delicious!), it's healthy (yeah, right!), and an experience no foreigner or tourist to the Philippines should miss. 

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