After discovering a good and cheap lechon place just outside the IT Park, my friends (Steph and Rad) brought me to another option; one that was as good; okay fine perhaps even better than my first lechon favorite. Called Tatang's Lechon, it was another street dining experience that I would have a hard time forgetting when I move back to Bacolod.
Cowboy style dining
With so many different lechon stalls abound Cebu, how do you exactly find one that's better than the rest? Looking back, I remember thinking lechon was just lechon. How could an extra ingredient make each stall different from one another? What quality does a really-good-damn-it lechon have that gives it its boost from its competition. Is it how its cooked? How it was marinated? Does its meat even have anything to do with it?
After trying out Tatang's Lechon, I was able to make mental comparisons between it and my recent lechon find: 7 Boneless Inasal. For one thing, Tatang's was the more popular name. Having started last October 2012, they have already established their name not just in Cebu, but in Davao as well. Plus, they deliver their lechon to Manila-- what could be even better than that? Apart from availability, there are actually some things to look out for in judging a good lechon. Based on some research, here are the things to consider:
These babies needed 40 minutes more to cook!
A well-cooked lechon needs to have skin roasted to a perfect red and crispy hue. What I learned from my Dad (after plenty of years of observing him) was that he would always ask to sample the skin. When biting into the skin, there needs to be a certain level of 'CRRRUUUUNNCCCHHHH' that you hear. If it was the right crispiness that he preferred and had the flavors infused on its fatty exterior, it was a good buy. Otherwise, if the skin was 'makunat' or limp, he'd look for another lechon vendor.
1/4 kilo Original Lechon (P 112)
You'll know a good lechon when its meat has marbled well. In the sense of its word, the meat needs to contain intra-mascular fat yet should not be layered with the meat. Unfortunately, this factor highly relies on the breed and diet of the pig. Unless they've been sourced directly by a strict breeder, the quality of meat may become a hit and miss. (source: Cebu Best Lechon)
My comparison between 7 Boneless Inasal and Tatang's is that they are two different ends of the spectrum-- while 7 Boneless Inasal has plenty of fatty part, Tatang's had a generous serving of meat. Personally, there are days where I just really want lots of fat on my lechon and there are days when I prefer meat. I think this factor is a huge issue to consider in deciding which the best lechon in Cebu is.
1/2 kilo Spicy Lechon (P 258)
One thing to remember when buying Cebu lechon is that it usually comes in two varieties-- original and spicy. If you're looking for the original version, its taste should have a generous amount of saltiness to it when you first try it. However, it should also not be overpowering that the hairs on the back of your neck will rise up. Meanwhile, if you're buying the spicy variety, the best area to taste the spices are the ones nearest the ribs. In Tatang's Lechon's case, it is the portion where there is a dark gathering of spices that look like black pepper.
An all time favorite-- Puso! (P 6 each)
Prices for Tatang's Lechon vary according to weight: P495 for 1 kilo of original lechon and P515 for 1 kilo of spicy lechon. Hands down, the best seller is their spicy lechon!
Like I mentioned, Tatang's Lechon and 7 Boneless Inasal are two different ends of a spectrum. Depending on your preference, you may go for the one with more fat or meat. Shamefully, I tend to like the former but during days when I go with the meaty lechon, I know now that there's Tatang's Lechon to fulfill the deed.
Tatang's Lechon is a small open-air stall located in the corner of A.S. Fortuna and Hernan Cortez Streets, Banilad, Cebu City. The best landmark to look for is that it is right beside Matia's. For information, you may call 032 3164719 or 09175478561. They also have delivery. www.tatangslechon.com