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Zubuchon – The Best Lechon (in Cebu)!?

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After our Danao, Bohol trip, we decided to fly out via Cebu, and our last stopover was in Banilad Town Center. We decided to stop there because it is near Our Lady of Peace by the Pink Sisters where we wanted to hear Sunday Mass. I remembered the buzz about Marketmanila’s Zubuchon before the Christmas Season, and bringing home a Cebu Lechon was the perfect pasalubong for our families.

I heard a lot of foodies raving about the lechon, so I was excited to try it for myself.


I was surprised that the stall still had a lot of supply after lunch on a Sunday. Usually, if you buy in CNT or any other lechon places in Cebu, the lechon is always sold out in the morning.


The first taste test was very good. The skin of the lechon is as crispy as chicharon. The story is they would puncture the lechon skin while it is being cooked to get that crispiness; hence, it is called the acupunctured pig.

The lechon has a full flavor in itself, with no need for any sauce. It is not too salty like CNT, and it has that herby flavor from the spices. I like their claim that they don’t use MSG. (I was wondering if CNT and other Cebu Lechon suppliers use it for their lechon… Would you know?)


I love Zubuchon because it is lechon done in an old-school manner but with a noticeable leap forward in terms of taste. The pig is cooked naturally without any MSG, artificial mixes, and artificial painting of the skin. You can taste the quality of the herbs they use…

“We use only the freshest and often home grown organic lemongrass, green onions, siling labuyo or peppers, local sea salt, and other herbs and spices.” – Joel, MarketManila.com

No doubt, this is the best lechon I’ve tasted in Cebu — better than CNT. It was able to justify its premium pricing because of its artisanal quality.


You need to buy a minimum of 2 kilos so that it could be boxed. You have the option of having it chopped or to have it wrapped as is. If you’re asking your friends to bring you a Zubuchon pasalubong, it would easily cost you P900 for 2 kilos.


However, the problem with Zubuchon is that it is only good 2-3 hours from the time you purchase it. It is perishable, so some people buy the Frozen Lechon. The frozen ones are not that good anymore when you transport them to Manila. Sometimes it is better to buy the fresh ones from the airport branch (but P40/kilo more expensive).

Despite the extensive write-up you’ll get on how to preserve the taste of the lechon when you bring it to Manila, it does not taste as good as eating it in Cebu. I don’t think there will be a way for Manilenos to enjoy it, not unless the lechon itself is cooked in Manila.


I was so proud to bring a box of Zubuchon for my family, but the taste wasn’t the same as when I tasted it in Cebu. (Maybe you have some suggestions on how to best preserve that taste and crispiness of the skin?)

You can read the featured stories in the store here:
The Marketman and his Zubuchon, and The Best Lechon ever.


Banilad Town Center
(stall in front of Robinsons Supermarket)
Telephone: 63 32-2365264, 32-5835699
Mobile: 63 917-6274761
Weekdays: 10am – 7pm (Except Monday)
Weekend: 9am – 7pm

Fresh / Frozen Lechon (P450/ Kilo)
Frozen Lechon Ready to Cook Sisig (P295)
Lechons from PHP4,000-PHP6,000 (depending on the size)


Mactan Domestic Airport, Pre-departure Lounge
(Right after the last security checkpoint in the airport)
 Airport Store Hours: 6am to 9pm

Fresh/ Frozen Lechon (P490/ Kilo)
Frozen Lechon Ready to Cook Sisig (P295)

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anton signature 
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: 63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)

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Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: My Pilipinas is… Photo Contest

P.S. What’s the best Cebu Lechon for you?

You might also like:

Sabroso’s Native Lechon

Leonardo’s Chicken inside the Lechon

6-Ways Lechon

Posted by Anton on March 6, 2010 in 07. Foodie Discoveries | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack (0) | Email this post

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Hershey said…

How did they freeze the lechon? I think using a blast freeze might help if they didn’t blast freeze it *but that’s market man, knowing his standards,it was probably blast frozen*

Anton said in reply to Hershey

Not sure, but It looks like it was blast frozen… But it is still different when you bring it back to Manila.


Mom-Friday said…

Buti ka pa nakatikim na ng Zubuchon ni MM… 🙂 so I guess I really need to plan a trip there to enjoy it. I hope you provide a list of your recommended local lechonan here in Manila for my impulse cravings? heehee… I only know of 1 that I usually order from for parties, Carlito’s Lechon, really very good too but stocks are limited so always advanced order.

Anton said in reply to Mom-Friday

Where is Carlito’s lechon?

Live an Awesome Life,

Anton Diaz
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: 63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)

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Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: Zubuchon – The Best Lechon (in Cebu)!?

Mom-Friday said in reply to Anton

Carlito’s Lechon is by my caterer Leilani Marcelino. I only order by phone and never went to their branch/office at P.tuazon Cubao. Tel. 421-9198 / 724-1057

Mom-Friday said in reply to Mom-Friday

by the way, off topic, I just thought you might want to try and check out this small new Chinese-Cantonese resto on Villa Ortigas, Granada St. called PROSPEROUS. We had a really good meal there so I made a post about it here: http://www.mymomfriday.com/2010/03/prosperous-sunday-lunch.html

Jason said…

Hi Anton,

I bought mine (fresh/non-frozen) from the airport and heated it the day after so I wasn’t able to taste it fresh but even then I still thought that the lechon was really good. I don’t think CNT can even compare to it. I particularly loved that they used rosemary for seasoning.

Anton said in reply to Jason

Yeah I guess CNT is just the most popular but not the best according to people in Cebu. I haven’t tasted the others so I won’t be able to compare.  But yeah I like the rosemary taste in the meat.

oh my. From your photo, it looks like a juicy lechon ah.
Maybe I should try to squeeze in a Cebu trip this year.
Hubby’s a Cebuano but now overseas. Another excuse to
visit Cebu & his family. Hehehe.

Thanks for the post. 🙂

Gigi said…

I’m originally from Cebu. I cringe when people look for Cebu lechon and automatically think of CNT. I think CNT was ahead (or the only one still?) of the others in packing lechon in a box, making it convenient for people to bring home as pasalubong. And, I can’t think of any restaurant that serves Cebu lechon but CNT. Other than that, CNT lechon doesn’t taste good at all. I’ve had better lechons in Manila/elsewhere.

I’d say, order lechon from Alejo’s. Or Rico’s. If you wanna bring back lechon to Manila (or have one sent airport to airport), go with Rico’s (they know how to pack it well, with better chances of the skin arriving still crispy). If you can’t get from Alejo’s or Rico’s, I’d say try Cang’s.

I’ve not tried MM’s lechon yet. I’ve seen it at the airport but wanted to try it fresh. I have some family members who still prefer Alejo’s or Rico’s though. Still, I hope to try MM’s soon, maybe come Easter. 😀

Anton said in reply to Gigi…

Thanks for this comment. I’ll be trying Alejo’s, Rico’s, and Cang’s when I go back to Cebu. I’ll do an ultimate taste test of Cebu Lechon 🙂



Hahahah =)
I remember eating all the lechon you had in UTT 3.0… =)
It was one of the best days of my life…. haaaaaayyy….. hehe =)

Marketman said…

Hi Anton,

Thanks for the post on Zubuchon and I am glad you got a chance to try it. Here are a couple of comments which might help to clarify things…

1. The BEST WAY to enjoy a lechon is when it is minutes off the flames… in other words wickedly fresh. However, many purveyors do sell their lechons for up to 8 hours after it has been cooked. At Zubuchon, they try to sell the lechon within 4 hours after it is cooked or packaged. And yes, the transported version is NOT as good as the freshly cooked lechon, but we feel it is still noticeably better than others we have tried, but we are biased at this point. 🙂

2. A few other purveyors in Cebu claim they are MSG-free. But if you want to be sure, ask them the direct question “Do you use any MSG or any instant flavoring products with MSG (such as sinigang mix, ginisa mix, etc.). I think MOST lechons in Cebu and commercially manufactured in Manila have a lot of MSG. I have interviewed several lechoneros and almost all of them admit to extensive MSg use, sometimes as much as a CUP of MSG per lechon, depending on size. And they add lots of salt on top of that. Personally, I think you can make a tasty lechon without added MSG, but it inevitably costs more to make as fresh spices and other ingredients are needed in abundance.

3. Our frozen lechon comes with instructions to re-heat, but it is best done pritchon style in my opinion, though we have several regulars who seem to like it just re-heated. The skin can be crisped up in a hot oven.

4. We are about to begin shipping whole lechons to Manila, as after 9 experiments we seem to have a formula which yields reasonably good lechons, despite the extended travel time. We have no plans of cooking these in Manila at this point.

5. Finally, economy isn’t necessarily cheaper or better value. When ordering whole lechons, ALWAYS ask the purveyor to give you a reasonable range of whole cooked weight, rather than silly estimates of “good for 25-35 people”… Pig prices FLUCTUATE wildly, specially during holiday periods, so it’s best to ask what to expect. In other words, don’t compare one person’s PHP3,500 peso quoted lechon with another’s lechon solely on price. You might find that the first purveyor will deliver a 5 kilo total weight lechon for PHP3,500 or roughly pHP700 per kilo on average, while another will deliver a 10 kilo lechon for PHP4,500 or roughly PHP450 per kilo on average. And don’t believe them when they say they don’t know how much it weighs, since if they ship it, that data will be on the bill of lading of the airline anyway, less packaging.

Enjoy your lechon, wherever you buy it from! 🙂

Anton said in reply to Marketman

Thanks for the great tip on ordering whole lechon and comparing it based on weight.

I would agree that doing a pritchon style would be better, than oven re-heat. But I guess shipping the entire lechon in Manila and being able to preserve its crispiness is the key. Let us know if the whole pig shipment process is already ready and commercially available in the market.

Also, I just noticed though, Zubuchon is not that popular among people in Cebu. Their top of mind is CNT and if you ask them if they tried Zubuchon, most of them would say NO. I find it odd though that not a lot of cebuanos have tried it since it was available in the market since November.

Marketman said…

Oops, forgot two points…

We cook lechons for delivery to our outlets in the morning and early afternoon. Our airport outlets get 2-3 deliveries per day on most days to ensure the lechon is as fresh as possible.

Zubuchon does not charge for boxes for orders of two kilos or more. So actually, our effective cost is the same if not slightly more than our competitors, and all our lechons are stuffed with all natural herbs and spices and bathed in olive oil, plus are cooked the old-fashioned way, using experienced lechoneros and traditional bamboo poles…not automated roasting machinery.


Anton said in reply to Marketman

Thanks for the tip on the delivery times. I was wondering about it because it would be best to get the fresh lechon when it is delivered.

On the box, it is very nice and I was wondering why you were not charging for it 🙂 But I guess it is a good incentive to buy 2 kilos worth approx P1,000 🙂  Sana may market manila na signature yung box 🙂

Ed said in reply to Marketman

I sure hope we can order from Zubuchon from Manila and just have it picked up at some location here… (not at the airport) kahit may surcharge.

Manila Girl said…

Ohhh this made me hungry. I’m not a fan of ordinary lechon but when it’s Cebu lechon it’s a different story!

By the way Anton, I just discovered this cafe and thought you might want to try it:

La Scala Cafe

My BF and I really enjoyed it. 🙂

Anton said in reply to Manila Girl

I’ve heard of La Scala Cafe but have not been there… thanks for the tip. It must be that good if you enjoyed it.

Live an Awesome Life,

Anton Diaz
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: 63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)

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Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: Zubuchon – The Best Lechon (in Cebu)!?

gli said…

any cebu lechon but CNT!!!
they say the best are those from talisay and carcar. haven’t been there but the taxi driver (they never fail anywhere in the country) brought us to those turo-turo type lechon makers on the way to the cebu airport. they (the pigs) were awesome!!!
try also zubuchon sisig. say a prayer for the pig and for yourself before eating those. any meal may be your last hehe.

bon said…

�ontrary to the posts here, my family and I loves CNT. We have brought whole lechons from CNT, Cangs and Zabuchon to Manila and for us, CNT is still tops. Maybe because we like our lechon on the salty side. My hubby described Zabuchon as gourmet lechon for the rosemary flavor.

mmg said…

Hi, I’ve been wanting to sample Zubuchon for quite some time now and finally got the chance to do so this evening. My sister was in Cebu over the weekend and she brought home a kilo of frozen Zubuchon last night. We thawed and heated it according to the instructions given. The skin was no longer crisp of course, so I asked our cook to fry it (also per instruction).

I so wanted it to be good but I was quite disappointed. It was way too salty, even with vinegar. My tongue and palate still feel quite sore from all the saltiness. The skin did crisp up a bit but it was like eating a brown salt chip. Waah!

My sister didn’t like it either and said that she should’ve just bought lechon from CNT.

Anton said in reply to mmg…

Thanks for sharing your experience! I don’t think there would be a way to transport the Zubuchon to Manila and for it to maintain its quality. The taste is totally different already when transported to Manila.

Pam said…

My mom has a no fail way of making lechon skin crispy after buying from store or after storing it in the freezer/ref — Just fry the lechon skin. Depending on the quality of lechon skin, one can either put a little cooking oil or none at all and fry away. Crispy and tasty lechon then awaits to be eaten. : )

Anton said in reply to Pam…

Thanks Pam for this tip 🙂

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