The last time I ever saw a whole lechon de leche was in December 2006. A good friend of ours gifted us with the erstwhile “star of Filipino feasts” as a going away present. :D Here in the US, lechon de leche is not very common, and for very obvious and understandable reasons. For one, it is very expensive. It costs more than $200.00.
At the double birthday celebration of a dear friend and his dad in Dallas last Saturday, we were thrilled when the lechon made its way to the dining table. Abby was double thrilled! She can’t quite believe that there’s a pig right smack in the middle of the dining table. Hee hee. She enjoyed the crispy skin of the lechon. So did I! I conveniently forgot that I’ve been avoiding pork since February. Oh well.
The lechon’s ears are missing. But nobody really cared. Hee hee.
It doesn’t taste nearly the same as the ones we have back home. But when you’re thousands of miles away from home, it’s easy to forget how the really good ones taste. ;)
Here are some lechon facts from Wiki:
Lechón (Tagalog: Litson and Cebuano: Inasal) is the Spanish word for suckling pig. In the Philippines, it connotes a whole roasted pig, lechón baboy. Chicken and beef are also popular. The process of lechón involves the whole pig/piglet, chicken, or cattle/calf being slowly roasted over charcoal.
Lechón is often cooked during national festivities (known as fiestas), the holiday season, and other special occasions such as weddings, graduations, birthdays and baptisms, or family get-togethers. The lechón is usually the highlight and the most popular dish of these events. It is usually served with a liver-based sauce. However, in some cases, it may be served Chinese style with steamed buns and a sweet plum sauce.
Another version of lechón, called lechón kawali, involves boiling then frying pieces of pork.
Leftover lechón in the Philippines is easily recycled into another delectable dish, Paksiw na Lechon. Paksiw na Lechon involves cooking the left-over Lechon by boiling it in vinegar making the meat moist and the skin very soft.
In Metro Manila, a popular place to purchase Lechon is La Loma, an area within the boundary area between Manila and Quezon City. Many restaurants selling Lechon year round can be found there.
Lechon Cebu is a very popular variety of the dish.
The typical Filipino method of roasting involves placing the pig on a spit and roasting it over charcoals while wiping the skin with a brush made out of leaves drenched in water and the pig’s own fat. This makes the skin “pop” and become crunchy.
The pig had always been the center of communal feasts in pre-Hispanic Philippines, and “Lechon” is the normal manner it is prepared