How to Blog about Zubuchon without Mentioning Anthony Bourdain

I waited until my last day in Cebu to visit Zubuchon, and this was a few hours before heading to the airport. Saving the “best” for last, so to speak. Smashed from the previous night’s partying, I was roused into wakefulness by my friend Mark, who was also in Cebu for a couple of days for work. He just arrived and would be staying for the next week while I would be leaving that day, so even if I walked on zigzag tracks I managed to get out and meet him at the Zubuchon branch in Escario.

Zubuchon Escario is a short walk from the City Capitol, a brief jeepney ride from Diplomat Hotel, where I was staying. Since a hangover headache accompanied me, I chose to get a taxi, which only cost me P60. By the time I got there, the restaurant was only half-full. I quickly picked a window table.

I was excited to eat in Zubuchon because the last time I was in Cebu, my Cebuano friends dissuaded me from going there. They said it was overrated and expensive—now I can judge for myself.

Afraid that I would vomit a muddle of gin, beer, rum, and lechon all over Zubuchon’s spotless interiors, I ordered the Zubuchon Fast Meal (PhP140), a set composed of what I estimate to be 1/4 kilo of lechon, rice, and atsara (pickles). I was pretty sure a quarter-kilo of roast pig would be enough to bring forth a verdict, and perhaps compare it to CnT, which I totally loved when I first went to Cebu.

But to start our lechon lunch, we had the Eggplant Salad (PhP90) first. Nothing special with Zubuchon’s version—tomatoes, green mangoes, and eggplant slices—except maybe that the ingredients were all very fresh.

I rarely order drinks when dining out except for Regular Coke (Coke Zero is disgusting, does anyone agree?), but I got so intrigued with Zubuchon’s Kamias Shake.

I was expecting a lime-like taste, but this beverage actually tasted sweet, with the level of sweetness that’s just right and not too saccharine. I loved the pulpy texture and the refreshing effect—just like a watermelon shake!

And now, on to the lechon.

I judge meat dishes based on how they taste without an accompanying sauce. For me, the sauce is meant to complement—if not enhance—the flavor of the dish itself, without overpowering it or hiding the fact that it’s a bland, flavorless dish meant to be put to trash (harsh!). Zubuchon’s lechon is precisely that. It has an incredibly subtle flavor, the hints of herbs and spices used to cook it ever-so-gently tickling the taste buds, but not too subtle as to require one to drench it with vinegar or soy sauce. The meat is so tender, and the skin remarkably crispy.

While CnT Lechon is much saltier, Zubuchon’s has a more balanced flavor—even bordering into being too clean, if you know what I mean. Perhaps that’s why my friends prefer CnT. I’m not saying Zubuchon is better, but I’m not saying CnT is, either. It just depends on whether you like your lechon meticulously prepared, cooked by hand, punctured to ensure that the skin is crispy—then Zubuchon is your pig. But if you like your lechon to taste like the traditional way—salty, oily, fatty—then go for CnT.

This is a senseless debate for me, actually, since I have decided that Rico’s spicy lechon is the best. When my sister took home an entire spicy lechon from Rico’s for the family a few months back, I wanted to submit her name to the list of candidates deserving to become saints. I don't have a photo of Rico's lechon, but you may want to check out their site here.

It’s just me, I love it rough and dirty.

Zubuchon Escario
Escario Bldg., 731 Escario St cor Clavano St
Cebu City, Cebu
(032) 583-569013

Zubuchon also has branches in Banilad, One Mango Mall, I.T. Park, Mactan, and Mactan International Airport.
Visit their Facebook page for more info: Zubuchon

pepe samson

About Pepe Samson

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  1. I agree that Coke Zero is disgusting. Nice post, Pepe!

    The Exaggerated Zeal

    1. Happy that someone has the same observation about Coke Zero! LOL. Thanks Fred. :)

  2. Hey, great post! And you got a great photo of Zubuchon's lechon. That was a fun and interesting read. Rico's actually also has a retail dining outlet now at The Ridges, Mabolo. :)

    Babe for Food - your BFF in Cebu dining! :)

  3. Yey to Regular Coke! :) - Ria <3


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