Other towns in the Philippines may contest the title, but only the Zubuchon has been described as ‘the best pig ever’ by no less than Anthony Bourdain. This is Market Man’s version of the Filipino lechon (roasted pig) and it was named as such because Cebu was identified as ‘Zubu’ in old Spanish maps. The ‘chon’ was taken from the last syllable of thelechon. The well-respected food blogger wanted to recreate the Cebuano lechon the old-fashioned way, i.e., sans the artificial flavor enhancers that sadly characterize the dishes being cooked and served at most homes and restaurants. The painstaking research that followed, lots of trial and error experimentations being done and a dose of imagination along the way finally led to the Zubuchon.
The media and food bloggers picked on the success of the roasted pig soon enough. It was never meant to be an enterprise at the onset but perhaps due to growing public clamor and curiosity, Mr. MM replicated the Zubuchon for more people to taste and enjoy. He started with a small kiosk at the Banilad Town Center in Cebu City, which was then followed by another retail outlet at the domestic waiting lounge at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. A brand logo and some surprising Zubuchon spin-off recipes were conceptualized along the way. And after a few years of just providing take-out services, two Zubuchon restaurants would finally be opened very soon. Cebu’s very own poster pig has finally arrived.
I sampled my first Zubuchon back in 2009. I remember missing the church service that Sunday morning just so I could pick up our reserved orders. Although priority is given for those who would call in advance, it it still advisable to be at the site earlier so you could still choose your preferred portions. There is also a chance that the lechons would all be wiped out since you would also be competing with throngs of walk-in customers.
My friends were divided that lunch time though. This is quite understandable because we grew up eating a lechon that looks smooth and predominantly red. Market Man, I later learned,does not apply soy sauce on the skin of the Zubuchon pig nor does he use MSG or any seasoning mix too. Other than the aesthetic detail, I liked the Zubuchon overall. The rich and balanced flavors stuck to the meat probably because of the ‘acupuncture’ that was done before the pig was roasted and rotated by human hands. It tastes thankfully different from the numerous lechon I’ve tasted so far.
I look forward then to my second bite of the Zubuchon at any of Market Man’s Cebu restaurants very soon. I do hope that these would also be open by then. The suspense is killing me but I know that to sample what probably is the world’s best pig is worth all the wait.
There are many options in getting a bite of the Zubuchon even if you are not in Cebu City at this point. You can ask your friends who would be visiting the island to pick up some kilos (Php400-Php600) at the domestic airport terminal or at the Banilad Town Center for you. The Zubuchon crew could also transport an entire lechon for pick-up at the airport terminal at your end.
+63 32 2365264
Banilad outlet: +63 32 5835699