Davao Lechon Baboy has been getting nods from serious foodies much recently. This dish is part of the Filipino culture for centuries, but the variations of how it’s prepared and it’s evolution are dynamic. Davao Lechon Baboy recipe is one that redefines the quintessential dish that every Filipino family loves.
From the Spanish word “Leche” which means milk, the Philippines’ Lechon is a suckling pig that’s slowly roasted over extremely hot coals. This favorite dish has evolved to accommodate the Filipino family culture and dynamics.
Lechon has always been a staple dish in fiestas, weddings, baptisms, or any celebration. Nowadays, the Lechon not only refers to a roasted whole suckling pig, but as the celebrations got grander, the size of the lechon also got bigger so much so that what’s roasted is not always a suckling pig, but often a medium-sized adult pig. It’s almost as if there’s an unspoken rule in every celebration that everyone must have a share of the Lechon.
It is, after all, the star of the buffet table. The lechon baboy recipe is one that every Filipino recognizes.
Somehow, serving lechon to guests on any celebration has a certain effect to the perception of the social status of the family hosting the event. It is not uncommon to see guests react from admiration when they realize that lechon will be served. One can almost always hear “Bongga! May Lechon!” which indirectly means that they’re impressed that the family was able to afford serving this to guests. Because of this, serving Lechon is often considered as a highlight to any special occasion.
The price of a Lechon ranges from 3000 pesos to as much as 8000, with the price varying from the size and weight of the roasted pig. Recently, with the emergence of the regular demand of this dish, the lechon as been made available as a value meal. It can also be bought by the kilo, or just as a whole pork belly roll.
Lechon is not only a term reserved reserved for suckling pig or medium sized adult pig. As creative as Filipinos are, we have also discovered a way to make lechon manok (chicken) and, thanks to Davaoenos ingenuity, even lechon buwaya (crocodile)!
A big market for lechon manok was uncovered that a whole business for lechon manok boomed. Outlets where lechon manok are continously being roasted have mushroomed and can be seen in every corner of the country.
It is a more affordable option for anyone who’s fond of the lechon’s taste and aroma. It’s very common for family’s to share lechon manok for lunch or dinner even without celebrating anything special. It would feel like a special meal though because of the perception the Lechon brings.
The lechon buwaya, however, takes the legendary lechon to another level! It has been notoriously talked about. The public and Philippine media are raving about it. It’s new. It’s inventive. It’s controversial.
Whenever a crocodile is slaughtered for any commercial or food purposes, the Crocodile Park of Davao secures a special permit from the DENR or Department of Environment and National Resources.
The lechon recipe is quite the same as the one used for pork and chicken. The traditional way of preparing this dish includes removing the entrails, the meat is seasoned with herbs and spices, the whole pig/ chicken/ crocodile is then hoisted to a long bamboo stick (commercially, a long rod is used), and this is then slowly roasted on top of extremely hot coals. The pole or stick is continuously turned to get the meat to evenly cooked perfection. As with most things in life, this masterpiece is achieved with effort and time. This recipe is cooked for at least 3 hours.
The effort given to make a dish this marvelous is not made in vain. After long hours of slow cooking with the herbs and spices simmering, the lechon transforms into a delectable reddish brown almost golden skin outside with the inside being juicy where the meat is cooked just right. The crocodile meat, in particular, is described as a tender and a bit grainy. I guess, it cannot be easily described, but that’s why it begs to be tried. As, Ruth Reichl once said, “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
The people of Davao has always been known to take pride in their good qualities like being patient, genuine, and innovative. It’s often overlooked, but these qualities work together as they create a twist to one of the Filipinos most loved dish – the lechon. Davao’s Lechon Baboy recipe and even it’s lechon buwaya are two dishes that invite people with an adventurous palate.
The lechon has been around and enjoyed for centuries. The recipe has been tweaked, and it’s market availability has been adjusted to meet the demands of the public. It used to only be available during special and grand events, but the changing times have made it possible to make this dish as regular as getting a value meal from a fast-food chain. These changes do not
make the lechon less special. In fact, now, more than ever, it’s more loved.
This dish puts Davao in the map. If one will be dramatic, it symbolizes the evolution of culture, it’s remarkable ability to adapt to the changing demands of the world and humanity. It’s funny how one dish can speak so much about a community, a family, and even man’s the unquenchable search for novelty.
The Davao Lechon recipe will definitely continue to evolve, and this is delightful to know. It’s always going to entice people from all over the world, to see, to try, and most importantly, to taste.
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