The words Davao Lechon has been widespread throughout the city and the country but before that, what and why Lechon?

Among the most popular food in the Philippines is a cripy spit-roasted suckling pig called “Lechon”. This dish originated from the Philippine’s Spanish roots, it has been a staple for special occasions like “fiestas” (or festivals) and gatherings. Being wildly popular and indubitably delicious, it is a guilty pleasure to a lot of locals and foreigners that have had a taste of it. The crispy texture of the skin is then paired with a tender, juicy and savoury meat filling will surely make you knees weak (sometimes literally), and your tummy growling for more. It is unavoidable that a lot of lechon houses has been constantly sprouting around the country and on the is ever prominent is “Davao Lechon”

Davao Lechon as Staple Food for Dabawenyos

Davao City (the origin of Davao Lechon), a city in Mindanao – one of the three island groups in the Philippines. The third largest city in the country, therefore, it is not surprising that it held one or even a few more of the oldest lechon houses in the Philippines. Despite of having a few areas of Muslim majority, lechon houses in Davao are still prominent for its historical relevance. Davao Lechon has been a staple for Davaoeños (Davao locals) since the 1960s and is still a very much sought-after dish by a lot of people. The dish has become a household viand and no longer limited to being served only on special occasions. The emergence of lechon houses in Davao has shown that it is true to not withhold the joys of life, in this case, the joy of eating lechon when it can be readily available.

History of Davao Lechon

Although a lot of cities have come to make their own version of the dish like Lydia’s lechon in Metro Manila and the more known, Rico’s lechon in Cebu, there are undoubtedly a greater number of places in the Philippines where we can get quality and delicious lechon. Davao Lechon is well known as it is one of the oldest places in the Philippines to serve the dish. One historic area is known to Davaoeños as the “lechon capital in Davao” and this area is located in the streets of Chavez. The restaurants in this location have been serving lechon since the 1960s, this is around the time the Spanish colonization has already ceased in the Philippines but a portion of their culture has been acquired and retained.

Davao Lechon and its Variety

The popularity of Lechon continued to grow and such, it was reinvented into different types. As to any other city in the Philippines, Davao Lechon comes in different sizes – like lechon de leche (baby roasted pork), and types – like spicy lechon for those that want a better kick with their food. Some also dip their lechon with sauces like the very famous liver sauce or the all-around sarsa “Mang Tomas” or sometimes make their own sauce according to the preference of their taste buds.

Davao Lechon and its popular combinations

Davao Lechon is not only a staple food known for its crispy roasted goodness but it is also known for its unique cooking techniques and food combinations. Some pair the dish up with soup or other traditional dishes like Sinigang and/or Adobo. Some mix it up even more and even convert the dish as snacks like making lechon into chips. A famous variety now of Davao Lechon is their boneless lechon rolls. Here in Metro Davao, restaurants like Azon’s Boneless Lechon has been gaining popularity in the past few years. Although it is not considered to be a new trend as there have been quite a number of lechon houses that provides this, it has still been a popular choice for the pork-loving community because it is undoubtedly better to eat without the distraction of removing the bone.

Davao Lechon and its cultural contribution

The continuing growth of lechon houses in Davao as well as in other cities in the Philippines has not been a surprising trend. As we all know, Filipinos stick close to their culture and part of the Filipino culture is eating while sharing in groups. In many ways this Filipino tradition is practice here in Davao since the city is known to having various events, activities and festivities throughout the year which is why lechon would always be present in one’s table. This is why Davao Lechon has been considered always as a “fan favorite” since it has always associated the food it serves with the Filipino tradition, the tradition of sharing.

A lot of travellers take interest on exploring Davao which is why it is a must they try out the lechon houses we currently have in the city. Visiting the city during fiestas like Kadaywan Festival gives off opportunities for these tourists to experience the salo-salo Filipinos do to express unity, and of course our main attraction – Davao Lechon is always present in these kinds of get-togethers. Even though a lot of places in the Philippines offer scrumptious portions of lechon, Davao Lechon still has that unique factor which keeps the masses wanting for more.

Davao Lechon goes Global

Davao Lechon has not shied away from the international eyes and even known chefs such as Anthony Bourdain (naming it “the best pig ever”) has given it notice. A lot of Filipinos around the world has set up lechon houses, even in different countries such as Singapore and the US lechon houses starts emerging. People of other nationalities have also tried and reinvented the dish as well. Countries such as China has their own version of a roasted pig. Some have noticed the similarities between the two and it is great to see a different take on a certain dish. This goes to show that not only the Philippine culture has made its name, but also the food is a great discovery, whether there are similarities or not from different places.


The debate on which city has “The Best Lechon in the Philippines” will never be put to an end, but a certain thing we know is that Davao Lechon is one of the best there is to taste. Whether it may be the tourists or even the locals alike, they will not run out of dishes to explore and try because the of the growing food industry the city has but one this is for sure Davao Lechon will continue to be one of the top places for a great lechon find.


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