Friday, August 2, 2013

Diplahan Lechon: Zamboanga's Pride Is Now In Manila!

Trips with the foodie fam bam are always fun! Meeting up with fellow foodies who just want to share their food discoveries and the stories of the owners with the rest of the world is something quite special. And when people of the same passions and tastes come together to celebrate just that, well, it's magical. Throw in lechon to the mix, and it's a party. Make that two burnished piggies with crisp, crackling skin and I'm in fucking Disneyland.

My Disneyland happened to be on the rooftop of a building somewhere in Tomas Morato, which also happens to be the headquarters of Diplahan Lechon. Being asked ever so nicely by a very picky eater, I braved the horrendous traffic of EDSA to see and taste what makes this kind of lechon from Zamboanga so special.

After meeting the super fun brand evangelists of Diplahan Lechon, Carol and Wee, we went out to check the beautifully roasted pigs and snap a couple of pictures while it was still light out for, umm... posterity. PETA will not be happy.

The Diplahan Lechon is a meticulously prepared and freshly roasted lechon with skin that's cracked, crunchy, and in its natural roasted color of light golden brown. The meat - from nose to tail - is moist, tender, flavorful, and with a tinge of delectable saltiness.

The first thing you'll notice about this lechon is its skin, which is perfectly roasted, rough-textured, devoid of grease, and with a nice yellow hue. It’s packed with a unique but familiar flavor that explodes in your mouth without being overpowering.

There really is a science to making the perfect lechon. While the skin was perfectly crispy, the meat of a Diplahan Lechon is always very, very tender and very moist. And well seasoned, with just the right amount of flavors to make each mouthful of this delicious stuff interesting.

Young entrepreneur and "Filipino food afficionado," Jotle Viray, discovered the Diplahan Lechon during one of his trips to Zamboanga Sibugay where it was once only sold in. It is from the beautiful uncorrupted town of Diplahan. Although this lechon is very popular and quite in demand in the whole Zamboanga Peninsula, it is hard to come by since only a handful of lechoneros know how to make it.

We all went back inside and waited for our hosts to finish chopping the lechon for us. We were served glorious bowls of what you see above. Half crispy, crackly skin, and half tender meat, I had to wipe away the saliva running down my chin, staring at the bowl of roasted porcine.

I told myself I'd try and be good and make sure I had more vegetables than lechon on my plate. The good folks at Diplahan Lechon also served a good variety of vegetables and shrimp paste, which brought the lechon feast to a whole new level of awesome. My pretty plate had a nice balance of pork, and I lovingly mixed my wilted kang kong and tomatoes in with the slightly spicy bagoong, getting a bit of the veg, a bit of meat, and a bit of crisp skin, and going back for a spoonful of rice to complete the small patch of heaven that was patiently waiting in my mouth, waiting to be chewed and swallowed.

The Diplahan Lechon goes particularly well with the special blend vinegar that comes with every order, though quite a number of people (such as myself) prefer to have it without any sort of condiment. This is the stuff real lechon is made of - it doesn't need any sauce.

Towards the end of the meal, Carol and Wee came out with a Diplahan Lechon surprise - fried lechon skin! The lechon chicharon was absolutely sinful - it was not at all greasy, light, and still had that distinct Diplahan lechon flavor, going very well with their special blend of vinegar. Needless to say, it was worth all the guilt. I wanted more.

When mucking around Manila, celebrate any occasion with Diplahan Lechon! This is also the only way to go for lechon purists! I'm so happy to have discovered this lechon gem -this'll definitely be the talk of the next reunion!

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Images taken by Jericho San Miguel of The Pixel Project Manila

Diplahan Lechon
To order, please call:
Carol - +63 917 826 8010
Wee - +63 917 826 8017

10 - 12 kilos - Php 6,500.00
15 - 18 kilos - Php 7,500.00
20 kilos and above - 8,500.00