our love affair with "baboy" is best described by our obsession with lechon. we crowed with delight when anthony bourdain tagged our lechon as the best roasted pig in the world. if you don't know anthony bourdain, well, let's just say that he is a famous geriatric gourmand that shouldn't be eating pork in the first place.
what makes lechon, or more precisely, cebu lechon, different from other regional versions is the fact that the meat is well seasoned and flavored through and through that you rarely need any additional condiment or sauce.
but this post is not really about lechon. it's about roasted liempo.
liempo, otherwise known as pork belly is a common staple in most roadside rotisseries that also serve roasted chicken.
seasoning the liempo is straightforward with a basic soy based marinade before it is skewered and roasted over a slow burning bed of coal. the usual competition is usually determined by the crispiness of the skin as the marinade seem to be the same in every establishment.
it took a rather simple strategy to use the concept of cebu lechon to transform the simple liempo into something gourmet.
using a spice mix that fits the chef's preference, the liempo is cut along the side to create pockets where the spices are stuffed before the roasting process. the end result is extremely flavorful that takes the otherwise ordinary liempo to the next level.
balamban liempo is known for this method and would have people literally lining outside a number of its rotisserie outlets all over cebu city. but a new competitor is in the market, offering a similar technique but uses a different formulation for the spice stuffing. suddenly, crispy skin is not the only basis for this dish and it opens up entirely different possibilities for flavoring the roasted liempo.
i had one for lunch today and probably added to the kilo of pork per person quota of the Philippines.
ps, i had to take out the rest although it wouldn't have taken much effort to eat it all up. we don't want the Philippines to be the literal Babuyan Islands.
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