Cebu’s well-loved Rico’s Lechon opens at Bonifacio Global City (BGC) tomorrow, Aug. 3. It may be a game-changer in Manila dining.
A Filipino party starts when the lechon is served. This writer’s family usually orders a whole spicy Rico’s Lechon all the way from Mactan for celebrations. Packed tight in a box, it would be picked up from the airport cargo terminal.
The lechon’s arrival in Manila often gets delayed due to “air traffic.”
One Christmas, it landed so late that the coveted crispy skin has already gotten gummy, so we had lechon paksiw for days till New Year’s Eve. Since then, we avoided ordering during the holidays, but other seasons are generally safe—birthdays, Mother’s Day.
Of course, there are other easily available roast pork nearby without the extra fees, but it just has to be Rico’s. The tender meat is evenly flavored with salt and lemongrass, and the crunchy skin is laced with sinful fat.
The spicy lechon is extra fragrant with a little heat—a keto dieter’s dream. Leftover meat is even better when toasted crisp.
Restaurateur George Pua of Meat Concepts Corp. is heading Rico’s Lechon’s expansion in Luzon. It took him years to convince Cebuano founder Rico Dionson to set up shop in Manila.
Lifestyle recently did some lechon-tasting at the BGC branch, a loft-style 180-seat restaurant at The Fort Strip, clustered alongside Pua’s other concepts—KPub BBQ, Tony Roma’s, Oppa Chicken.
“The menu is 70 percent the same as in Cebu,” Pua said.
Present were the favorites: Chopped Lechon in Original and Spicy, Lechon Humba, Sizzling Lechon Sisig.
These are best eaten with the Sukalami dipping sauce and the new item, Fried Rice Trio. Served in a mini kaldero, it has bits of danggit, tuyo and tinapa tossed in. Another new dish is Sinigang with pork and beef in sour broth.
To balance things out, one can order Eggplant or Ampalaya Salad, Chopsuey, Pusit na Pinaputok and Seafood Kare-Kare.
Also, one may try the classic Cebuano pancit Bam-i, Tapioca Pandan dessert, and Cucumansi drink—a refreshing mix of cucumber and calamansi believed to help wash the grease down.
‘Da best gyud!’
Rico’s Lechon BGC is a modern family restaurant with “old Cebu” charm. The dining area is warmly lit and tables are meant for groups. There are faux arched windows which are actually mirrors, which let diners take photos for sharing online (with #dabestgyud, or “it’s really the best”).
In Cebu, the roasting is done on soil, but city guidelines required a different setup, resulting in an indoor roasting pit.
Does the lechon taste the same as in Cebu? Yes, but prices are a bit more steep. Still, it let us have an accessible Cebu lechon fix.
Whole lechon can be also ordered starting September, and this time, it won’t require freight, just extra delivery fee.
Rico’s Lechon, 5th Ave. corner 26th St. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Like Rico’s Lechon BGC on Facebook. More branches will open soon at Glorietta, Tiendesitas, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, UP Town Center.