Welcome the Year of the Roast Pig!” was how geomancer Master Aldric Dalumpines greeted me on the phone.
Lechon is the lucky food of the year, he gleefully said. Savoring each bite will align you with the element of the earth, thus making you more in tune and one with the chi or life energy of the universe, ready to receive the vibes of good fortune and good health.
Pero ingat sa high blood. Eat in moderation, as you yourself might return to the earth, Master said jokingly.
To beckon luck and fortune in 2019, there are two dates to make lechon a New Year’s Eve fare, alongside the customary lucky fruits.
These were Dec. 31, 2018, and the most important in feng shui, Feb. 4, 2019, Chinese New Year’s Eve.
Though size doesn’t matter, lechon must be served whole and not in parts, on Dec. 31 and Feb. 4.
It is best presented atop a golden yellow (lucky color for 2019) table cloth to attract the Earth element luck. Do not use pink, orange, red, white or blue.
Every Dec. 31, surround the roast pig with 12 sweet round fruits (the same or different kinds), plus an apple in the pig’s mouth.
On Feb. 4, surround it with only eight round sweet fruits identical to each other. A pineapple fronting the pig’s mouth is best, to welcome the Year of the Earth Pig’s fortunate blessings!
Some fruits to shy away from are bananas (as they are not round), as well as bitter and sour fruits.
Master reiterated, serve only round and sweet fruits.
For a western salubong, those unable to prepare a whole lechon can still attract good fortune by displaying 12 oranges and an apple on Dec. 31.
Leave the fruit basket on the dining table and another at the reception area of your business office.
The 12 fruits signify abundance for the 12 months of the year. The apple is the universal symbol of fruitful abundance in the western world.
For an eastern New Year salubong, prepare eight oranges and a pineapple plus lechon on Feb. 4.
Dalumpines expounded on the graphic symbol of the pineapple, oranges and a whole roast pig.
“These symbolize the welcoming of double prosperity in riches, riches, riches in the year of the Earth Pig.”
For the home and office, display a fruit basket with eight oranges and a pineapple. Remember, “The culinary journey to riches will not work if you do not eat the lechon!”
So, order na:
Donosti’s Cochinillo Al Horno—roasted 21-day-old suckling pig, served with patatas panaderas (baked sliced potato with onion confit and bell peppers). Order one day in advance, tel. 09178492205.
Cirkulo’s Cochinillo. For Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Cirkulo prepares only a maximum of 40 cochinillo asados. Each suckling pig is carefully selected by the butcher for succulent tender meat and super crispy skin. It is then marinated overnight in mirepoix, tarragon, white wine and pimenton de vera before being roasted in their special ovens. Tel. 8102763.
Leonardo’s. Leonard Aquino is a third-generation lechonero. He takes pride in roasting their pigs exactly as they did in 1947.
Good lechon starts with the pig. The backyard-raised native pigs are only slaughtered when ready to cook. “We never freeze or cook frozen pork,” said Leonard.
Try the Christmas Lechon stuffed with sliced smoked Chinese ham, Spanish chorizo and garlic potatoes. Another variant I am curious about is the daing na lechon, brined and fried like daing. Tel. 09178833391.
Ulcing takes pride in their clean-tasting, tender, tasty lechon that needs no sauce. Tel. 09193613291.
Abub’s Cebu Native Lechon roasts pigs that have just the right amount of fat, no matter the size. They have a spicy variant, too. Tel. 09228688080.
Pepita’s Lechon is the right size for a small gathering and, as Stevie Villacin puts it, it comes with rice! What can beat lechon with rice?
I want to try the new Breakfast Lechon stuffed with fried rice, tocino and salted egg. Tel. 09178660662.
General’s Lechon comes in garlic, curry or chili garlic flavors. Skin stays crunchy for a long time. Tel. 09178532466.
Choi Garden’s Suckling Pig with Glutinous Rice. I love their suckling pig. Next time I go, I will definitely try it stuffed with glutinous rice that has mushrooms, chestnuts, Chinese sausage and dried shrimp. This is said to be an auspicious dish when served during special occasions. Tel. 7277489, 7276042.
Mr. Cochinillo. Slow-cooked oven-roasted lechon. To complement the cochinillo, ask them to include fabada, cochinillo-infused callos and rabo de toro with your order. Tel. 09175454888.
Gatchalian Lechon is aromatic, tanglad- and batwan-stuffed. Tel. 6607788.
Juliet’s Lechon is perhaps one of the most affordable you’ll find. Perfect to give as gifts or for office parties. Skin stays crisp. Juliet supplies dressed pigs for roasting, too. Tel. 7812383.
Text Master Aldrin at tel. 09993128168 or message on Facebook: Aldric OK Dalumpines.