Traveling by boat and bus for hours all the way from the northern tip to the heart of Cebu can make one’s stomach growl with hunger. And when in Cebu the first thing that will pop into one’s head or more appropriately, one’s tummy, is that succulent meaty crunchy Pinoy fiesta favorite, lechon! According to the worldwideweb, the best of these can be found within the city at CnT Lechon.
Wasting no time, we immediately deposited our backpacks inside SM Cebu’s baggage counter and briskly walked through the searing noontime sun, crossed the highway in front of the mall and looked for that yellow building with the CnT signboard.
The building looked plain as Jane and the location was almost on the verge of being seedy. I was wondering if this was really the place where Cebu’s famous lechon is being served. We swallowed all hesitation and proceeded to the building’s second floor where the restaurant is surprisingly located.
It was almost three in the afternoon and the place was almost deserted. CnT Lechon is sparsely decorated, the walls are bare except for the yellow and orange paint job that reflects the building’s exterior. Wooden chairs and tables draped with red cloth line the hall, and it is a pretty big hall, one that can probably seat more than a hundred people. Considering the popularity of this restaurant, its size didn’t surprise me.
We lined up on their cafeteria-style counter and were promptly given a number. A lady was chopping her way through a huge roasted pig as we ordered and we watched with salivating mouth as our lunch was prepared.
CnT Lechon is the brainchild of Norman Quijada, a Cebuano who built an empire through roasting pigs. The name came from the initials of his wife and daughter. He has been roasting lechon since 1987 and like most success stories, he started his business small. From selling lechons at home, it eventually rolled to six more branches in Cebu.
Our orders arrived; half a kilo of mouthwatering goodness was served on our table along with a few cups of rice (Php180.00). I looked for the lechon sarsa but was unable to find any. Apparently, Cebu’s lechons are so good and tasty that the need for a sarsa to dip it into is deemed unnecessary. The only dip one needs is a mix of vinegar and soy sauce.
And after hearing so much about the region’s specialty, I was finally about to experience it for myself. CnT’s lechon skin cracked like a crunchy chicharon on first bite. I have to agree that I didn’t have to dip it into any sauce to better its flavor. It was indeed worthy of all the praises it has been showered upon.
The lechon’s meat on the other hand was another story. I have heard how tasty it was even without resorting to lechon sauce but I have to disagree. It may be that the pig we had was already past its prime goodness—a leftover from lunch probably, since we arrived at the restaurant pretty late—but the meat wasn’t that flavorful at all. In fact it was a bit bland and not that tender. It left me wishing I brought my own Mang Tomas sauce.
Our CnT Lechon experience was a mixed bag. The skin of the pork was excellent; however, its meat which comprises more than 80 percent of the serving left us looking for that legendary lechon pork that has been the talk of those who visited Cebu before us. Although it may have just been a fluke, I’m still willing to give CnT a second chance, maybe I should be visiting the place earlier to catch that newly cooked lechon and finally experiencing what everyone has been talking about, the real lechon de Cebu.
Address: Jose L. Briones St. cor. Juan Luna Avenue Ext., Cebu City (in front of SM Cebu City)
Telephone: (032) 254-4249
GPS Coordinates: 10.309594,123.917557
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here
MENU LECHON SERVING: 1/4 KILO: 80.00 | 1/2 KILO: 180.00 | 3/4 KILO: 240.00 | 1 KILO: 320.00 | GOOD FOR 10 PERSONS: 2,800.00 | GOOD FOR 15-20 PERSONS: 3,400.00 | GOOD FOR 25-30 PERSONS: 3,800.00 GOOD FOR 40 PERSONS: 4,500.00