Well into my ninth month of not eating pork, my friend, RJ opens his very own Cebu Lechon store and restaurant- A.R.G.'s Lechon Cebu. Wonderful. Just wonderful.
Before my abstinence from pork, I was a very avid consumer of lechon. One of my fondest food memories growing up was "Lechon Sunday" when my mom would bring home a kilo of freshly roasted lechon personally delivered to her clinic by her suki who made sure she gets the best parts with lots and lots of crispy golden skin. The lechon came with their signature liver sauce, wonderfully sweet and tangy and compliments the lechon superbly.
This time around, I had to find out how RJ's lechon tastes from third parties. We were there for the soft opening a week ago and we had an amazing lechon feast (Well, at least my friends did). My friends were all praises for the Lechon Cebu and unfortunately for me, all I could do was watch and squirm in envy while they enjoyed their meal.
Lechon Cebu is different from the usual lechon that I grew up with in that it is not served with liver sauce, the meat flavorful in itself from the infusion of a mix of traditional native spices. Robin, the self-confessed food purist (it just means he's not too much for sauces and overpowering seasonings) adores the unique and distinct flavor of the Lechon Cebu, along with its crispy skin, and tender meat. On the other end of the "sauce-no sauce spectrum", Mossy did not even look for any liver sauce to go with her lechon, that is how good it was, she said. Mossy, who had the good fortune of getting first dibs on the lechon straight from the pit on her third visit at A.R.G.'s, raved about the super crunchy skin.
A.R.G.'s flew in litsoneros straight from Cebu to keep their Cebu Lechon 100% authentic. Not to mention their lechon is made from only native pork (not the pink ones). RJ would have it no other way.
Their lechon is roasted over white hot coals by their expert listoneros onsite in a soil pit, shielded from the elements by tempered glass. Roasting is done everyday so all you get is fresh-roasted lechon each time. To complete the experience, A.R.G.'s serve puso (rice steamed in a heart-shaped weave of young coconut leaves) to go with the Cebu Lechon. The beautiful puso is skillfully crafted by hand by one of A.R.G.'s expert puso maker, also a Cebuano.
1 kilo of A.R.G.'s Lechon Cebu costs Php520, which is good for up to 6 people (1/2 kilo is Php260 and 1/4 kilo is Php130). Their puso, approximately a cup of rice, is Php12 each. They also serve Lechon Paksiw (Php250 per serving, good for 4-5 people), fried danggit and dried pusit (both Php160 per serving, good for 3-4 people). The menu is a work and progress and RJ sees a lot more items in the future.
It's a good thing A.R.G.'s also serve danggit and dried pusit, otherwise, I would have lost my mind when we were there. Worst part is, I'm sure we'll be back there a lot more times.
For orders and reservations, call RJ Barcelona at (0920)9073917. A.R.G.'s is located at 50E President's Avenue, Sucat, Paranaque City.
In Cebu, you can find A.R.G.'s at Sta. Catalina St., San Vicente Village, Mandaue, Cebu City.