5th Avenue corner 26th Street, Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) The debate on which lechon Cebu is the best can get heated, especially when Cebuanos are involved. A name that's sure to come up often is Rico's Lechon—after all, their roasters have been around for over 20 years. If you haven't had their Original or Spicy Cebu-style lechon, don't book your flight to Cebu just yet, because Rico's Lechon is finally within reach for Manila folks, with a sprawling first branch in Bonifacio Global City.
The spacious outpost—which can seat over 180 people—looks and feels like a modern Filipino home, with trendy palm-leaf patterns on the walls and exposed light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Framed photos of various celebrities and other famous personalities who have visited Rico's Lechon in Cebu complete the vibe, and build anticipation for what's to come, especially if it's your first time to try their famous roast pork.
The pigs are cooked at the roasting pit for four hours; some of their staff from Cebu are currently in Manila to oversee operations here but, unlike in Cebu where the lechon are roasted outdoors, the roasting pit in BGC is indoors, and it's fitted with an exhaust and designed to keep the temperature consistent. This roasting pit can be viewed from the outside, and the sight of the pigs slowly turning a crisp and glistening red hue is enough to get your mouth watering. "We really wanted people to see that we roast our lechon on-site," says George Nocom Pua of Meat Concepts (also behind KPub BBQ and Thai BBQ), who brought in Rico's Lechon from Cebu. "So our diners know that they get their lechon as fresh as can be."
Rico's Lechon stands out from other lechon restaurants for offering—aside from the Original (P250 to P900)—a Spicy (P290 to P950) lechon variant. "That's what makes them a winner for me," shares Pua. "They were probably the first to introduce Spicy lechon."
For anyone who has had lechon, but not the Cebu-style, the difference is apparent. The Original lechon of Rico’s is tender, but the skin remains crisp. The spices and the kick of zest from tanglad or lemongrass are noticeable until the last bite. You think this is already great until you get to try the Spicy variant, similar but with a kick of heat from spicy garlic. If you don’t like spicy food, the heat of the Spicy lechon is more than manageable, just a whisper that makes this version a standout—unless you bite into one of the fiery garlic bits.