Lechon, or pig roasted on a spit is a mainstay of every barrio fiesta in the Philippines,and also during special celebrations like weddings, big birthdays, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. A whole pig is cleaned out of its entrails, stuffed with banana leaves, spices and seasonings (such as lemon grass, scallions, and lots of rock salt) - sometimes with paella - and roasted slowly over live coals while the skin is brushed with oil colored with achuete (from annatto seeds) to achieve that deep reddish brown color. One can buy them whole or by the kilo at the big supermarkets. There's an old street in Manila that is well-known for its all-year-round rows of lechon outlets displaying freshly roasted lechons.
Young pigs are best for lechon
- the rind is thin and there is very little fat. Good lechon has a very crisp crunchy skin, little fat underneath, and moist tasty meat.
There's a popular Spanish bistro in Manila whose house specialty is Cochinillo, which is essentially roast suckling pig. You have to order it 2 days in advance. They make a grand spectacle of serving it too. The whole roast piglet is presented on a side table, and the server uses a ceramic plate, yes a plate, to quickly and loudly chop up the cochinillo, making a volley of noises that sounds like flamenco music. The use of the plate is to show just how thin and crisp the skin is, and how tender the meat and bones are. And the taste? It's melt-in-your-mouth heavenly.
Best wishes on your wedding Sugar 'n Spice!