Cebu is renowned for its succulent and flavourful roasted pig, known as lechon. The preparation of lechon begins with selecting a young pig (easier to cook), usually around 20-30 pounds in size, which is thoroughly cleaned and marinated. The marinade typically includes a mixture of spices, herbs, salt, garlic, and other flavourings. The pig is often stuffed with aromatic ingredients like lemongrass, onions, and herbs to enhance the flavour during cooking. The pig is slow-cooked over an open flame, using charcoal, resulting in a crispy skin and tender meat. Depending on the size of the pig, roasting can take from 5 to up to 8 hours and is done by constantly rotating the skewer. Lechoneros take their time to cook it serving the best Lechon and leaving an unforgettable experience with their own famous Cebu food.
Having or serving a Lechon is sometimes considered a mark of a grand feast. House of Lechon, CnT Lechon, Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly, Zubuchon, Rico’s Lechon are some of the restaurants in Cebu that offer the best Lechon experience ever.
- The first lechon was made in Cebu in the 1920s, and the first-ever lechoneros came from Talisay, Cebu. This is the reason why LECHON is always included in the lists of famous food in Cebu.
- Cebu has been dubbed as the “Lechon Capital of the World”
Short for “sugba” (grilled), “tula” (soup), and “kilaw” (raw), sutukil is a delightful seafood medley. The colloquial term would be “combo”. This famous food in Cebu features fresh fish, shrimp, squid, or other seafood, prepared in three different ways: grilled, in a sour soup, and as a ceviche-style dish.
Sugba (Grilled): If you choose the “sugba” option, the selected seafood is grilled to perfection or by your choice. It may be marinated with spices and herbs before being cooked over an open flame, resulting in a smoky and flavourful dish.
Tuwa (Stewed): “Tuwa” involves stewing the seafood in a flavourful broth or sauce, often with fresh vegetables and aromatic ingredients. This cooking method produces tender and succulent dishes.
Kilaw (Raw and Cooked in Vinegar): For “kilaw,” the seafood is prepared raw and marinated in a mixture of vinegar, citrus juices, onions, and other seasonings. The acid in the marinade “cooks” the seafood, similar to ceviche.
Puso, or hanging rice, is a staple in Cebu. Its rice is cooked inside woven pouches made from coconut leaves. It is a convenient and portable rice cake that’s often enjoyed with grilled dishes. As for many, who have visited Cebu, Puso is best eaten or partnered with street food. The rice inside puso is typically fluffy and slightly sticky, especially if glutinous rice is used. It has a mild, subtle coconut flavour from the woven leaves but doesn’t overpower the taste of the main dishes it accompanies.
Danggit is one of the famous foods in Cebu, it is a dried fish snack, and sometimes can be eaten with rice. These small fish are salted and sun-dried, creating a crispy and flavourful treat. They are commonly eaten with rice and vinegar dipping sauce.
Danggit holds cultural significance in Cebu and the Visayas region in the country. It is often a sought-after souvenir for tourists visiting Cebu, and it is a popular choice for pasalubong (gifts) to bring back to family and friends.
Chicken Inasal in Cebu is a flavourful and aromatic grilled chicken dish that’s known for its delightful combination of savoury and tangy flavours. Succulent pieces of chicken, often marinated in a mixture of calamansi (a local citrus fruit) juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and a blend of spices then grilled over an open flame or charcoal, creating a smoky aroma and a beautifully charred exterior.
Chicken Inasal is typically served with a generous portion of rice, often puso (hanging rice).
The combination of well-marinated, smoky-grilled chicken, aromatic rice, and a tangy dipping sauce creates a mouthwatering and satisfying culinary experience, making Chicken Inasal in Cebu a must-try dish for anyone visiting the region.
Pintos in Cebu are colourful and delicious rice cakes that are often enjoyed as a sweet treat or dessert. Pintos are small, bite-sized rice cakes that come in various vibrant colours, typically made using glutinous rice, coconut milk, and sugar. They are often moulded into intricate shapes, such as flowers or geometric patterns, making them visually appealing and suitable for special occasions.
These delightful rice cakes are not only pleasing to the palate but are also often used as decorations during festivals and celebrations in Cebu. They are a symbol of the region’s rich culinary heritage and are a wonderful example of the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into Filipino desserts.
Rosquillos are delicate and crumbly cookies that are a beloved sweet treat in Cebu. This famous food in Cebu is a small, round or oval-shaped cookie with a slightly firm and crumbly texture. It has a delightful buttery taste with a hint of sweetness. They’re not overly sugary, making them perfect for enjoying with a cup of coffee or tea. The crumbly texture of these cookies adds to their charm, as they practically melt in your mouth when you take a bite.
Rosquillos are often packaged in colourful containers and are a famous food in Cebu to buy as a pasalubong (souvenirs) for tourists and as gifts during special occasions.
8. Budbud Kabog
Budbud kabog is not just a famous food in Cebu but also a unique and traditional Cebuano delicacy known for its simplicity and delightful flavour. It is a special type of delicacy that originated in Catmon, Cebu. Best eaten for breakfast or a snack often paired with a hot chocolate drink or ripe mangoes.
Budbud kabog begins with kabog, which is millet, a type of grain that is indigenous to the Philippines. The millet grains are first cleaned and washed thoroughly. Then, they are soaked in water to soften them. The softened millet grains are then drained and wrapped in banana leaves, forming compact parcels. These parcels are often long and slender, resembling small cylinders. They are securely tied with strips of banana leaves, creating a pouch that holds the millet grains during the cooking process. These pouches are then steamed until the millet becomes tender and fully cooked.
Chicharon is a popular Filipino snack and side dish that’s famous for its crispiness and savoury flavour. Typically made from pork skin or pork belly that has been seasoned and deep-fried to perfection. Pieces of pork are deep-fried in hot oil until they become crispy and puffy.
Chicharon can vary in size, from large sheets to small bite-sized bits. It’s often seasoned with a mixture of salt, garlic powder, and sometimes chilli powder to add extra flavour and a hint of heat.
Masareal is a traditional Cebuano sweet delicacy known for its nutty flavour and chewy texture. Masareal is primarily made from two key ingredients: ground peanuts and sugar. The powdered peanuts are mixed with sugar to create a thick and sticky paste-like consistency.
It is also enjoyed as a snack or dessert and is often a famous food in Cebu as pasalubong (souvenir) for visitors.
On your upcoming holidays to Cebu, treat yourself to these delightful famous foods in Cebu. Treat yourself as well by booking with us, Mabuhay Travel, and experience a smooth-booking experience.