Kusina Maria

Food Blog + Food Shop

Category : Asian Cuisine

Brand’s Native Lechon [Roast Whole Pig] | Davao Food

Davao is not known for lechon. A lot of travelers visit Davao without even thinking of lechon. But DavaoeƱos know that we have really good lechon here in Davao. And each Davao foodie has his own top pick. After all, we do have a lot of lechoneros (lechon vendors) each with a different take on the Philippines’ most famed celebratory dish. No doubt about it, whatever your lechon preference is, there is a Davao lechonero that will satisfy your craving.

Good news for all! A new lechonero has arrived. Brand’s Native Lechon is now in Davao City to delight our taste buds with their native lechon already popular in Digos.

Brand's Native Lechon

Brand’s Native Lechon ready to be unboxed and devoured.

For those who do not know, “lechon” is a popular Filipino dish usually served as centerpiece during special occasions.

A whole pig is slaughtered, prepared, filled with herbs and spices, and slow roasted in an open fire pit. The result is juicy and tasty pork with exceptionally savory ribs and belly. All enclosed in crunchy pork skin. The crunch of the skin providing a good textural contrast to the juicy meat.

That is the ideal lechon for me. Unfortunately, not all lechoneros (lechon makers) achieve all these. To be clear, these are just my own criteria for excellent lechon. If you have your own criteria for good lechon, share it in the comments section below.

Back to my ideal lechon… Luckily, Brand’s Native Lechon serves lechon that passes my criteria for an excellent lechon.

Origin of Brand’s Native Lechon

Brand’s Native Lechon was established in Digos, Davao del Sur just last year. It began as a small, home-based business by Brand de los Cientos. Yep, that is his name and he named his business after himself. Brand is a foodie who started a home-based catering business specializing in Filipino cuisine while he was an Overseas Filipino Worker.

Brand decided to come home and work on a recipe for the Philippines’ most wanted celebration dish, lechon. He formulated the lechon recipe and experimented with lechon-making to achieve the best lechon that would satisfy the palates of Filipinos.

Brand’s Native Lechon uses fresh herbs and secret ingredients to achieve the perfect balance of salty, sour, and umami that will make each bite of Brand’s Native Lechon satisfying and memorable. With his blend of spices and his own take in lechon-making, Brand’s Native Lechon is able to produce temptingly delicious lechon with the ribs and belly so tasty that you will not hesitate eating more even you are already full.

Brand's Native Lechon

Brand’s Native Lechon

Why You Should Try Brand’s

I have eaten a lot of lechon in my life. Lechon is affordable here in Davao, after all. But Brand’s stands out for a number of reasons.

Each bite is juicy and bursting with flavor. Needless to day, it is perfect with a dipping sauce of coconut vinegar and garlic. Plus of course, rice. I assume it would also taste really good with spicy vinegar, with the acidity and spice balancing out the lechon’s savory goodness. An order of whole lechon comes with a bottle of their own blend of spicy vinegar.
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Boodle Fight at RBG Park Inn Davao

RBG Boodle Fight Rematch 2 with Boneless Pork Lechon Belly

RBG Boodle Fight Rematch with Boneless Pork Lechon Belly

There’s not better way to celebrate anything than with food, good, glorious food. And RBG at Park Inn Davao knows that. They have prepared a feast to celebrate the Kadayawan Festival. Presenting… RBG’s Boodle Fight Rematch.

Boodle Fight is the Philippine military style of dining. Rice and various dishes are laid out on banana leaves and diners are encouraged to eat with their hands, sans plates and utensils. In the past few years, it has become a stylish (and easy) way of serving Filipino dishes, mostly featuring fresh seafood and grilled dishes. It is often practiced in fiestas and family gatherings.

RBG’s Boodle Fight Rematch is a good representation of typical Filipino fiesta dishes, highlighting popular Davao food. The meal’s centerpiece is Boneless Pork Lechon Belly, a scaled down version of the popular Lechon (whole roasted pig).

Boneless  Pork Lechon Belly of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Boneless Pork Lechon Belly of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Tasty, succulent, and encased in crispy pork skin. It is definitely a delight to eat.

The Boodle Fight Rematch spread includes popular Filipino starters: Native Tinolang Manok (Chicken Soup made with free range chickens), Fern Salad with Salted Eggs, and Lumpia (Spring Rolls).

Fern Salad of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch 2

Fern Salad of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Aside from the Lechon Belly, RBG’s Boodle Fight features Pinaupong Manok and Grilled Tuna Belly.

Pinaupong Manok of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Pinaupong Manok of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch

Grilled Tuna Belly of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch 2

Grilled Tuna Belly of the RBG Boodle Fight Rematch


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JAM Foods Angus Tapa

Jam Foods USDA Tapa at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

Jam Foods USDA Tapa at the Davao Gourmet Collective at SM Lanang Premier

One iconic Filipino dish is Tapsilog. Tapsilog is short for Tapa, Siningag, at Ilog (Cured Beef, Garlic Ric, and Egg). Tapa is cured beef, similar to beef jerky. Beef is marinated with a mixture of vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and garlic. It is cured for several days then fried to perfection. As with most Filipino dishes, there are many iterations of Tapa. There’s dry tapa, wet tapa, red tapa, so on so forth. For most Filipinos like me, it doesn’t matter. All kinds of tapa is good tapa. Eating Tapsilog any time of the day brings every Filipino home. No matter where you are. It is comfort food.

So how do you make your tapa stand out and be talked about? Make it extremely awesome. And that is exactly what JAM Foods did. JAM Foods took the ordinary, commonplace tapa and made it gourmet. The first time I tried JAM Foods USDA Angus Tapa, I could not stop eating.

About a year ago, I was invited to the Press Preview of Davao Gourmet Collective Kadayawan Food and Music Fair. It was there that I had my first gourmet Angus Tapa and I fell in love.
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Truffsilog by Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar

Truffsilog by Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar, Tapa with Truffles, Fried Egg, Garlic Rice, and Tomato & Onion Salsa

Truffsilog by Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar

If adobo is the Philippines’ “national dish,” one could argue that Tapsilog is our “national breakfast.” It is delicious, it is accessible, and it has many different variations just like the adobo. And Filipinos love to eat it not just for breakfast, but also for lunch and dinner, and as recovery food after a late night of partying. So when it comes to tapsilog, you can say it is hard to please diners and be talked about as if it is something new or exciting. After all, there is a tapsilogan in almost every kanto (street corner).

Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar manages to stand out with their Truffsilog. Don’t get me wrongm they are not the first ones to offer such, but they have certainly led the pack in Davao and they have done it masterfully.

Look at that beauty.

Truffsilog by Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar, Tapa with Truffles, Fried Egg, Garlic Rice, and Tomato & Onion Salsa

Truffsilog by Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar

Tapsilog is short for Tapa, Sinangag, at Itlog. Tapa is cured beef, Sinagag is garlic fried rice, and Itlog is egg. Tapa is common breakfast dish around the Philippines. It is available in various cuts and classes of beef. The curing process differs in each region but the most popular one involves curing beef in salt, garlic, and soy sauce. Some variations include calamansi juice (lemon), sugar, or vinegar in the curing marinade. After curing the beef in the marinade, it is drained, pat dry, and fried. Tapa is often salty with a hint of sour and sweet. The curing process gives the meat a sublime of umami flavor.
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Kadayawan Specials by Chef Alex Destriza

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Davao is known for many things… the durian, the Philippine Eagle, Mount Apo, the Waling-Waling, and of course, our diverse and bountiful harvest which we celebrate with a unique Thanksgiving festival every August. This thanksgiving is called Kadayawan Festival.

For the Kadayawan Festival 2015, Marco Polo Davao has prepared something a special tasting menu prepared by their newly appointed head chef, Chef Alex Destriza. Chef Alex has crafted two Kadayawan Specials Set Menus to showcase Davao’s fresh bounty of fruits, vegetables, livestock, poultry, seafood, and dairy, and livestock.

There are two Three Course Sets you can choose from.

Set A starts with a uniquely luscious Sweet Corn Bisque with Lapu-lapu Croquette, and Ube Tarragon Cream.

Sweet Corn Bisque with Lapu Lapu Croquette and Ube Tarragon Cream by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Sweet Corn Bisque with Lapu Lapu Croquette and Ube Tarragon Cream by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

The Sweet Corn Bisque base is subtlety sweet and creamy but not too rich. The perfectly deep fried Lapu-lapu croquette provides umami flavor and a crunchy texture. These two components are tied together by an Ube Tarragon Cream. All three components blend perfectly together to produce a unique soup experience. The dish is as delicious as it is pretty.

The soup is followed by a memorable Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Bistek Sauce with Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto, Kangkong 2 Ways, and Glazed Carrots and Onions by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

The beef is succulent and tasty. It is served medium rare, the right way. The Bistek Sauce is the right combination of salty and sour with a hint of sweet and peppery. My favorite of the three sides in this dish is the Kangkong served two ways. The Adobong KangKong below the beef is the element which brings the meal back to the simplicity of Filipino cuisine. This is paired with deep fried Crispy Kangkong, a favorite appetizer of Filipinos. Together with the Chorizo Pumpkin Risotto and the Glazed Carrots and Onions, all the components form an elegant plate that highlights the most popular flavors of Filipino cuisine. Bistek. Adobo. Deep fried. All in one dish.

Your Kadayawan Specials Meal will end with another unique marriage of flavors: Biko Pandan with Chocolate Mousse and Caramelized Pecans.

Biko Pandan with Chocolate Mousse and Caramelized Pecans by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Biko Pandan with Chocolate Mousse and Caramelized Pecans by Chef Alex Destriza of Marco Polo Davao

Biko is a traditional Filipino rice cake made of glutinous or sticky rice and cooked in coconut milk. In this unique iteration, the Biko is flavored with Pandan and served with pandan jelly on the side. Hence, the name Biko Pandan. It is complemented by a Dark Chocolate Mousse that is decadent but not overwhelmingly rich. I would have never thought the two would go so well, but they do. After all, Filipino rice cakes (commonly called “kakanin”) are usually served with Native Hot Chocolate. The Caramelized Pecans add another layer of sweetness and crunch to the beautiful plated dessert.
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Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

No Filipino celebration is complete without the most wanted lechon. And the most coveted part of any lechon is the belly. In recent years, Lechon Belly Roll has become a popular Filipino food trend.

Lechon, for those not in the know, is spit roasted whole pig. Lechon Belly Roll, however, is just the pork belly section, rolled and roasted. Like the traditional whole lechon, a Lechon Belly Roll is seasoned and stuffed with spices.

There are numerous food establishments that serve lechon belly roll in Davao. One of those that is fast gaining popularity is Don Durian. Don Durian is a home-based business that specializes in Lechon Liempo and Lechon Manok.

Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

Lechon Liempo by Don Durian

Don Durian’s Lechon Liempo is tasty, juicy, and tender. You can taste the spices and herbs in every inch of the meat. It is the right blend of salty and spicy with a touch of umami. More importantly, the meat is perfectly cooked. More importantly, the meat is perfectly cooked. And each bite of the meat is tender and the skin is gloriously crisp.
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