Kusina Maria

Food Blog + Food Shop

Category : Entrees

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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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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Vikings Luxury Buffet features Street Foods of the World

Pork Satay (Indonesian Spiced Skewers) by Vikings Luxury Buffet - Street Foods of the World

Pork Satay by Vikings Luxury Buffet – Street Foods of the World

There is a saying for travelers that goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

When visiting a city or country, you can find their best kept culinary secrets, not in high end restaurants, but in street food sold by ambulant vendors. Street food represent a part of a locality’s culture and is usually prepared and made from abundant ingredients in that area.

Now, you do not need to go to Rome to do as the Romans do. Take a culinary trip around the world this August at Vikings Luxury Buffet. Street foods from around the world take the centerstage at all Vikings Luxury Buffet branches.

From Southeast Asia to Europe and the Americas, your palate will be tickled by hometown favorites of various countries.

Start off your journey with a street food popular in Rome and in the rest of Italy.

Suppli (Italian Rice Balls) by Vikings Luxury Buffet - Street Foods of the World

Suppli by Vikings Luxury Buffet – Street Foods of the World

Suppli comes from the Italian word “sopresa” that means “surprise.” And it lives up to its name. It looks like an ubiquitous meatball. It is actually a ball of risotto (Italian short-grained rice) mixed with eggs, tomato sauce, meat, and mozzarella cheese. Each ball is dredged in bread crumbs and deep fried.

The result is a crunchy ball with a soft, savory center with a hint of salty, sour, and sweet. The rice has a bit of bite that makes the ball more interesting. It is typically eaten as a snack or as an appetizer. Vikings’ Suppli is so delightfully tasty that you will be addicted to it. It looks and sounds a bit weird but it will certainly please you.

From Rome, cross the Atlantic Ocean and visit the Americas with these skewers from Brazil called Espetinho.

Espetinho (Brazilian Kebabs) by Vikings Luxury Buffet - Street Foods of the World

Espetinho by Vikings Luxury Buffet – Street Foods of the World

“Espetinho” is a Portugese word meaning “little skewer.” It also pertains to a popular kebab dish that is made from diced spiced meat. It can be made of beef, chicken, sausages, fish, and shrimps. Vikings version of this is made of shrimps, fish, and mushrooms. It is served with a sweet, sticky sauce with a hint of saltiness. The sauce complements the spiced kebabs well. It’s awesome when eaten with rice.
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Callos by Lachi’s Sans Rival Atbp

Callos by Lachi's Sans Rival Atbp DFAT 2015

Callos by Lachi’s Sans Rival Atbp

Among the numerous restaurants, cafes, diners, bistros, and other food establishments I have tried and have come to love, my heart still belongs to my all-time most favorite restaurant, Lachi’s Sans Rival Atbp. There are numerous reasons why I love Lachi’s. Primary of which is how their evokes a feeling of being at home.

Lachi’s serves comfort food. Simple food that is familiar to all and will remind you of fond memories with family and friends. Every year, they add more menu items to delight the tongue and fill the tummy with even more reasons to love Lachi’s. One such dish is Callos.

Callos is a dish from Spain that has been part of Filipino celebrations since the colonization of the Spaniards. Callos is a tomato-based stew made with beef tripe (tuwalya), garbanzo beans, Chorizo Bilbao (Bilbao sausages), and bell peppers. It may also contain beef or pork. It is traditionally served only on special occasions since it takes a long time to to prepare and cook this dish. But you don’t have to wait for those special occasions anymore.
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