Lechón @ Iskina Cebu – Geylang Singapore

Benny and I used to go food hunting weekly but he had been very busy until a couple of days ago, he managed to find some time to lunch with me. He told me that he wanted to eat Lechón.

“I saw Tony’s recent post of this suckling pig!”

He laughed, “Yea, I saw that post and started to have a craving.”

Lechón is a dish, that features an entire roasted suckling pig cooked over charcoal, usually prepared throughout the year for any special occasions, during festivals and the holidays. What a coincidence! Allan (celebrating his 2nd wedding anniversary) and Jimmy (birthday boy) joined us for lunch that day. Unfortunately, although the pig was prepared and stuffed it was not ready to be roasted. It needed more marination time. Even if Chris, the owner of Iskina Cebu, was to put the pig onto the pit, it would take at least another 5 hours for it to be cooked. Luckily, we still have other choices – roasted pork belly and chicken.

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Chris’ hometown is Talisay City (in Cebu, Philippines).
Talisay is a city famous for its lechón.
Pining for his hometown food prompted Chris to open Iskina Cebu (translating to Cebu corner).

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Lechón refers to a suckling pig that is roasted.
Originating from Spain, Lechón is a popular food in the Philippines where the entire pig (with its entrails removed and stuffed with spices) is skewered on a large stick and slowly roasted on high heat in a pit filled with glowing charcoals.

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It’s not light that we need but fire in anything that we do!
And, of course, to cook 🙂

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The marinated and stuffed pig weighing in around 20kg or more was not ready to be grilled.
There were, however, some pork bellies and chicken being roasted over the glowing coals.

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Roast Pork Belly – Liempo de Balamban.

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Roast Chicken (whole) – Manok de Balamban.
Tender and juicy.

The roast pork belly was rather mild in flavour. Its crackling not as “blisteredly” crispy as our local Siew Yoke (also roast pork belly but Hong Kong style). To be fair, I should not compare the two for their preparation and marination are different. Siew Yoke has its skin jabbed with sharp needle-like utensil (that accounts for the airy crumbly crackled skin) and uses different spices. Chris had mentioned to Tony that he tweaked to more lenient flavours in response to his customers’ preference.

We settled for roast pork belly as the Lechón rotisserie would only start at 5.30pm (on weekdays and 12.30pm on weekends). Today being a Tuesday, we had to leave without tasting a morsel.

The pork belly, aside from the less crispy skin and mildness in flavour, was nonetheless moist and tender. There were some conflict on views about the meat and fat ratio. Some of us found it too fatty while the others like it fatty.

I have not been to the Philippines and have not eaten these dishes before today so I cannot comment on its authenticity. Even my Filipino domestic help could not identify with these dishes as she comes from a province far away from Cebu (her specialty is adobo). There was nothing to act as a yardstick.

I must return another night for the Lechón. And if Chris is free, perhaps a San Miguel would be nice to start a chat with him about the spice of life and culture in Cebu.

Chris hails from Talisay City in Cebu, Philippines. He has been living in Singapore for many years. Most of the Filipino I have come across have been friendly and generous, and Chris is no exception. He handed me a packet of pork stew gratis before we parted.<br /> Our meal for 4 persons totalled S$36.

Chris hails from Talisay City in Cebu, Philippines. He has been living in Singapore for many years. Most of the Filipino I have come across have been friendly and generous, and Chris is no exception. He handed me a packet of pork stew gratis before we parted.
Our meal for 4 persons totalled S$36.

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The Pork Stew that Chris gave us was shared with some friends at Ho Tit Coffee Factory.
A friend commented, “这是什么? 很好吃!” (What is this? It’s delicious!)

Iskina Cebu (Opposite Paya Lebar MRT station)
Address: Blk 1016, Geylang East Ave 3,
Singapore 389731.

Operating hours: 12pm – 9pm

Happy discovering 🙂

See Tony’s review on Iskina Cebu’s Lechón here.

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Comments
18 Responses to “Lechón @ Iskina Cebu – Geylang Singapore”
  1. aiya! I’ve been wanting to try this place too! I love filipino food. Nice photos!

  2. Hi Sam, Lechón in Spain is suckling pig and there is this place where they were they roast it in a what that it is so tender, then when they serve it in an important event in front of a lot of people, the waiters will make a show of cutting it really fast… with a plate! No knives and forks involved! I’ve had this and it’s delicious!

    • Sam Han says:

      Hi Sofia, it must be very interesting to see the grand display of dissecting the pig and with plates only, the skin must be really really crispy. Thanks for the extra information 🙂

  3. Lignum Draco says:

    Yes, you’ll have to return to eat the rest of that pig. 🙂 The roast pork belly looks good.

  4. sgfoodonfoot says:

    I realised about this place recently and then I saw tony posted about it. Now you also posted. I must really go down and check out the place.

  5. Art says:

    We visited the place today to try first lechon stall in Singapore. Im just curious how it compares to the lechon in my hometown and admittedly I was also craving for lechon. We came around 2:30 pm then headed directly to the counter to order since there was less people that time. I ordered 1/2 kg lechon and 1 chicken for a family of four (me, wifey and 2 children). The chicken was served instantly while we waited more than 20 mins for lechon and rice. I wonder why it takes so long to chop the lechon… The chicken taste slightly mild in saltiness and lack of spice. Although the meat is moist some parts are raw where my son refuse to eat. The skin was more tasty which of course my children mostly eat. Overall the chicken is fair in my taste buds. Then finally our lechon was served after waiting for more than 20 mins. The taste was far below my expectation the meat though was slightly moist but not delicious. The skin was thin, chewey and lack of flavor. Whenever you make a lechon you have to pay attention to the skin. It must be crunchy, tender, golden brown in color and full of flavor from the marinate and spices. The pig meat has a distinct smell as well which i could not explain. Maybe depends on the pig’s breed… price was expensive too for $40/kg.

    • Sam Han says:

      Thank you Arthur for your comprehensive feedback. I am glad you gave me some expectation of what makes a good lechon as I still have not return for it yet. Some one told me Balai Kainan at #04-24 Lucky Plaza serves lechon, too. Have you been there? 🙂

  6. MB says:

    honestly the lechon back home in Cebu tastes better. I tried there in Paya Leybar once and I was kinda disappointed but as a first in Singapore, kudos to Iskina Cebu. The roasted pork belly and chicken though passes my taste. Service 8/10, Taste 7/10 (could have beed higher if not for my heavenly expectation of what a lechon tastes like)

    You guys try the lechon stall in clementi called Lechon SG. It serves boneless lechon and for sure you guys will recommend it to your friends as well.

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