Pepita's Kitchen: My Lechon Degustacion Chronicle

Friday, November 23, 2012
While I've been sporting a healthier diet recently, there's no denying that I still enjoy the more sinful gustatory treats in life. That's why when I received a special invitation to join the Lechon Degustacion at Pepita's Kitchen last month, I just had to say yes even if the dinner is all the way to Magallanes in Makati. Who can't say no to lechon anyway?
Lechon Degustation at Pepita's Kitchen

I've read a few blog posts from fellow food bloggers who already got to experience this delightful Lechon Degustacion hosted at the private home and kitchen of the lechon diva and Pepita's Kitchen founder, Ms. Dedet dela Fuente, prior to the private dinner. So although I usually eat a light snack before going to food tastings, I made sure my stomach's empty for the night 'cause I know I'm in for a serious gastronomic overload.

Pig-Shaped Bread

When my friend Ronn, and I got to Ms. Dedet's home, we were welcomed with a beautiful table arrangement donned with origami pieces of cute little pigs. The pig theme was actually very evident that even the bread was shaped to a lechon. (It's skewered in the middle too!) Aside from the cute bread, there were also 2 bowls already on the table.

Pinoy Caviar (bihud)

The first one is this Pinoy Caviar made from bihud, roe or fish eggs. Being a roe-lover, I was quite pleased with this pate as it was savory yet delicate on the palate. It also didn't taste and feel too fishy unlike ikura, but you'd get a hint of that distinct seafood taste.

Pinoy Pate (balut)

The other one was the Pinoy Pate which main ingredient Ms. Dedet didn't reveal right away. From the first bite, I already had a feeling that this was made from one of my most favorite local delicacies. And boy, I was right! It was indeed made from balut or fertilized duck egg. Since I'm a big fan of balut, I definitely preferred this over the Pinoy Caviar.

Rellenong Bulaklak

As another meal starter, we had the very original Rellenong Bulaklak which are fried squash blossoms stuffed with kesong puti or white cheese, and anchovies. Aside from looking so pretty on the plate, this unique item tasted good. I love how the slightly salty, tart and creamy kesong puti blends so harmoniously with the sharp saltiness of the anchovies while the fried flower casing provides for a beautiful and delicate crisp.

Balut Salpicao

Next we had the Balut Salpicao. Ms. Dedet shared that this dish is another take on our local delicacy which more often than not, drives off foodies for its appearance. And while I have no problem eating my favorite balut even in broad daylight (Oh, and I eat the sisiw!), this visually chick-less version cooked with garlic and olive oil, tasted as good as the plain balut. Although to be honest, I still prefer the novelty from eating balut as it is.

Eto Naiba

Before we moved to the main highlight of the evening, we were first served with a salad dish Ms. Dedet refers to as Eto Naiba. There's nothing particular behind the name, it's just really the odd one out on the menu. And while our host explains that this salad item's recipe depends on what's in the market, for our trip, she prepared an ensemble of greens, micro-beets, mango, melon and longan drenched with mangosteen vinaigrette.

Lechon de Leche 01

After a series of appetite whetters, we were off to start the lechon party. Ms. Dedet ringed her bell and we all gathered to watch while Yaya Ruth begins the lechon ceremony. She sliced the pig and I just went giddy after I heard how crunchy the lechon skin was! Then, an enticing aroma enveloped the room. And before we know it, the lechon feast began.

Lechon de Leche 01 German Lechon

This pitiful yet yummy-looking pig is the German Lechon -- our first lechon de leche for the night, stuffed with whole garlic heads, marbled potatoes and stalks of lemongrass. I swear, this pig was so aromatic. However, it tasted even better than how it smells! The lechon skin was so crispy and the meat was just so tender and so succulent, and when eaten with the garlic and potatoes, it became magic in my mouth.

Calamansi Sorbet

As a palate cleanser in between pigs, we were served with a Calamansi Sorbet which strongly reminded me of one I've had in Lolo Dad's. And while I loved how zesty and refreshing this intermission item was, I was sure all the more excited for the next lechon.

Lechon de Leche 02

Not long after I wished for it came the Laing Lechon which was a crowd favorite during our degustacion. Like the previous lechon de leche, Yaya Ruth again shows her skillful cutlery piercing through the lechon's beautiful, crispy skin and unlocking the fragrant and enticing laing (taro leaves and chili peppers in coconut milk) rice.

Lechon de Leche 02 Laing Lechon

While I loved the first lechon de leche, I really liked the Laing Lechon more. Of course, it had rice so that's a plus. It also had the right spiciness and coconut flavor that balanced out the oil in the lechon. And okay, I admit, I love laing in general.

Lechon de Leche 03 My Plate
My plate of the Spanish Manilena Lechon
Lechon de Leche 03 Spanish Manilena Lechon

After the second lechon, we went straight to the Spanish Manilena Lechon which is stuffed with a paella-inspired combination of Spanish chorizo and aligue (crab fat) rice. I love how sharp, smoky and flavorful this lechon de leche was. However, I found it too much for my palate. I only got a small portion and it more than enough. Ronn on the other hand, loves this though. He said it's his favorite among all the lechon de leches we had.

Sabachara

We were then first served with the Sabachara, a between-course palate cleanser which literally means saba na atachara (pickled banana). Generally, I like eating atchara (pickled papaya) with grilled meat. However, the Sabachara was a little harder for my palate to get used to. The pickled banana slices were a little sweet, a little salty and sour.

Lechon de Leche 04 My Plate
My plate of the French Lechon
Lechon de Leche 04 French Lechon

Last but definitely not the least was the French Lechon stuffed with mushrooms and truffle oil-mixed rice. While truffle oil now has a reputation for being overused and abused, Ms. Dedet's truffle rice-stuffed lechon didn't smell gassy, but delicately savory. The taste on the other hand, was even more wonderful. The truffle rice had a beautiful earthy flavor that went perfectly with the succulent lechon meat and crispy lechon skin. Among all four lechons, this was my most favorite, for the stuffing and crunchier skin.

Lechon Degustation Cholesterol Sweeper

After four lechon de leches, it was just logical to follow it up with a dessert item called the Cholesterol Sweeper (to sweep the cholesterol away) which is a healthier take on champorado (chocolate rice porridge). Unlike regular champorado, this one has oatmeal cooked in tablea. And while I preferred it to be a little sweeter, I appreciated this warm and comforting dessert item as I'm a fan of both oatmeal and tsokolate.

Dedet de la Fuente and her daughter
Ms. Dedet de la Fuente and her youngest daughter
Foodies at Pepita's Kitchen
Lechon-stuffed foodies; Photo grabbed from sir Spanky.

There were two more desserts on the degustacion menu -- the Gayuma ni Pepita and the Super Suman, but it was already getting pretty late so Ronn and I had to say our thanks and goodbyes. There's no doubt though that this is one, if not the most memorable dinner I've had for the year. So thank you, thank you so much!


Pepita's Kitchen by Dedet de la Fuente
(02) 425-4605; (0917) 866-0662
pepitaskitchen@gmail.com
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14 comments:

  1. wow, my husband would've love this! I cannot wait to go home next month, lechon every party!

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  2. sooo sinful! hahaha :) i want that laing lechon!! :)

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  3. These lechons are served with a twist! perfect for the coming Yuletide season! =)

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  4. grabe! biglang ang dami nang choices ng lechon. at mukhang bet ko yung spanish manilena lechon. matry nga! :)

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  5. Oh my... ang sarap tingnan ng French Lechon. That and the Laing Lechon ang pangarap kong matikman. So lucky you had the chance to be a part of this experience. :)

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  6. Ang sarap ng lahat ng nasa photos...and what even made me drool is the lechon hehehe..miss it so much...thanks for the info about location. As always, awesome entry.

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  7. Omgee. Hello Highblood and cholesterol! LOL. This is really what you call 'PIG OUT' LOL. I wanna eat there soon! I hope I'll gain 50lbs after I eat there. hihi :)

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  8. I'm a fan of lechon! Hope to try that balut Salpicao. Err yummy! *Drooling*

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  9. Lechon oh Lechon, what did you do to my HDL...hihihi kailangang mag exercise!

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  10. Lechon! Kung di ka lang nakakahigh blood eh! Hehe!

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  11. Woah! Actually I'm not a fan of Lechon but I'm wanting to try all of it! :)

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  12. Woah. Never heard of laing lechon! Hahaha. It really tastes good, Lechon but high in cholesterol. The skin is superb!:)

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