Manillechon: Anthony Bourdain’s favorite pig lands in the capital

Over a month ago, I teased a photo of a famous restaurant from Cebu that was still under construction. I just happened to have biked past it on my way to my favorite deli, and my caption talked about kamias shake being available in my neighborhood.

I didn’t expect to receive a deluge of questions asking where it was, and my response was wrapped in mystery because I wanted to be among the first to dine in the restaurant. I actually showed up for opening day, and so did more than 200 other people. I was already turned away because the wait list was longer than the waiter’s arm, but some friends already occupied a table, so I happily marched inside, looking forward to ordering a small plate of lechon.

Immediately after I got seated, my friends informed me that they’d been waiting to get served for over an hour. I politely informed the wait staff about our predicament, and our food eventually arrived, with a lot of apologies and a few things we didn’t order. To compensate for the time we had to endure waiting to eat, they gave us a platter of rice, a plate of chicharon, extra lechon skin, and biko. The lechon skin came from the beautifully-roasted pig on display in the middle of the well-lit restaurant. MarketMan himself sliced it using a plate.

I had a brief conversation with MarketMan about the changes in the menu. I specifically asked why dulong wasn’t served. He told me that even his Cebu restaurants stopped offering it when environmentalists informed him that the silverfish which he sourced from a cooperative in Agusan del Norte was nearly endangered.

I returned two days later with a different set of friends, and the queue for a table was still long. We had a light and very disappointing dinner in a nearby restaurant, and still came back and ordered more food than we could handle. The owner of Carmen’s Best was there and offered us free ice cream on the condition that we take pictures, and it paired very well with our dessert.

Zubuchon has only been open for less than a week. It’s located along Talisay Street in Makati City, about a 300 meters from the post office. Service was much faster when I returned, but your chances of getting a table increase if you arrive after 9PM. Try the mustasa with lechon bits, and whatever you eat, don’t forget to order the kamias shake.

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