Cebu is famous for its lechon. It is quite distinct from the usual roasted pig you find elsewhere in the Philippines as it does not need lechon sauce to make it tasty. Some people find it a little salty, but in general, it is a delectable treat. The best Cebu lechon is hard to pinpoint, but you could try‚ Rico‚s Original Lechon, found along Highway 77 in Talamban City.‚ If you’re into spicy food, you must try Rico’s spicy lechon. It’s so good, I am drooling while I am writing this article. You can also try the boneless variety from Cebu’s‚ Original Lechon Belly. You can find it in the Parkmall C.D. Seno in Mandaue City.
It may sound a little strange to dip cooked rice (called puso) in a sauce made of cooked pig‚s brain or liver, fish sauce, onions and seasonings, but it is surprisingly tasty. It is perhaps not fine dining, but when in Rome…Tuslob Buwa (which translates to dip in bubbles, by the way) is street food, so you can find it almost anywhere in Carbon or Pasil. If you‚re picky, though, you can try the one at Azul in the Taft Business Center on Gorordo Ave, Cebu City.
There are many different types of pochero, but the ones served in Kusina Uno (GND Building, F. Cabahug, Cebu City) and Abuhan (F. Ramos St, Cebu City) are quite delicious. It is more bulalo (it has a clear soup) than the Tagalog pochero, though, so set your expectations.‚ You can choose the standard soup, or sizzling, and one order is good for two people.
Siomai sa Tisa
Is it strange to feature siomai for Cebu food? It is, but here it is. Siomai sa Tisa is a far-cry from most commercial siomai, even those from fancy Chinese restaurants. Maybe it‚s the Filipino twist in the flavoring, or the meats used. Whatever it is, you should not eat it because you will not be satisfied with other siomai again. If you are determined to live in frustration forever, you can find the real original at Tisa, Labangon, Cebu City. Be careful, not all those purporting to be Siomai sa Tisa are D‚Original Siomai Sa Tisa.
If you are not squeamish, (and can supposedly help put the ram in your rod) you should really try this soup, which is made of the genitals of bulls. If you are ready to take the bull by the, er, horns, there is a carinderia in the Ramos market that specializes in it. It is pretty good, and something you can write home about.
A variation of the spring rolls, it is a crunchy Cebu favorite, particularly because of the 5 spice used in it and the special dipping sauce. The best place to try this is at Carlos Special Ngohiong, which has a branch near Mabolo Church and also in Guadalupe. ‚ The original is a house in Mambaling.
This is a noodle dish using a mix of canton and sotanghon noodles, and cooked with tengang daga, shrimp, pork, and chicken.‚ It is seldom you get authentic bam-I outside Cebu, but you can find it in most carinderias in mid afternoon.
Humba is a more familiar sight in Cebu than the perennial favorite adobo, and it is actually braised rather than fried or boiled. It is sweet rather than salty, and often accompanied by black beans. The best place to get a good humba is in a Cebuano home; failing that, you can try any carinderia or at Wellcome Hotel’s restaurant.
Baby Back Ribs
Casa Verde‚s Brian‚s Ribs is something you should try when in Cebu. It tastes good and the serving is huge for an affordable price.
A trip to Cebu would not be complete with at least one breakfast of crispy danggit, fried rice, and scrambled eggs. You can buy it as pasalubong from Tabo-an Market, where they sell it by the kilo. A little goes long ways, so don‚t buy too much, and be sure to bargain. You can also find other interesting food there, including dried squid (nukus), dried mangoes, and Otap.