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Leonardo’s Lechon of San Juan continues the family’s legacy after almost 70 years
Although lechon is known to have been originated in Spain with many versions in different parts of the world, Filipinos are proud to say that we have perfected the method of making lechon for us to claim it as part of our rich culture and tradition. The most popular of which, comes out as a whole pig that’s slow-roasted to perfection, with crispy golden skin, a thin layer of fat, and fall-off-the-bone meat that’s flavored with herbs and spices. And even though the best lechon is said to be found in the regions down south of the Philippines (Cebu and Negros Occidental), there is one humble lechonero based in San Juan, Manila who has been making his own version of flavorsome lechon since 1947.
From the humble beginnings of living in a small shack owned by a relative and operating a retail stall in the local market, Tatay Leonardo and his wife Nanay Josefina Aquino (known as Totoy and Pinay to their friends) were always asked to serve their family’s heirloom recipes in massive quantities, usually placed in big cauldrons during celebrations and fiestas with dishes like Kare-Kare, Dinuguan, Kaldereta and Lechon. Tatay Leonardo’s decision of selling his lechon at their same retail stall came when he realized that he can earn from his talent of making it. Initially, his first employees were his seven children, who would help in preparing, cooking and delivering to customers. And as the children knew more about the business while they balance it with their studies, it turned out successful. Tatay Leonardo was now able to buy a new property, where he was able to build a house and a lechonan. And after years of cooking and roasting, the Aquino family still continue to invest on serving good food and the best lechon as they share their passion and values to both their employees and customers.
Still, while it’s been 70 years since the humble lechonero started the business, the Aquino family never resisted on better ways to serve their lechon. The result? Leonard Aquino (who is now a third generation lechonero) conceptualized the Carnivore Lechon. Following the same procedure of cooking lechon the traditional way using hard wood charcoal and bamboo with herbs and spices, the Carnivore Lechon gets a filling of three sausages (Kielbasa, Hungarian and Chorizo), roasted garlic potatoes and lots of bacon.
The Drunken Lechon, on the other hand, is a collaboration with Pedro Craftbrewers, where the pig is marinated in Pedro Craft Beer which gives it a slightly sweeter taste and succulent moist meat.
To date, Leonardo’s Lechon has 7 different varieties, including the Lechon Tagalog (bestseller), Lechon Cebu, Hot and Spicy Lechon, Gourmet Herb Lechon, Lechon Galena, Drunken Lechon and the Carnivore Lechon (bestseller). All lechons are available in 4 sizes: de leche, small, medium and large. And while competitors would sell this dish separately, Leonardo’s Lechon also offers free Dinuguan for every lechon order, which actually is a very good deal getting more from what you ordered.
Perfect for sharing with family and friends, don’t forget to place your orders ahead of time and make Leonardo’s Lechon a part of your event!
Leonardo’s Lechon. The heart of your celebration since 1947.
Leonardo’s Lechon is located at 89 J. Basa Street, San Juan City or you may contact the following numbers: (+63)2 7258618, (+63)2 7256071 or (+63)917 8833391
Other photos available on Leonardo's Lechon Facebook Page.
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