This food success story started with an experiment in trying to roast pig, known as lechon in the Philippines, the good, old-fashioned way. The man involved in this search is Joel Binamira, an amateur home cook who maintains a respected food blog, www.marketmanila.com and is known as “Marketman.” The old way means using pigs homegrown from the backyard, stuffed with natural ingredients like organic lemongrass without using MSG or any artificial enhancers, slowly roasted on a bamboo pole, and occasionally acupunctured to produce a crisp skin. After several experiments, Joel felt that he and his roasters got it right and they had their own version they can call their own.
Perhaps due to the popularity of his blog, the crew of Anthony Bourdain contacted him if he can prepare a meal with his lechon as the centerpiece meal for his TV show No Reservations. On camera, Bourdain described eating the lechon skin as “tastes like candy.” After the shoot, Joel asked Bourdain to autograph his book and he wrote “Best Pig … Ever!” With such a powerful endorsement from Bourdain, success was there for the taking. Prodded by his employees, Joel started selling only two lechons on a Sunday. They were sold in 10 minutes. The following Sunday, they increased it to five. 100 people turned up and in 30 minutes, all five were gone.
Now, Joel has two outlets in Cebu City named ZUBUCHON-one at One Mango Avenue Building (+6332 239 5697) along Maxilom Avenue; and the other is at the Escario Building (+6332 239 1225) on Escario Street There’s also a takeout outlet at the pre-departure area of the Mactan Domestic Airport (+63918 654 4678). For private functions, Joel has opened his sprawling property near the Cebu Provincial Capitol Building.For more details, contact the General Manager, Mary Joan Danao – +6332 236 5264; +63927 564 3208; and maryjoandanao@yahoo com. Anthony Bourdain is a celebrity chef and host of the highly popular TV series No Reservations. His books are bestsellers due to his cutting and colorful insights on food.