Lechón is a pork dish in several regions of the world, most specifically Spain and its former colonial possessions throughout the world. The word lechón originated from the Spanish term lechón, referring to a suckling pig that is roasted. Lechón is a popular food in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, North Sulawesi province of Indonesia, other Spanish-speaking nations in Latin America, and Spain. The dish features a whole roasted pig cooked over charcoal. Additionally, it is a national dish of the Philippines with Cebu being acknowledged by American chef Anthony Bourdain as having the best pig, and also being the national dish of Puerto Rico. Nowadays in most of Latin America, the original use of a suckling pig has given way to a medium-sized adult pig.
In most regions, lechón is prepared throughout the year for any special occasion, during festivals, and the holidays. After seasoning, the pig is cooked by skewering the entire animal, entrails removed, on a large stick and cooking it in a pit filled with charcoal. The pig is placed over the charcoal, and the stick or rod it is attached to is turned in a rotisserie action. The pig is roasted on all sides for several hours until done. The process of cooking and basting usually results in making the pork skin crisp and is a distinctive feature of the dish.
Possible evidence of roasting pigs prior to Spanish colonization suggests that like adobo, the process of roasting pigs have been done before the arrival of Spain.
- Vicky B. Bartlet (17 December 2011). "Palmonas: Make 'buko' juice as national drink". Business Mirror. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
In his House Resolution 1887, Agham (Science) Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones said the Philippines has already a number of national symbols, such as narra as national tree, sampaguita as national flower, mango as national fruit, milkfish as national fish and lechon (roast pig) as national dish.
- Lara Day (23 April 2009). "Pork Art". Time. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
Anthony Bourdain — whose love of all things porcine is famous — visited the Philippine island of Cebu with his show No Reservations and declared that he had found the best pig ever
- Cohen, Tina; Bernthal, Ron (2006). Puerto Rico Off the Beaten Path, 5th: Volume 5 of OFF THE BEATEN PATH PUERTO RICO. Globe Pequot Press. p. xi. ISBN 978-0-7627-4211-0. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
Lechon asado (roasted suckling pig) is the national dish of Puerto Rico and is festively presented at holidays and family occasions.
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