Cebu, the Queen City of the South, is a great place for foodies. The largest city and operational center of the Visayas, is a treasure trove for historical sites and awesome eats. Here’s a run-down of some of the must-try local delicacies.
Lechon de Cebu
Mention Cebu and lechon immediately comes to mind. Cebu claims to have the best roasted pork in the country, and most meat-loving visitors never pass up the chance to try it out. Local businesses around Cebu usually offer whole pigs (for parties and celebrations), chopped meat per kilo, and combo meals.
The authentic Cebu lechon usually tastes very flavorful as the herbs seep all the way through the tender chunks of meat and crispy skin. Lechon is tasty enough to be eaten with no sauce, but can also be dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar for extra flavor. Everyone has their favorite brand of lechon, but popular choices among locals include Rico’s, CnT, Tatangs, Zubuchon, and Ayer’s.
Puso (Hanging Rice)
Be sure to pair your meaty lechon meal with puso or“hanging rice.” Cebu’s signature rice is boiled and wrapped in coconut leaves and can be found hanging in batches in stalls from local eateries. The coconut leaves that wrap the rice infuse a distinct flavor to the rice while the convenient packages make it easy to carry anywhere for easy takeout. Aside from lechon, you can pair the versatile hanging rice with different street foods, seafood dishes or barbecue.
Speaking of barbecue, if you love skewered meat, you’re in luck. Larsian sa Fuente, a night market in Cebu, is a local favorite where you can find rows and rows of freshly grilled meat and seafood. Larsian is often recommended for balikbayans and first-timers in Cebu because of the fun and festive atmosphere and unique food finds. Get your fix of meaty goodness like pork bbq, pork belly, liempo, chorizo, chicken pitso and tasty appetizers like chicken skin and isaw. After undergoing a renovation in 2018, Larsian’s now serves other local dishes such as larang (fish stew), seafood, and desserts, to complement the meat dishes.
Sutukil is a combination of the words “Sugba” (grill), “Tula” (stew), and “Kilawin” (to cook in vinegar), a local version of sashimi. The concept of sutukil is that diners can pick one type of fish and have it cooked three different ways. This local style of food preparation gives tourists a variety of different flavors and textures in one setting.
Looking for something a little more exotic? How about sampling a bubbling dish of tuslob-buwa? This tasty gravy like stir-fried dish is made mostly of pig brain, pork liver or intestines, onions, oil, soy sauce or fish sauce and other various seasonings. Considered a staple street food among locals, who pair it with puso or hanging rice, the dish is also served as an appetizer in specialty bars and restaurants. Tuslob-buwa has become one of the top choices of adventurous foodies after a version of the dish served in Cebuano restaurant Azul was featured in an episode of Neflix’s Street Food Asia series.
Next time you travel to Cebu, be sure to sample these unique and tasty local delicacies!