Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) and Department of Tourism (DOT) joined hands to promote Filipino Cuisine and Tourism through the Sooo Pinoy Food Tour in the country’s 12 key cities. In April, the Sooo Pinoy food tour explored Cebu to discover its home grown flavors.
Lechon baboy, or roasted pig, has been a part of the ‘Sugbu’ (old name of Cebu) culinary culture as cited by a Cebuano historian. Of the dozens of Cebu eating places that offer lechon, one of the most creative is City Sports Club Cebu, an exclusive urban resort destination within Cebu Park District.
Its executive chef, Brian Lance Bersonda stakes his culinary mastery on a creation he calls rolled pork lechon. Rolled pork lechon and inun-unan nga salmon with bihod are just two of his traditional culinary masterpieces.
Rolled pork lechon does not require the traditional way of cooking it in an open pit of candent charcoals, but oven roasted. For Chef Brian, it is the tenderness of the pork that matters, highlighted by flavors that mainly depend on the stuffing of spices and ingredients inside before roasting. Chef Brian uses banana blossoms or puso ng saging along with other spices and ingredients such as onions, onion leaves, garlic, bay leaves, sangki and pepper. To add more flavor to the dish, the puso ng saging is sautéed with san-aw, an extract from the pig itself.
Another feather on Chef Brian’s toque is his inun-unan nga salmon with bihod (salmon with fish roe or female fish eggs stewed in vinegar, garlic and salt or paksiw) based on a family clay pot recipe acquired from his grandmother. According to the chef, the traditional way of cooking in clay pot is still the best way to make paksiw. Boiling the vinegar along with eggplant, ampalaya, kamias or cucumber tree, and the aromatics garlic, siling labuyo and ginger is his way to prepare before adding the fish to avoid over softening. Seasoning and kamias add thickness to the sauce which is perfect to be paired with fried corn grits, a popular alternative of rice in Cebu. The inun-unan is best served two days after it was cooked to ensure that the flavor is absorbed by the fish.
Both dishes are served every last Sunday of the month at City Sports Club Cebu’s La Veranda along with other delectable dishes like kalderetang kambing, pochero, grilled seafood as well as other types of cuisines.