Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Must Eat in Cebu List

I just spent 5 days in Cebu eating my way around the city and beyond!  In the past, I have gone for day trips. So many places to explore in terms of dining.  Even though I had all the time in the world .... it still was not enough.

A visit to Cebu is not complete without eating at CNT.

I have been to the branch across SM Cebu but tried the one on V. Rama, Guadalupe.

It seems frustrating that the rib part is always the first to run out, which leaves the shoulder or the pigue part - not really my favorite.  But just the same .... it satisfied a need.

Went to the nearby Guadalupe Church and attended a service.

I could not understand because it was in Cebuano.... all I could remember was ...kasing-kasing which means heart.  True enough ... there was a big picture of the Twin Hearts.  Maybe it was devotion hour?

Ayala Terraces Cebu is just like Greenbelt in terms of the greenery.  They also have different kinds of restaurants and shops.

Hukad by Cowrie Grill has always been on my LIST.

They are known for their Baked Scallops.

I have been reading some blogs and Calamares was mentioned several times.

I checked in at Premiere Citi Suites near Fuente Osmena Circle and also a short distance to/from Ayala Terraces, 68.00 pesos cab fare.  I always calculate the distance by the cab fare.

It is ranked  #4 of 63 hotels in Cebu by Tripadvisor, after Radisson, Waterfront and Marco Polo.

I got the Junior Suite.

It was spacious with a queen-sized bed, flat screen television,

 well lighted with 3 floor to ceiling windows,  sofa,

kitchenette with a small refrigerator and microwave,

bathroom - combination tub and shower with strong water pressure.

I was contented with the room.  I did not see bugs nor other creatures!

But I was upgraded to an executive suite the next day because they were painting the room next to mine and the smell was quite unbearable... toxic fumes!

The executive suite has 2 air-conditioning units, 2 flat screen televisions, queen sized bed, kitchenette with ref and microwave, sofa and a combination tub/shower.

I still prefer the junior suite only because it it more compact.

I woke up early the next day for my adventure to Carcar.

Breakfast was a simple affair of rice, egg and longganisa ala Jollibee.

View from the roof deck where breakfast was served.

I just researched the internet how to get to Carcar.

The City of Lechon and Chicharon!!!

I took an air-conditioned Ceres bus at the Cebu South Bus Terminal.  Told the conductor I will go down at the rotunda of Carcar.

An hour and a half later and 70.00 pesos poorer, I alighted the bus and immediately ..... the scent of Lechon being roasted alerted my senses!  I knew I was in the right place.  All I did was follow my nose.  I went to the Carcar Public Market. 

It was a typical market! At first, I thought it will just be a market for Lechon .... but no, it was not.  Towards the back was what I was looking for!

The Lechon Lane!!!!

Almost every stall offered me free Lechon skin to taste!!! 

First one I tried was from Bebie .... hmmm .... crunch... crunch ... crunch .....

The next free taste was given by Lita and Joel .... ZAPPPPPPP!!!!!

It was like, I was jolted by a zap of electricity!  I said to myself ... this is it!!!  Their lechon was so crunchy and it was still piping hot when they chopped it!

The clincher was the sinulid they gave me!!!

It is the string like meat of the lechon.... another favorite of mine.

I bought half a kilo each from Bebie and Lita and Joel.  I ate it at a small eatery (carinderia) and ordered a cup of white rice. The Cebuanos usually eat it with puso, rice cooked in leaves.

It was one of the best Cebu Lechons I have ever eaten!

Of course CNT and Zubuchon would always hit the spot if you cannot go to Carcar but if you get a chance ... GO! It is so easy to get there.

A little problem though while I was eating at the market, lots of people were looking at me and also people asking for food.  I already gave an old lady a serving of lechon ... but then after her... another old lady asked if she could have some.  Of course, I did not understand her but kinda got her drift.  I gave her another serving and invited her to join my table.

I ordered rice for her also.She was so happy and was telling me stories but I could not understand so I just nodded my head and smiled every few minutes.

Outside the market was the Chicharon area.

Mat Mat is a popular brand ... they only had rind with no fat.

I walked a bit and found a chicharon stall with fat!

My pasalubong for Tita Portia.  She only likes food with fat.

The only place where I could find Coke Light or Coke Zero was at Jollibee.  I got a LARGE cup because it was really so hot.

A short tricycle ride brought me to Carcar Church.

Too bad it was still closed, I was not able to go in but I heard mass at the chapel behind it.  1st Friday mass in Cebuano.

I met two little girls who were my guide around the place. 

They brought me to the Carcar Museum.

A Ceres bus ride and I was back in the city and to my hotel.  A cold shower was so refreshing, I was able to take a short nap.

Next on  My Must Eat List was Matias Barbecue on A.S. Fortuna St. near the corner of Hernan Cortes St., Mandaue.

It reminded me of  Beach House Canteen in UP Diliman where you eat barbecue under the trees.

I ordered the Grilled Chicken

tried 1 piece of pork barbecue.

Hmmmm ... it was good... I wonder how can they grill the chicken without overcooking it and at the same time not bloody!?!

Across Matias Barbecue was Cheaverz!

I read that their ngohiong was good, so I had to try it.

Ngohiong is like fried lumpiang ubod with a very spicy thick sauce.

I loved it!!!!!!  I only ordered 2 pieces because I just ate at Matias. I want to make my own ngohiong!

I also tried the pork barbecue ....

and pork sinigang.

It had red bell pepper??!?!!  Quite sacrilegious if you ask me. 

I am definitely going to eat the ngohiong again at Cheaverz, they have many locations in the City but unfortunately not in the malls.

Breakfast the next day was sooo ordinary ... corned beef and scrambled eggs.

I just wanted some home grown Cebuano favorites for lunch.  Candy recommended Boosog.

I ordered the Mongo Soup with seafood

and ...

pancit bam-i.

I have been researching where the best bam-i could be eaten but since everybody cooks it at home, it is not a specialty of the restaurants.

I gave my stomach a rest for the evening ... I have been indulging for days!!!  I just had a ham sandwich which I brought with me from Manila, Majestic Ham in Whole Wheat Pan  De Manila jumbo pandesal and a can of Sarsi Light.

Sunday was the most awaited day!!!!  Or so ... I thought.

After an ordinary breakfast again of longganisa .... I  was in a hurry to get my order of Ricos Lechon in Talamban!!!

From Ayala Terraces, I took a jeepney to Talamban.  Normally, when I do not know the location and it is a bit far from the city proper, my safest bet would be to ride the jeepney.  I am afraid the taxi driver might take me to a place I do not know or might take the longest route so it will be more expensive.

The driver brought me down at the street corner of Ricos Lechon.  I had to walk a few houses away and then ... there it was again .... the scent of lechon being roasted!!!!  I can even get to the place blind folded. Haahahaha!

I saw the little pigs in their pen.

Normally, I would feel compassion for them but ... looking at the greater picture ... Compassion or Lechon??!?!?  Which do you think won???

I just ordered half a kilo... I could not get more because I cannot eat it all.  I quickly took a jeepney back to Ayala Terraces and ate it at the food court.

Ricos Lechon ....Hmmmm ... it was a bit of a let down ... maybe because the skin was not crispy anymore? I saw on the little note that it said I will pick it up at 7:00 am! I already told the girl on the phone that I would get it at 10 am!

But then ... taste wise .... it was not what I wanted.  Cebu Lechon for me to be delicious must be so full of flavor that I do not even need to use the vinegar dip. Just like Lita and Joel Lechon in Carcar, I did not dip it in any sauce!

Good thing CNT has a stall at the food court... and the whole pig just arrived!  I was able to buy half a kilo of my precious ribs!

You might be imagining that I have been eating tons and tons of lechon.  No! That is not true .. I only ate the crispy skin and nibbled on ribs. I did not eat the meaty parts, I brought it back to the hotel and put it immediately in the freezer.  When I got to Manila, I baked it in the turbo oven the next day until it was all brown and crisp.

Lucky me .... there was Sunday mass inside the movie cinema of Ayala Terraces.

Another restaurant in my Must Eat List was MOOON Cafe - Mexican Inspired Fusion

I just got the Beef Burrito.

The place was packed!  I guess it is very popular with the locals.

I also wanted to try the dim sum next door at Tsim Sha Tsui.

I ordered the Sio Mai


Shrimp Toast.

Back to the hotel for a cold refreshing shower and a nap.  It was very hot in Cebu but not as hot as Manila.

Early evening was a trip to Larsian!!!  Marianne said it IS a must try!

I have always wanted to go to Larsian but did not have enough time nor space in my stomach during my day trips.

It is an ihaw-ihaw place behind Robinsons Cybergate.  The City government is renovating their usual area on Fuente Osmena Circle.

I got the grilled chicken, pork barbecue and chorizos.

I am learning to like the puso, I suppose it is an acquired taste.

I brought it back to the hotel because I felt I would be more comfortable eating my loot in an air-conditoned room.

I was waiting and waiting and waiting .......   I think all I did in Cebu was just wait and wait ....

I was waiting to get hungry again!!! I still have a lot on my MUST EAT List!

Finally! I felt a little hungry and off I went to Kusina Uno on F.Cabahug St. across Jetti gas station.

I just ordered Pochero, which we Tagalog people call Bulalo.  I told the waiter I want it with lots and lots of marrow.

When the soup arrived, the waiters were in awe of me!  One old waiter even tapped me on my arm ... as if to say:

Way to go!!!!  

I was in heaven.  Look!!! Such a big and long bone shank!  Longer than my forearm!!!

I immediately started shaking the bone so the marrow would drop on my plate .... knocked it on my plate also to jostle the stubborn marrow bits sticking to the bone ... spooned  hot soup into it ... used the knife ... used the popsicle stick ....

and then .....

It was an... Oh, God! Thank you, Lord! Oh my God! moment!!!!

How to enjoy the marrow......

A spoonful of marrow over hot rice .....drizzled with calamansi, sili and Rufina (patis in Cebuano)  then a bit of the hot broth.  SARAP to the 100th degree!!!  Deadly!!! 

The buttery marrow made up for all my frustrations and disappointments during this trip.

And the soup did not come with just one bone with marrow! It came with two!!!

Double whammy!!!! 

I wanted to take home to Manila the left over Pochero because it still had a lot of meat which was very tender but it is so hard to transport soup unless I buy a plastic container. I figured, it was too much of a hassle.  So I just gave it to the guard of my hotel.  Lucky guy ... it would still feed a family of four!  I only got the marrow and a teeny weeny bit of beef.

I did get a head ache at midnight ... too much cholesterol????? MSG??? But so super worth it, even if I die I would not mind eating it again. Hahahahahaha! How can a dead person eat marrow again???

I did not even eat breakfast the next day because I wanted to go to Domings in Fairlane Village, Guadalupe.  Most of the blogs I  read said they love Domings!   But I could not find the contact number nor the map.  I spent my morning googling and googling.  I had a very strong wifi signal in the room.


Directions to Domings....

Take jeepney 6B or 6H? heading towards Guadalupe.

Go down at the Guadalupe Elementary School.

Across is the entrance to Fairlane Village.

The house is between 23 and 28 FairlaneVillage.  (I thought it was a subdivision but the name of the street is Fairlane Village.)

Tada! I found it!  It is a house with a few tables in the garage.

I ordered 4 pieces of ngo hiong and 2 puso rice.

Hmmmm .... it was okay... but I still prefer the ngohiong of Cheaverz.

A quick shower again back at the hotel .....  Hahahahaha.... what can I do? It was so hot... one must shower 3-4 times a day.

After I checked out at noon, I headed to Sm Travellers Lounge!!!!

I left my luggage and pasalubong bag.  It only cost 30.00 pesos!!!  But then inside SM Department store, they also have a luggage storage for free!  Just that the Travellers Lounge was nearer the taxi stand.

I asked Candy again where to eat for lunch and she recommended Harbor City.

Told me to try the Steamed Fried Rice

and their sio mai.

I got the Bacon wrapped siomai!

It was good! Chunks of pork and shrimps as opposed to ground meat!

I cut a little piece from the sio mai ... dipped it in toyomansi .... then ......

RINGGGGGG!!!  LOL Candy just texted to say: Do not dip it in soy!

OOOOppppssss too late!!!  Hahahaha but I enjoyed the rest soyless.  It was really good!

I also ordered the fried chicken but too oily for me.

Hello!!!  FRIED?!!?

Of course it would be oily but did not expect it to be that oily.

Cucumber- Apple Shake

I was able to buy a blouse at Forever 21!!!   I walked around the mall and decided to just rest my legs and  have a quick snack at Cafe Laguna.  One would think I was dining at Cafe Via Mare because the menu was almost exactly the same!

I ordered bibingka.

They even gave hot salabat??

It was time to head to the airport.  I wanted to eat at AA Barbecue in Mactan but I was still full.  I thought I would be home early but my flight was delayed by two hours.  I should have bought food from SM.  I had a hotdog sandwich at the airport and it costs 75 pesos?!?!!?!?  I felt ripped!  Sabrett costs less!!!

I am very happy with my Cebu adventure.  Although there were times that I was extremely  disappointed but I knew how to entertain and make myself happy.  When I was given lemon... I made it into lemonade.  And a sweet one at that!

A short recap....

Must Eat in Cebu of Lia.....

Lita and Joel Lechon, Carcar Public Market
Ngohiong, Cheaverz
Pochero, Kusina Uno - all time favorite
Sio Mai, Harbor City

I will definitely visit those places when I go back to Cebu in August for my birthday with my Ate!

ARRGHHHHH  Writing this post was such a torture for me!!!!  I want to eat everything all over again!

After Boracay ... Cebu is my 2nd most favorite destination.


  1. Hi Lia---i really enjoyed this post on Cebu. Looking forward to your other travel adventures:-)

  2. Hi Cindy! Thanks! I also enjoyed my adventure and was excited to share it with everybody.

  3. I was waiting and waiting and waiting ....... I think all I did in Cebu was just wait and wait .... I was waiting to get hungry again!!! I still have a lot on my MUST EAT List! --->> THIS! Cracked me up hahaha I am glad you had a great time here in Cebu. I'm a true-blue Cebuano and i am loving this entry! I admire your good heart to invite the old ladies who were asking for food. it may have brought a bit of disappointment in you but your actions still stood out. You're one of a kind and my new guilty pleasure! Im sooo bookmarking your site na! :D -markin gomez

  4. Hi, Markin! I am so glad you enjoyed my Cebu post. Thank you also for bookmarking it. :)

  5. oh god, everything you had was damn yummy :)

  6. Hi pinkcookies! Yes! I loved all the Cebu food I ate! I am dreaming of round 2!

  7. One of the most informative and candid blogs I read about Cebu. Kudos! And I was touched when you offered food for the old lady. That's a class act. :)

    1. Hi, Wence! Thanks for reading my blog. I love Cebu! I cannot wait to go back and eat my way around the city and beyond!

  8. I was searching for some ideas about Cebu for my Korean student when I came across your blog. Super wow! Super awesome!! I read it from top to bottom. ^_^ Thanks for posting. -florencebeegeez

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for reading my Cebu post. I hope it helped you and your Korean students.

  9. gave me a lot of idea for the weekends.hahah thank you. :)

  10. Lechon and steamed rice are some of the must try foods in Cebu... pero sa may restaurant na nag bebenta ng steamed rine na may lechon... ayos!!!

  11. The best ngohiong is found in Chinese ngohiong, ung Malapit sa San Carlos University! It looks like a carinderia but they serve the bestest ngohiong in Cebu. Looking at your pictures, I missed Cebu, I lived there for three years.

    1. Hi! Is that on the way to Rico's Lechon in Talamban? I have to taste the ngo hiong there. So far I've tried Atek's, Cheaverz, the one from Fairlane and kiosks at the malls.

      I also miss Cebu! Hopefully, this August I can visit again. I have a ticket already for my September trip.

      Thanks for the tip!

  12. Ah Lechon everywhere! Now I'm hungry! Nice list of things to do in Cebu!.

    1. Thank you, Rene for reading my Cebu post. There are still a lot of lechon I have not tried yet.

  13. i am going to cebu in a couple of days and this blog helps a lot...i've tried cebu lechon many years ago and i could not remember if it's as good as the ones i tasted in iligan and cotabato city-because the lechons from mindanao, i thought still top! will see in a couple of days...

    1. Hi! I hope you enjoy your stay in Cebu! Rico's has a restaurant now and you can also try Zubuchon.
      Have fun!

  14. Come back soon for more food! Try the ravioli, couscous and pizza at gusto urban cafe and wine bar, anything from cafe georg (lasagna, penang, Chicken potpie, spinach or bacon n cheese dip and kahlua chocolate cake to be exact) :)

  15. Such a wonderful post. You must visit also Aranos just a few blocks away from Domings, paella is one of the best food you must really try at Aranos.

    1. Hello! Sorry for the late reply! Just discovered most of my comments are in another folder.

      Thanks for the tip!

  16. thkx for your write up. Now i know what and where to eat when i am in cebu in August. Bon apetit

    1. Hello! I am so sorry for the late reply. I just discovered most of the comments went into another folder!

      I hope you had a great time in Cebu.

  17. I've been in Cebu for almost 8 years. And yes! The best CNT Lechon can be found in only Cebu. And also of course the chicaron in Carcar which is very popular. You must also try Lantaw floating restaurant in cordova. You will surely love the ambiance and foods with a affordable price.

    1. Hello Mae! I'm going back to Cebu for my birthday in August! I hope I have time to visit Lantaw restaurant!

  18. There's even more in Cebu than the mentioned places in this post. way better than Boracay I guess.. I respect your opinion though 8)

  19. I can't imagine how much food you ate on your cebu journey :-S and all the different brands of lechon whew!

    Wish you well! God bless on all your trips!

  20. For more info about Rico's Lechon. You can check here at

    1. Hello! I now go to Rico's Mabolo branch. It is my first stop whenever I go to Cebu.

  21. Rico's Lechon! One of the best lechon I tried. The cucumansi is also a must try beverage to quench our thirst especially this summer. #RicosLechon

  22. More and more people are loving this restaurant especially Cebuanos. I don't really need to be surprised since it was featured on KrisTV hosted by Kris Aquino, the leading top endorser of the Philippines. I love

  23. The first moment I heard about Rico's Lechon was when a close friend of mine posted a lechon which made me salivate and craving for it. With its spices, tenderness and juiciness of the lechon, that moment I realize that I need to try it. During my father's bday, I never suggest any restaurant on where to eat but gladly, my parents wanted to try Rico's Lechon since it's a meters away from our small business. My mother is really a fan of other lechon restaurant but this time, she really can tell this is now her best which is the Rico's Lechon.

  24. I think this is a must try to everybody especially Cebuanos. You can check some of the menu here at

  25. Hi Lia. Thanks for the blog and for supporting Rico's Lechon. We will assure to everyone that we will try our best to serve the best tasting lechon in Cebu. Please continue supporting us by liking and place your orders here at

    1. I always eat at Rico's Mabolo branch whenever I go to Cebu nowadays. I just have to be there at exactly 10 am to get my favorite rib part. Going back to Rico's this June 7.

  26. We've been eating Rico's Lechon every twice a month with my family cause they really like your lechon. My father is really a fan of your lechon and yea, he keeps on ordering your lechon for delivery if we have occasions. ♥

  27. Thank you Rico’s Lechon for the best lechon that you offered to us.

  28. No wonder why most of the Filipino especially Cebuanos love Rico's Lechon. A great blog to to help people find their choice of food.

    1. Thank you, Enrico for reading my blog! Rico's lechon is in one of my must eat now whenever I go to Cebu.

  29. I've been looking for something that would beat my list of lechon restaurant. But yes, it is Rico's Lechon who beat them all. Kudos to Rico's Lechon.