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Food

Don Lechon: Rustic & Authentic Filipino Roasted Suckling Pig For S$9.50 At Paya Lebar

Last Updated: April 27, 2019

Written by Gillian Lim

I’ve got to admit, I haven’t had authentic Filipino food before, but my trip to Don Lechon left me completely sold. Though the dishes served were simple Filipino fare, they were indulgent, satisfying and oh-so-delicious.

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Tucked away at Grandlink Square in Paya Lebar, Don Lechon has been dishing out authentic Filipino cuisine since May 2016. It’s famous for its spit-roasted suckling pig, aka lechon, and the fact that all of its rice meals are affordably priced below S$10!

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Don Lechon offers both indoor and outdoor seating, with the former being a new addition to the restaurant space.

The owner, Chris, told us that the eatery only used to have outdoor seating. On crowded weekends, diners would often congregate in a messy line of tables outside for a rowdy and noisy feast.

While the outside seating boasts a gorgeous scenic view of the Geylang River and its park connector, it does tend to attract plenty of flies. Be prepared for that, if you choose to sit outside.

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Its indoor seating is simple and cosy, with warm overhead lighting and frosted windows lining the side of the restaurant. There’s even a raised stage along a side of the restaurant for musical performances at night!

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No doubt the star of the show, Don Lechon’s Chopped Lechon (S$9.50 with rice meal, S$38/kg or S$20/0.5kg, S$650 for whole lechon approx. 22kg – 27kg) has been spit-roasted over a flaming wooden charcoal grill for four whole hours. This ensures that the skin is crispy while the meat is still moist, juicy and supple.

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The skin of the lechon was the crispiest I’ve ever had, and I could even hear it crack in my dining companion’s mouth as she ate it!

It reminded me of potato chips — it was thin and smooth as glass, but delicate and fragile, and broke apart into a million pieces in my mouth. There was also a nice caramelised feel to the skin because of the spit-roasting over the charcoal grill.

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Because the lechon is chopped by hand right before serving, the meat came in large, misshapen chunks. I liked this because you can see how juicy and tender each piece of meat was. You can also be assured that it’s fresh and not sitting in a heap somewhere collecting oil.

I absolutely loved the lechon. The good fat-to-meat ratio meant some pieces melted in my mouth while others were springy and had a good bite to it.

Being spit-roasted over a charcoal grill added a good smoky touch to the meat. I could also taste subtle hints of lemongrass, herbs and spices, which are no doubt part of the marinade.

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You can choose between two sauces for your lechon. The first is Don Lechon’s classic sauce, a mix between liver, vinegar, brown sugar and Asian herbs.

The sauce was peppery, piquant and flavourful with a tinge of sweetness, and reminded me of caramelised apple sauce.

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The second sauce, my personal favourite, was a soy-based onion sauce that had garlic, shallots and lime.

I expected it to be salty, but instead, it had a good acidity like vinegar that cut through the copious amounts of meat. The shallots were naturally sweet, while the garlic added a touch of smokiness to the sauce, with a slightly pungent and spicy aftertaste.

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Other than spit-roasted lechon, Don Lechon also offers Lechon Paksiew (S$6). In Filipino, paksiew is a style of cooking whereby food is cooked and simmered in vinegar. Nowadays, the base sauce varies from dish to dish.

Don Lechon’s version of this classic dish is braised lechon with a liver-based gravy.

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Being braised in liver gravy made each piece of lechon fork tender and it was absolutely delicious. If you’re looking for crispy skin, you’re definitely not going to get it here (since it was braised after all). I really loved that each piece of braised lechon was dripping with juice and the pork fell apart effortlessly.

Accompanied with the liver sauce, which was peppery and piquant, this was a great dish that went superbly well with my plain white rice. Tip: Pile the gravy onto your rice so each mouthful of lechon paksiew is filled with all that umami flavour.

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Lechon Sisig (S$9.50) came to us on a sizzling hot plate and the smell of roasted pork filled the room.

Sisig is a popular traditional Filipino dish that comprises minced pork, chopped onion and chicken liver. It dates back to the 17th century and is usually served on a hotplate and topped with a freshly cracked egg.

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Each spoonful dug up a variety of ingredients — crispy lechon skin, tender lechon meat, finely diced onions, egg and crunchy green chilli.

I personally found each spoonful of lechon sisig a little too hard for my liking, as if it’d been cooked too long on the hotplate or there’s too much ligament that made it hard to chew.

However, I liked the balance of flavours. There was that acidity from the lime and sweetness from the onions while the green chilli gave it a tinge of spice.

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Bopis (S$5.50) is a piquant dish made of cubed beef lungs and pork heart, which has been simmered in garlic, tomatoes, herbs, onions and bay leaves.

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To be frank, I was a little hesitant to try this exotic dish because I thought it’d be gamey or even pungent, but the minute I tasted it, I was blown away.

Because the beef lungs and pork heart had been simmering in a plethora of herbs and spices, the presence of any gaminess or pungent aromas and tastes were little to none.

Instead, the bopis was soft and tender, like cubed pieces of wagyu beef, and the gravy was aromatic, piquant and a little spicy. Think more along the lines of thick, spicy minced beef gravy rather than pungent and herbal kway chap. It was so full of umami flavours and went perfectly with plain white rice.


Don Lechon’s menu is small, with only six items on its menu, five of which feature lechon as the star ingredient, but every single dish is cooked with experience, love and patience. The result? A heartwarming, indulgent and absolutely delicious Filipino meal that’s entirely authentic.

Though Don Lechon is only open for dinner, we recommend coming in large groups so you can order one of everything on the menu to share. Certainly, the experience of dining here is better when it feels like you’re at home and eating with your family and friends.

And that’s exactly the kind of vibe that Don Lechon exuded — homely, rustic and comfortable.

Expected Damage: S$5.50 – S$9.50 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Don Lechon

#01-52, Grandlink Square, 511 Guillemard Road (side of the building facing the river), Singapore 399849

Price
Our Rating 5/5

Don Lechon

#01-52, Grandlink Square, 511 Guillemard Road (side of the building facing the river), Singapore 399849

Operating Hours: 5pm - 11pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 5pm - 11pm (Daily)
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