Last Updated: September 26, 2019
When one thinks of authentic Filipino cuisine, dishes like balut, sinigang and halo-halo often come to mind. However, taking the spot as the most popular Filipino dish of all time is probably the ever-classic lechon.
That said, the Philippines is at least a three-hour flight away from Singapore. It seems almost impossible to satisfy those sudden Filipino food cravings… or is it?
Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Lechon Republic Singapore, a lechon speciality restaurant right here in Singapore, has just the solution for that.
Tucked away in the corner along a stretch of other eateries and malls in Novena, the restaurant has been in business since December 2018.
AJ, the owner, is actually the third-generation owner of the family business. Back in the Philippines, her family runs a lechon catering service where they deliver roasted whole pigs.
As it turned out, AJ is also the former owner of another Singapore-based lechon restaurant, Don Lechon! Currently, her friend runs the place.
After finding out about the intriguing family background, we couldn’t wait to try what Lechon Republic had to offer.
Their Chopped Lechon With Rice (S$9.50) was what we were looking forward to in particular.
The set meal came with white rice, as well as a soft drink of our choice.
More importantly, however, the dish had a glorious portion of their chunky signature lechon.
For one, I’ve always been curious about the cooking process of lechon. Fortunately, over here at Lechon Republic, you can get a glimpse of that.
Their head chef explained that a ton of aromatics and spices first goes into seasoning the pork belly.
Using strings, they tie up everything tightly together so that the aromatics and spices can infuse the pork while roasting.
The entire pork belly slab then goes into the Philippines-imported traditional roaster for about two-and-a-half hours.
Lechon Republic roasts a batch of lechon ahead of every meal service so that customers get them fresh off the roaster. You can bet ours were as fresh as they could get.
Satisfyingly, the lechon was ultra-succulent, oozing juice into my mouth with every bite I took.
As it was the pork belly, there was slightly more fat than meat. However, we didn’t mind that at all as the fat simply melted away like butter in our mouths—it wasn’t cloying at all.
The skin, on the other hand, was perfectly crackly with a gorgeous reddish-brown hue. Having it on its own felt like eating a crispy chip, except that it was more greasy, making it sinfully delicious.
Together, the lechon skin, fat and meat made for a harmonious trio as their textures contrasted one another wonderfully.
To add even more flavour, the owner recommended we dip our lechon into the condiments.
Of the two sauces, the one with a slight yellow hue was my favourite.
It had a twang of refreshing zestiness which helped to cut across all the greasiness of the lechon really well.
That said, if you’d like to indulge in pure lechon goodness, there’s the Chopped Lechon (S$38/kg, S$20/500g) available too.
We simply couldn’t get enough of their lechon, so we got the Lechon Sinigang (S$12) as well.
It was my first time trying the popular Filipino stew and you can probably imagine how eager I was for a taste of it.
Right off the bat, we could see that the stew had lots of ingredients in it. From eggplant to long beans to radish, there was every kind of vegetable you’d want.
But of course, there were huge chunks of lechon too.
Granted, the lechon wasn’t as crispy anymore after sitting in the stew, yet it still retained its flavours and juiciness.
In fact, it even soaked up the stew and gave notes of sourness in every bite. It definitely elevated the lechon‘s flavour profile, I’ll tell you that.
The stew itself was slightly viscous and dense. Nonetheless, we couldn’t help but keep going back for more of its palatable notes of sourness and savouriness.
In case you didn’t know, Lechon Republic even cooks the stew to order. They don’t have a large pot of it sitting in their kitchen as they firmly believe in serving it fresh.
With all that said, though, my favourite dish was actually the Lechon Sisig With Rice (S$9.50).
Minced lechon stir-fried with a variety of spices and sauces—need I say more?
They completed the dish by cracking, not just one, but two eggs over the bed of meat. Talk about an egg-xtraordinary finale!
Served on a hotplate, the dish reminded me very much of orh jian, or fried oyster omelette.
Before you dig in, make sure you break the yolks and give everything a good mix.
Don’t forget to squeeze some lime over this delicious mess too. The zestiness is crucial for an all-rounded flavour bomb.
Thanks to the runny eggs, every mouthful was remarkably creamy. Together with the sensational juiciness of the lechon, the dish was simply to die for.
Furthermore, according to the owner, the Lechon Sisig is also the most popular dish amongst Singaporeans!
Lastly, to ensure we have a balanced meal, we got the Ensaladang Talong (S$4.50).
Essentially an eggplant salad, the dish had a layer of devilish-red paste on top which intimidated me a little.
But as it turned out, the red paste was actually a raw shrimp paste and wasn’t spicy at all. Instead, it had a distinct umami flavour which complemented the sourness of the tomatoes very well.
Impressively, the eggplant was well-cooked too. It had a soft crunch which made for an all-rounded bite with the onions, tomatoes and shrimp paste.
Don’t just take it from me, my dining partner who doesn’t typically eat his veggies actually ate most of it.
In my view, Lechon Republic Singapore is definitely a testament to Singapore’s multiculturalism. The hearty dishes and unique cooking methods here are unlike any other I’ve ever encountered.
That said, if Filipino food in Singapore already tastes so good, I cannot imagine how much better it’ll be in the Philippines.
Expected Damage: S$4.50 – S$10 per pax
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Lechon Republic Singapore
275 Thomson Road, #01-09, Novena Regency, Singapore 307645
275 Thomson Road, #01-09, Novena Regency, Singapore 307645