Food & Drink

Lechon and More: 10 Decadent Holiday Dishes You Must Order From Pepita's Kitchen

It’s never a celebration without lechon.
IMAGE PEPITA'S KITCHEN
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As we count down the days to Christmas, the one thing on every Filipino’s mind is crafting the perfect dinner table. The simple combination of family, friends, and a perfect spread are enough to make the season merry.

To complete your table, Dedet de la Fuente of Pepita’s Kitchen has a number of sumptuous dishes that will turn your dinner into a feast. Here are "The Lechon Diva’s” offerings for the season (and all-year round).

1. Truffle Lechon

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This dish is what put Pepita’s Kitchen on the map. A divine pairing of two cuisines, de la Fuente brings together the Filipino feast staple with an unexpected French touch. Picture this: A crispy-skinned lechon stuffed with truffle rice.

2. Christmas Lechon

De la Fuente has added another lechon variation for the season. The Christmas Lechon celebrates everyone’s favorite food items using crispy lechon and rice with chestnuts, cashew and mushroom stuffing.

3. Spanish Manileña Lechon

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Her third offering takes inspiration from the Spanish cuisine. Pepita’s classic lechon gets stuffed with a handful of sinful ingredients such as Spanish chorizo with crab fat paella.

4. Boodle Feast


This feast was recently introduced by de la Fuente. She shares, “I thought of it because I had to think of a table set-up for some clients. They said, ‘Let’s level it up.’ I still wanted to make it Filipino, but make it more modern. I thought of the boodle! At boodles, you usually use your hands, so I thought of making it an artwork. I make it special for each client, either their names or the words they want on the boodle table. In each boodle, I make sure that my kalesa has chocnut and chicharon.”

5. Balut Salpicao

De la Fuente takes the duck embryo and sautés it in olive oil and garlic. Rather than altering the flavor, this method of cooking surprisingly enhances the flavor.

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6. Hiplog


A portmanteau of two Filipino terms, Hiplog is made of hipon with itlog na pula sauce. The shrimps are cooked in heavenly salted egg yolk sauce which is best paired with pasta or rice. The Hiplog has a number of famous fans. De la Fuente recounts, “Two years ago, Adam Richman (of Man vs. Food fame) went to my house. I served him my Hiplog and he loved it. In fact, the day after when I came to see him, he told me, ‘You should go to New York, join a cooking contest, and I’m sure your shrimp dish will win. Call me when you’re in New York.’ That’s what he said!”

7. Crab Gulong Gulong

This dish was a challenge for de la Fuente. She tried countless times to recreate a dish from a restaurant that had closed. “I failed. Every time, I failed,” she says. It was only when she decided to come up with her own version and sauce that she was fully satisfied with the recipe. As to the name, de la Fuente says “mapapagulong-gulong ka sa sarap!” The dish can be ordered with the shell or with the meat picked out.

8. Super Suman

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“I was with a bunch of friends, and they were talking about food. Someone asked, ‘What’s your favorite dessert?’ and then someone said mango sticky rice of Thailand. Then they all said, ‘Me too!’  I said, ‘That’s so common, suman lang ng Pilipinas yan ‘eh,’” she says. De la Fuente was irked by the fact that no one bothered to mention Filipino desserts, so it became a personal challenge. She created the Super Suman by incorporating every Filipino’s favorite sweets: chocnut, yema, pastillas, ube, and mangoes. Topped off with a Philippine flag it has since landed on several best dessert lists.

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9. Oxtail Kare-Kare

De la Fuente uses a rich and decadent peanut/cashew/peanut butter sauce to make the richest and thickest version of the perennial favorite. “It’s so soft, I make sure it is. The way that I make the sauce is very Filipino, but I added other ingredients to make it more special,” she says.

10. Mango Trifle

Another of de la Fuente’s most-requested desserts. She recounts, “I put together the biscuits of my childhood and used them to complete my Mango Trifle so my daughters will also learn to love rosquillos, otap, broas, and uraro.”

Pepita's Kitchen; 0917.866.0662; [email protected]

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Paolo Chua
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