Lechon at Your Doorstep: How a Young Farmer Created Zamboaga’s Latest Craze

 

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BigBen’s organic lechon freshly roasted to perfection.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” Confucius once said. This quote is the philosophy behind BigBen’s Kitchen—a food delivery service that is becoming popular in Zamboanga very fast! From a tiny home kitchen, Benj Villalobos and his family barely rest to accommodate orders from customers all over Zamboanga City.

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The meat from the organic lechon is very juicy and tender.

Benjie Villalobos, a young entrepreneur and organic farmer in Zamboanga City breeds and raises pigs and chicken in his farm in Barangay Limaong. He always loves to cook but never thought of expanding it into a business. Until one day, he and his friends went on a field trip where he brought a whole lechon to share with his friends. His recipe was praised and his friends suggested that he makes a living out of it. Being a very business minded person, Benj started selling organic lechon from the pigs he raised in his farm. Each lechon is guaranteed to have crispy skin and juicy meat marinated with a generous blend of lemon grass, peppercorns and secret spices. Compared to other commercial lechon, BigBen’s lechon is less fatty, more meaty and tender to bite.

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BigBen’s lechon belly. Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Perfect for any occasion

As a businessman, Benj listens to his customers. A whole lechon is too much for small occasions and some of his patrons wanted small servings. This opened for the opportunity of serving lechon belly which is perfect for family gatherings. Although the meat is not organic, it is guaranteed fresh from a commercial farm.  Meaty on the inside and crunchy on the outside, the lechon belly tastes a bit sweeter than the organic lechon. Benj uses another recipe of secret spices which he smothers on the lechon belly giving it a sweeter yet juicy taste. Dips and sauces are no longer needed because each bite explodes with meaty goodness!

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Benj does not go easy on the spices. Each lechon belly is generously smothered with a delicious blend of spices.

I had guests from Manila last Valentine’s day and we planned to go island hopping in the 11 islands for an entire day. Since there are no food establishments in the area, take-out food is the only option. I wanted to serve my guests home cooked meals but I do not have a kitchen. Two days before the trip, I sent a message to Benj asking him to prepare packed lunch for our group. He served us sweet spicy chicken wings that stayed juicy the whole time and char shiu vegetables that is perfectly crunchy to the bite. Lunch time became more exciting and fun because of the food from BigBens Kitchen. I sent Benj the feedbacks from my guests, and viola, Benj started selling packed lunch which he delivers right at your doorstep! He also sells caldereta and baby back ribs.

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Cornish pastry is cooked the same way as our local empanada but has a more meaty taste.

The demands for food from BigBen’s kitchen grew each day and Benj started to hire more people to accommodate the orders. One day, Benj decided to take a day off and cook for his partner and his family. He used to work as a nurse in the UK where he ate a lot of Cornish pastry, an empanada like pastry filled with different kinds of meat. Being happy with this attempt to make his own version of Cornish pastry, Benj posted some photos on facebook then people started placing their orders! Being a big hit, Benj made a number of variants for the Cornish pastry which now comes in beef, chicken, pork and tuna! They also serve pizzanadas or empanadas with pizza filling which comes in all meat, Hawaiian, pepperoni, seafood, garden fresh and ham & cheese.

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Cornish pastry served with a dipping sauce.

As I write this article, Benj is exploring more recipes that he can serve offer to his loyal customers. He likes to experiment and listens to what his customers want. You can check his facebook to know what’s new in BigBen’s kitchen: BigBen’s Kitchen Official Facebook Account

 

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Benjie Villalobos, owner of BigBen’s Kitchen

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