Living in a Muslim country has somehow made us shy away from pork for a while, something our arteries have to thank us for. Out of respect to our help’s religious beliefs, we never serve pork in our household or if ever we do, it’s got to be on a weekend when she’s on a day off. There would be times when we would go to any Chinese resto and break this self-imposed pork fasting just to satisfy our sinful cravings.
So when our Pinay friend Phoebe invited us to a Lechon Lunch for only 250,000 IDR which includes lechon, drinks and desserts, my reply was “You had us at LECHON”. Who can say no to a chance to see our Filipino friends and of course the authentic Pinoy lechon which was prepared by a Pinoy chef! So off we trooped to Alex’s in Kuningan to taste the three little pigs.
I GOT YOU BABE!
The superstars of the lunch were three little suckling pigs slow-roasted in the oven at 75°C for 16 hours(!) then re-roasted in wood-fire oven just minutes before serving. The latter is the essential step in making that crispy skin layer good enough to give you multiple porkgasm. The crackling skin and the tender succulent meat seasoned with just the right herbs and spices just melt in your mouth. It was so good I think I died and went to swine heaven. Okay, a little exaggeration there but any lechon lover will get what I mean.
THE CAST OF THE FOOD PORN
THE BIG BAD-ASS WOLF
I’ve always known Raj Abat as a New York-trained Filipino chef who is now based in Jakarta. He’s a cool guy who warmly accommodates us when we dine in his previous resto posting. He would join us and the other Pinoys for some beer and potluck and would watch the Manny Pacquiao fights with us. He and his lovely wife are expecting their first baby soon. This was all I knew about Raj until I Googled him for some info in this blog entry. Whoah, I didn’t know there was a rock star in our midst all along! Check out an excerpt of what I found.
“At a glance, Raj Abat’s lean, austere and tattooed appearance might trick us into thinking that he’s chief of some gangs. Well, a bunch of gangsters indeed, but these are experts with knives, laddles and forks, and their territories are not the streets, but the kitchens. If you didn’t know Raj Abat, you would probably never guessed that he is a Filipino-born New Yorker and is a Corporate Chef who has a long list of experience working in some of the most desired celebrity chefs’ kitchens like Jean-Georges in New York City and Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. ”
If you’re a Pinoy in Jakarta or a pork-starved food lover, or all of the above, it’s a shame not to sample Raj’s specialty. He’s currently a Corporate Chef at the Alila Hotel (of the Alila Chain of Properties) but you can visit his Facebook page, RAJ ABAT COOKS to check out what’s cooking and when his next Swine Feast will be.