Lechon belly

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This lechon recipe by Budgie Montoya adapts a famous, celebratory Filipino dish. While it’s usually made with a whole suckling pig roasted over an open fire, this pork belly version is practical yet deliciously rich and full of aromatic garlic, chilli and lemongrass.

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First published in 2022




To serve

  • Mang Tomas to taste

Lechon Sawasan

  • 125ml of cane vinegar
  • 30ml of soy sauce
  • 12g of brown sugar
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped


  • Butcher's string
  • Wire rack



Preheat the oven to 160C fan/Gas 4


Make the lechon sawasan by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until the pork is ready 


Prepare the pork belly by placing it on a flat surface with the skin facing down. Score the meat with a sharp knife, then season liberally and evenly with salt and black pepper


Rub the scored flesh with the crushed garlic, finely chopped ginger, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. This is easiest using your hands


Place the spring onions, lemongrass and chillies in the middle of the belly, horizontally


Roll the belly up and tie using butcher's string. Both ends of the belly should meet and not overlap


Place the rolled belly on a rack inside a roasting tray. Rub the skin with the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and season liberally with salt

  • 1 tbsp of cane vinegar
  • salt to season

Place in the oven and cook until golden brown, roughly 3 to 3.5 hours


Remove from the oven and rest for around 10 mins, to allow the skin to become crisp


Transfer to a chopping board and remove the string before slicing and serving with the Mang Tomas and lechon sawasan dipping sauces 

First published in 2022

Since being blown away by a meal he enjoyed at The Fat Duck in 2009, Budgie Montoya has made it his mission to make people as happy as he felt that evening. Now, as one of the chefs at the forefront of London’s ever-evolving Filipino food scene, he’s doing exactly that.

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