A Filipino Thanksgiving


I’ve mentioned in the past how my family gets down on Thanksgiving–my grandmother orders a lechon in addition to cooking a turkey for the big day. This year, however, things were a little different–my grandmother decided to not cook a turkey (gasp!). But in all honesty though, not a person in my family cared about the absense of said gobbler. After all, a whole-roasted pig is all a Filipino family needs, isn’t it? Isn’t it!? (The answer is YES!).

I was also lucky enough to be at my grandma’s right when the Lechon Dude dropped off the pig. I had the honor of helping my grandfather take the roasted pig from the back of the Lechon Dude’s pickup truck and into the house. The pig was still hot, and I could immediately tell that it was stuffed with lemongrass as I could smell the citrus-scented steam wafting from the pig’s backside–the best a pig’s ass will ever smell I’m sure.

And besides the roast pig, my grandmother and her two sisters (AKA “The Aunties”) cooked up a Filipino feast that would make Manny Pacquiao weak in the knees (like SWV). So, I figured I’d share a few pictures of all the Filipino goodness with which I stuffed my face on this wonderful Thanksgiving. By the way, all the pictures in this post are courtesy of my little brother, AKA Jean-Luc Monstroso (kind of not his real name), who happens to have one of them snazzy cameras that come with a shoulder strap. Enjoy.


McRib Schmickrib

The BEST part of any Lechon: The Cheeks

A quick aside: I absolutely love eating the cheeks off of a whole-roasted pig. I know many (ok, a few) Pinoys like to save the cheeks/jowls for leftovers and make Lechon Sisig, but I think the cheeks are best when the skin is still crisp. I don’t care what anybody says, the cheeks are the BEST part of a lechon. The meat sits right there on the jaw bone (bone=flavor), and there’s plenty of fat in the cheeks (fat=flavor), and the crispy skin tops it all off. And if you cut the cheek off just right, you can have a juicy piece of pork on it’s own edible crispy plate of skin. Mmmmm, it’s like heaven in pig form. And yes, I ate both cheeks myself. I EAT PIG FACE! End of quick aside.

My Dad getting real familiar with a pig’s foot and a Bud Light. A classy bunch we are.

Pancit Canton

For Tagalogs: Dinaguan
For us Ilocanos: Dinardaraan
For the Unknowing: “Chocolate Meat”

The bestest pinakbet in the universe.

Adobong Sili (recipe coming soon!)

Golden Lumpia

Giant Leche Flan


Also enjoyed for Thanksgiving 2010, but not pictured:

  • Pancit Miki
  • Lumpiang Shanghai
  • Mamon
  • Brazo de Mercedez (two arms!)
  • Hopia
  • My dad passed out on couch due to pig/bud light coma

  • rachel November 27, 2010, 10:58 am

    i’m super jealous you had a full on filipino feast! for our thanksgiving, it’s usually a mixture of filipino, american, and whatever. this year was more random, though of course we DID have pancit palabok and kare-kare. now i want some dinaguan. aside from fried lumpia (too obvious of a choice), kare kare and dinaguan are my fave.
    and a whole lechon!! super jealous. here around the DC area, i don’t even know if there’s a place we could order a whole pig. probably, but we always just order the sliced up portions of it. not the same. who doesn’t want a whole roasted pig in their kitchen??

  • eatingclubvancouver_js November 27, 2010, 11:29 am

    What a beautiful pig and feast! Great to hear you’ve had a wonderful Thanksgiving — and I’m looking forward to that adobong sili recipe.

  • CarolineAdobo November 27, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Oh man, I want a do-over of my thanksgiving — what an awesome feast!

  • Nicole November 27, 2010, 12:12 pm

    MMmm lechon! We have a tradition of making a modest amount of longanisa after Thanksgiving. Couple that with the moistest turkey I have ever encountered, my mom’s pancit bihon, suman latik, morcon, and random ensamada – I don’t want to eat for a week afterwards :)
    Sarap sarap!

  • Darlene November 27, 2010, 12:14 pm

    I love seeing how people celebrate the holidays! I’d enjoy an roasted pig over a turkey any day. I my family, we do the turkey and sides, but there’s always a few Thai dishes laid out too. Makes things so much more interesting.

  • Tuty November 27, 2010, 12:23 pm

    Marv, the lechon is calling my name… It’s too bad that there is no good lechon in Seattle.
    Yes, the cheek is the best when the skin is still crispy. Forget the turkey…

  • Belinda @zomppa November 27, 2010, 12:32 pm

    Wow. That is some feast. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Julienne November 27, 2010, 12:48 pm

    Wow, that’s an authentic Filipino Thanksgiving feast fer sure!

  • Sharlene November 27, 2010, 12:50 pm

    I love it! We don’t have turkey at our Thanksgiving either and it is most definitely not missed.

  • peachkins November 27, 2010, 3:55 pm

    The only thing I’m unfamiliar with is the adobong sili..Can’t wait for the recipe..mai gaz…aabangan ko talaga yan…

  • yayobiyo November 27, 2010, 4:34 pm

    Happy thanks giving, i’m excited for adobong sili recipe. post it soon pls

  • Joy November 27, 2010, 5:52 pm

    Everything looks so good. My husband would have wished for a roasted pig for thanksgiving.

  • TS of eatingclub vancouver November 27, 2010, 10:45 pm

    Lookee there, unblistered skin! It’s actually been a long time since I’ve had real lechon (as opposed to just a roast pig).
    Hey, I never thought of pulling off the entire cheek with skin as a personal serving of lechon with edible plate. Great idea! I’m going to steal that the next time there’s lechon.
    Oh, adobong sili: how very intriguing.

  • Alicia November 28, 2010, 2:17 pm

    Oh my gosh…yum!!!!!!!!!!! I never knew that about the pigs cheek though!

  • joey December 2, 2010, 8:03 am

    Definitely the lechon’s pig cheeks rock! And I certainly won’t need a turkey if I’ve got a lechon :) Yup, I’m a true Filipino in that way (and more!) :)
    Adobong sili! Wow! Can’t wait for that recipe!

  • Butler December 4, 2010, 9:06 am

    Now my Anglo conscience is really bothering me. I’m the cook in the family and my Santa Cruz born wife complains about turkey (“…no fat! No crispy skin! No cheek! Not even a head!”) for several months leading up to Thanksgiving. Also bothering me: although I like turkey and it’s… healthy… it looks like she may be right again. The lemongrass idea – whoa – genius.
    Anyone have any recommendations for a good Lechon Dude in the NYC area (I might even go to Jersey)?
    We’re coming to LA to visit Manila Machine one of these days…

  • Butler December 4, 2010, 9:24 am

    That was was Sta Cruz, Manila, PI.

  • Julie December 8, 2010, 10:25 am

    Mmmm, I’m instantly homesick. My Thanksgiving in Cali with my parents, bro #3, and boyfriend was also porktastic with some dinuguan, lumpia, and chicharrones (in place of lechon, since there was only a handful of us), and then some pork and monggo. We did have a turkey because we gotta have turkey soup with shell noodles. Dang. But now I want a bite of lechon . . .

  • FoodandWineMaven January 28, 2011, 12:50 am

    Looks much more tasty than bland, dry turkey!

  • manila nightlife June 29, 2011, 1:54 pm

    Nice post. In every festival here in the philippines, they don’t forget to have a thanksgiving party for the wonderful blessings they get. Aside from that, they prepare some sumptuous meal for everyone.

  • Melissa September 22, 2011, 11:46 am


  • The Omnivore Chronicles November 19, 2013, 8:20 am

    I know this post is nearly 3 years old, but damn, that looks like a tasty lechon. My thanksgiving back with the folks is a mix of Flips, kanos and a few Jamaicans thrown in, so it also makes for an eclectic feast. Pansit palabok, curried goat and maybe a turkey with a Viet glaze courtesy of my sis-in-law and much of your own menu too! It’s funny how every mom describes diniguan as chocolate meat, my kano hubs wasn’t fooled though. Ah man, food always makes me homesick…


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