A Tale of Two Cochinillos (And Why They're Just So Damn Good!)

There is something magical about the gastronomic relationship that Filipinos have for pork, however way it gets prepared and how we should eat it. One example is the lechon de leche, which is most especially served during special occasions. You can always see these whole roasted pigs displayed around the food table, luring you in all its porkylicious glory.

But what if we tried something different, maybe from a pig we take a few weeks back to the time when he was just a few weeks old. And then you do a little magic and fire up a special brick oven, where you will use it as a hot vessel to roast the whole suckling; and after a few hours it gets out, all fired up and ready for the taking.

This is not lechon de leche. This is something different. This is Mr. Cochinillo.

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This cochinillo is all sexy back, I just can't stand not to stare at it.

I've never been to Spain, and my knowledge for Spanish cuisine is only limited to paellas, spanish tapas, cochinillo, and whatever info I can absorb while watching 'Made in Spain' with Jose Andres and 'From Spain with Love' by Annie Sibboney on TV.

But upon writing this, I was told by my Filipina-Spanish officemate that Cochinillo is pronounced as Cochinah (or kotchenah) from those living in Catalan, Spain. The language in Catalan varies compared to the other regions, but it's the language that's widely used in Barcelona. 

The taste of this cochinillo might be far from where it originally came from (in Segovia), but the idea of having a good-quality conchinillo in Manila is just a dream come true. Specifically, the commissary is located in the same home of Mr. Cochinillo's home within Green Meadows in Quezon City. And Tinee de Guzman is the mastermind behind this sinful carnal addiction.

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Mr. Cochinillo came about when food photographer Tinee offered Cochinillo to a good friend as something he can cook. After numerous attempts to perfecting it, things were never the same for Tinee. Two years, many suckling pigs, and a few more brick ovens later, he now established himself as Manila's Mr. Cochinillo, accepting orders on a weekly basis from customers all over the city.

I've managed to visit Mr. Cochinillo's home and see the hot and sexy cochinillos in action when fellow foodies Spanky and Richie (who went with his wifey Rina) invited me and JV a few weeks ago. Aside from meeting Tinee himself, I also had the chance to meet Nina Comsti who was the host of the event; and TVC Director/Theater Actor/Blogger Joaquin Valdes, who went along with his girlfriend Agee

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The cochinillos had just got out of the brick ovens, and just like that my mouth watered like a fountain (tissue please). Hello there, sister.

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I can't wait to dig in! My mind was saying I had to take photos first, but my heart is saying to pull that pig's ears out and eat it with pleasure. JV was just excited as well, while I try to control myself with a glass of wine. Tinee had a great kitchen that's perfect for food photography, just because it is his profession after all. After a few shots here and there, we moved forward with the cutting of the Cochinillo.

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Mr. Cochinillo advised that you have to wait about an hour before you can actually serve it. This way, the juices won't be put to waste as they mellow down and crawl back slowly back to its delicate meat. 

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Tinee served two cochinillos that night, and one was scheduled for pick up. The one for pick up was neatly placed in a woven basket which was layered with a banana leaf, which helps because it's calming aroma gets combined with the delicious scent of the roasted suckling pig. You also get a small plate when you order at Mr. Cochinillo so you can use it for slicing the cochinillo.

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Do we look alike? Personally, I think the cochinillo had more appeal!

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Another version of this video is available on Mr. Cochinillo's Facebook Page, but mine is a slow-mo version. This has got to me one of the most impatient moments of my entire food encounters. And we can't all help but gaze and laugh at Spanky and Richie's foodporn worthy reactions as they slice the cochinillos with ease with a small plate: a proof on how succulent this roasted suckling pig is.

Normally, Cochinillos in Spain are sliced with plates and then the servers smash the plates on the floor. Fortunately, no plates were smashed in Tinees home so I was relieved no plates were wasted that night.

Aside from the cochinillo, Tinee also sells this Seafood Fideua, or simply a Noodle Paella which is widely available in Valencia, Spain. At first, I thought it was your traditional Spanish Paella, but when I looked closer, that's when I realized they were made of pasta instead.

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It's a good night, people. Succulent cochinillo, a special noodle paella, a good glass of wine and conversations with friends were the highlights that time.

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I had a carb and protein overload dinner: slices of the Cochinillo, Seafood Fiduea, and simple white rice. No sauce is needed with this. The skin is at its high form of crispiness and the meat so succulent you don't need to chew on the same meat over and over again. The taste of olives is evident in each bite, as it is drenched in olive oil before it was slow roasted. So sosyal!

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A few more tips from Tinee and Nina: you wouldn't expect this but most of the flavors come from the most unexpected of parts: the cheeks, ears, and tail.

OH, and have I told you I was able to get them all and tried it? Yep, everything you see on this plate below was mine for the kill.

It might be a bit unfair if we compare the cochinillo to lechon, but I think this is a better choice if you want to savor the goodness of pork without the excess fat that you get from an ordinary lechon de leche. I love it also because you don't get that thing that we call the 'lechon look' which is like you are wearing a special lip gloss, only to realize that it's actually pork fat sticking out of your lips.

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After a few hours, what was left were a few pieces and some bones from the conchinillo. There's nothing to waste if ever this happens, as you can still use them to making a rich flavorful pork stock that you can use to 'porkify' other dishes. Remember - as they say, "sa litson, walang tapon!" ("There's no waste in lechon!)"

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We were so happy and full that we just had to take an 'after' picture!

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One thing is for sure....I will get my hands on another cochinillo soon! Aside from the Cochinillo del Cielo and Cochinillo Al Horno, you can also try their Seafood Fiduea, Wild Boar Black Pig, Lechon de Leche, and Babi Guling.

For more information about prices, contact details and how to order, check out and like
Mr. Cochinillo Official Facebook Page

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*This post was written by the author's own thoughts and opinions about Mr. Cochinillo. Special thanks to Tinee De Guzman, Nina Comsti, Spanky Enriquez, Daddy Richie and Rina Zamora. 

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