Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Crispy Filipino lechon kawali gets a new zesty home inside of a taco.

Filipino-Inspired Lechon Tacos


  • For the pork:

  • 2 lbs pork belly

  • 6 cups water

  • ½ cup soy sauce, plus more for basting

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated but skin on

  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • For the quick-pickle atchara:

  • ½ cup cabbage, shredded

  • ½ cup carrots, shredded

  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 tbsp ginger, sliced or minced

  • 2 serrano chili, thinly sliced

  • ½ cup white vinegar

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • Salt to taste

  • For the rest:

  • Crema or sour cream to serve

  • Fresh chopped cilantro

  • Corn tortillas


  1. In a large pot, add water, pork belly, bay leaves, garlic, soy sauce, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

  2. Place cooked pork belly on a tray with a rack and pat dry. Allow to cool and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  3. Meanwhile, make the pickle. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a jar, and chill in fridge.

  4. Slice the skin down the middle. Brush all over with soy sauce. Then rub coconut oil all over. Bake at 400°F until the skin is very crispy and crackly.

  5. To serve, slice lechon into bite-sized pieces and place on top of corn tortillas with the atchara, crema, and cilantro.

Filipino-Inspired Lechon Tacos




Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox


- Tacos are one of the greatest inventions of all time, so I'm constantly trying to find out different ways to eat them. So today, I'm gonna show you how to make Filipino-inspired lechon tacos. First, you're gonna make a basic lechon kawali. Now, usually this is boiled then fried, but I'm gonna show you how to boil it and then bake it until it's super crispy. So, in this pot of water, I'm just gonna add some pork belly. And then a whole lot of flavoring is here, so some whole black peppercorns, several bay leaves, a whole head of garlic with the skin on, but you wanna separate the cloves. I can never do it. Haters gon' say it's fake. All the kiddies in the pool. For a little saltiness and color, soy sauce. Bring it up to a boil then lower the heat to simmer it for one hour, it'll get nice and tender. This is ready. Just pull 'em out, I've got a rack here on top of a tray. Take paper towels and pat them dry as much as you can, and then just let these cool down a bit and pop them in the fridge for at least two hours. It's better if you do it overnight, that way it can get nice and dry. I have some here that's been in the fridge overnight. You see that it's dried out. Now for the next part, to crisp it up in the oven. But before we do that, I just like to make a little slit. Just go across the top of the skin, just until you hit the meat, that way when this cooks in the oven, the fat will render out much more quickly. For a little bit more flavor, brush it with some soy sauce, and the salt in the soy sauce will help extract a lot of water so we really get that crispy crackling skin. Just like as if you're going to the beach to tan up, a little bit of coconut oil as well. Just spread it on. This goes into the oven at 400 degrees until the skin gets nice and crackly. The time may differ depending on your size, usually about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make a quick pickle. I love the contrast between rich crunchy foods and a nice bright fresh pickle. So, I've got delicious things here that'll make up something that's like a Filipino asada. It's great with barbecues. I've got a big knob of ginger here, huge flavor in this. Just grate it up. I love using this grate plate because it captures all the juice. You don't use any of that. That's good, now I've got this little brush. Just pop it in here, the juice and all. Do the same with garlic. Usually this is made with green papaya, but I find that cabbage is more accessible. So, I'm gonna use some of that along with some shredded carrots. Good color and flavor with some red onion. Spice it up with your favorite chilis, I've got some serranos. Now, I have a bowl of vinegar here, white vinegar. To that, I'm gonna add a little bit of sugar and salt. Pour it over everything. This is one of my favorite things ever. It goes with so many things. Toss it like you toss that salad. Mm, just a little taste. Mm, mm! Tangy, bright, delicious. So, I like to store this in a jar, keep it in the fridge. The flavors will continue to dance together while you prepare everything else. Look how amazing that looks, and listen to this. Once you hear that, you know it's ready. It's gonna be so crispy. Let's cut into this so you can hear it. Oh! Just so you know how crispy this is, I'm gonna take this little bite. I like to just go ahead and make sure everything's chopped up so you can assemble the tacos. I've got corn tortillas here, let's pile it up. Oh, yeah. Be generous. Remember that pickle? Right on top. Look at those colors! This is optional, but for a little creaminess, some crema, chopped cilantro, of course some lime. If you wanna be super Filipino about this, add calamansi if you have some. And there you have it, lechon tacos. Oh! Mm! Holy ing , it's so good! I apologize for my mouth, but what's going on in here is incredible. I really hope you give this a try. I'll see you next time. Bye!