Lechon Republic Review: Legit Filipino Crispy Roast Pork In Novena | Eatbook.sg
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Lechon Republic Review: Crispy Filipino Roast Pork From $6.50 Nett In Novena

11th March 2024

Lechon Republic in Novena has Filipino crispy roast pork

lechon republic - flatlay

It was during Circuit Breaker when I first discovered lechon; it was happenstance that Lechon Republic was also the spot where I wound up getting my takeaway from. I’d never tried anything outside of their lechon and sisig, though, so when we decided to review Lechon Republic, I brought along my Filipino colleague so he could give me the lowdown on the food of his childhood.

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Food at Lechon Republic

We visited late in the afternoon, so the restaurant was no longer still roasting pigs for the day. If you go in the morning, there’s a glass window into the kitchen, where you can watch the whole pigs being roasted on turning spits, over an open fire.

lechon republic - chopped lechon meal

Nonetheless, go for the Chopped Lechon Meal ($12.50) if you’re here alone and trying this for the first time.

Fact: while it is synonymous with The Philippines now, this roast pork dish descended from Catholic Spanish colonisers, who served this at organised village feasts to weed out the Muslims for persecution.

What you get with this meal are a good number of chunky lechon cubes, plain rice, two dips, as well as a drink of your choice.

lechon republic - lechon closeup

It looks unassuming, but each element on the plate is integral to the whole experience. First, try a slice of the crackling layer of skin.

lechon republic - lechon dipping shot

Then, dip the meat in some mang tomas, AKA pork liver sauce, and have it with rice. You could also try it with the other dip: a vinegary, pickled cucumber-and-shallot concoction. Because the roast pork, with its melt-in-your-mouth layers of fat and fall-apart meat, is pretty heavily seasoned, the sweet mang tomas and plain rice are good foils to balance it all out.

How, you may ask, does lechon differ from siew yoke—where the end goal for siew yoke is blistered, crisp skin, the skin on lechon presents as a shiny, smooth layer that’s crackling-crunchy. While siew yoke sometimes isn’t marinated thoroughly, or has a prominent five-spice flavour, lechon is flavoured with herbs including bay leaves, garlic, onion, tamarind, lemongrass and the like.

Personally, I also found that the meat and fat of the lechon here have been consistently juicy, tender and melty through all of my visits—this, as well as the beautifully crackly skin, could be the result of how the pig is slowly roasted.

With so much of the roast pork on offer, it stands to reason that it is added to the other dishes on the menu here—there’s Lechon Sinigang ($15.50), Lechon Kare-Kare ($15.50), and Lechon Sisig ($15.50), to name a few.

Just so you know, I also discovered on this visit that the kare-kare isn’t curry as we know it. Instead, it’s a peanut-based stew that I found myself enjoying—I’d describe it as a creamier, smoother, peanut butter-like base than satay sauce. Served alongside the kare-kare is a saucer of bagoong guisado, AKA sauteed, fermented shrimp paste, that you can add for an umami, savoury touch.

lechon republic - lechon sinigang a la carte

Taste Atlas named sinigang one of the top 100 soups in the world, so we naturally had to order it. My colleague felt that the flavour of this tamarind-based stew was overpowered by the seasonings of the lechon, where traditionally it boasts various taste profiles depending on the protein you cooked it with: seafood, chicken, beef, or even plain pork.

lechon republic - sinigang soup pour

The first sip I took of the stew was a little bit of a shock, NGL, with how sour it was. This version is also silkily thickened, thanks either to the lechon fat or thickeners. As mentioned, sinigang gets its sourness from tamarind fruit, while Lechon Paksiw ($15.50), which you can also order here, is prepared with vinegar.

lechon republic - lechon sinigang vegetables

You get a variety of vegetables in this generous bowl of sinigang, including radish, eggplant, kang kong, ladies’ fingers and more.

lechon republic - lechon in sinigang

I particularly enjoyed the lechon pieces in the soup—post stewing, they became even more tender, with that light acidic note from the soup lending them a pleasant flavour. Despite having initial reservations about it, its tanginess grew on me, and I found myself having more with plain rice.

lechon republic - lechon sisig a la carte

The sinigang was an especially nice counter to the extra savoury sisig, which came bubbling hot on a sizzling hotplate.

lechon republic - lechon sisig mixing

It was the first time I was dining in, so I’d never had the chance to mix in the two runny eggs it comes topped with—Lechon Republic’s Lechon Sisig is my all-time favourite dish here, best had with plain rice. Be warned: this dish is quite punchy with its flavours, though I love how the green chilli, lime, and onions cut through all the salt from the lechon and seasonings.

The modern version of sisig, I was told, hails from my colleague’s hometown in Pampanga. What before that was a sour salad of green papaya or guava, mixed in with pig head bits thrown out from the American air base, became the version popular today thanks to a lady named Lucia Cunanan, though it was another restauranteur who started serving it on a hotplate. She grilled the pig ears and added pork cheeks, lime juice, vinegar, and liver.

Don’t worry: the version you are served here is most definitely not made with pig head parts, pig ears and the like. It’s 100% chopped-up lechon, with the hotplate cooking the eggs as you mix them in. You must squeeze the limes and do this as soon as it’s served.

lechon republic - ensaladang talog

The last item we tried was Ensaladang Talong ($6.50), which literally translates to: eggplant salad. There’s more to it than simply grilled eggplant—the whole aubergine is sliced and laid out on a bed of diced tomato and purple onions, then generously topped with bagoong guisado.

You’re meant to mix it all together before eating, the fresh tomatoes and onions refreshing your palate amidst the savoury meat dishes. Another salad option you could consider is Ensaladang Mangga ($6.50), which sees green mango slices served with the same shrimp paste.

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Ambience at Lechon Republic

lechon republic - ambience

Lechon Republic, which you’ll find at the far corner unit of Novena Regency, is a 10-minute walk to Novena MRT Station. Cross the road to the Church of Saint Alphonsus, then through Royal Square at Novena and into Velocity @ Novena Square, where you’ll find the entrance to the station.

Be prepared to leave the eatery smelling of roast pork, though you won’t quite feel it when you’re there. There is air conditioning, but it’s on the whole a more no-frills kind of dining situation. It gets quite crowded around lunch, so come at off-peak hours for a quieter meal.

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The verdict

There’s no service charge at Lechon Republic, and GST is included in all the prices so really, it’s all nett prices on the menu. If you’ve never had the opportunity to try Filipino food, I’d say this is a great place to begin. Yes, the dishes may not be 100% traditional, with what my colleague says is “a base flavour of lechon in every dish”, but they are a lechon-centric eatery after all. However, it’s his go-to for food from home, and it’s run by native Filipinos—I think it doesn’t get more left than that.

This, I warn you, is not a place where you can forswear rice at.

Read our Nanay’s Kitchen review, where you can find Muslim-friendly Filipino food, and watch our ultimate guide to Filipino food in Singapore here:

The Ultimate Guide to Authentic Filipino Cuisine in Singapore! | Eatbook Food Guides | EP 62
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The Ultimate Guide to Authentic Filipino Cuisine in Singapore! | Eatbook Food Guides | EP 62

Lechon Republic Singapore
ADDRESS
275 Thomson Rd, #01-09 NOVENA REGENCY, Singapore 307645
Opening Hours: Monday 07:30 a.m - 07:30 a.m  Show More Timings 
GOOGLE REVIEWS
4.4
(438)

Website
Lechon Republic is not a halal-certified eatery

Photos taken by John Lery Villanueva 
This was an independent review by Eatbook.sg

Lechon Republic Review: Crispy Filipino Roast Pork From $6.50 Nett In Novena
  • 7.5/10
    Lechon Republic Review: Crispy Filipino Roast Pork From $6.50 Nett In Novena - 7.5/10
7.5/10

Summary

Pros
– Nett prices
– Excellent lechon

Cons
– Road works make the surrounding area quite messy

Recommended dishes: Chopped Lechon Meal ($12.50), Lechon Sisig ($15.50), Lechon Sinigang ($15.50)

Opening hours: Tue-Sun 11am to 8:30pm

Address: 275 Thomson Road, #01-09, Novena Regency, Singapore 307645

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