We recently visited the man known as Mr. Cochinillo aka Tinee de Guzman. Tinee is a man who takes his roasted pig so seriously he asks how far you live to adjust the cooking time of his Cochinillo del Cielo. He is a former photographer and photo studio owner that loves cooking and baking but came to the food business by accident.
Tinee invited us to his home to sample his cochinillo creation as well as a new partner dish that was clamored for by his clients.
Tinee de Guzman only uses day old pigs that have consumed nothing but sow’s milk which makes the meat tastier and softer. The pigs are seasoned and roasted in a special brick oven for 5-6 hours, basted regularly with Tinee’s own olive oil based marinade. The tail and ears are covered in foil to achieve the ultimate crunch.
The partner dish he was introducing to us was the Seafood Fiduea, a noodle based dish cooked like a paella but lighter. His clients were always asking him to introduce a dish to partner with his signature cochinillo so this was the final product he came up with.
Each order of Cochinillo del Cielo (P6,000/P7,000) is laid on top of banana leaves and placed inside a weaved straw basket carrier to keep the skin as crispy as possible during transport. Tinee also provides a platito/small plate for cutting the porcine delight.
The cochinillo is so easy to cut with just a small plate. You hardly need to put any weight when dissecting the little wonder.
Tinee’s favorite part is the leg, which he pairs with steaming white rice.
The Seafood Fiduea (P4,000/6,500) is cooked liked a paella except noodles play the parts of carbs instead of rice. I’ve had fiduea once before at Cova (closed already) but did not really enjoyed because it was mostly crispy (tutong). Mr. Cochinillo’s version is so much more enjoyable I had two or three servings. The noodles are soft, flavorful and much lighter than rice. There was two kinds of clams, prawns, mussels giving the rice so much umami flavors.
The cochinillo was one of the best I’ve had, there’s no funky taste of smell from such a young sucking pig. The skin is really crispy while the meat was tender but I have to admit to missing the flavors of the native lechon that I always associate with a roasted pig (my preference). Fans of cochinillo should definitely give Mr. Cochinillo a call ASAP and book their orders now. The fiduea was the star of the night for me, I had way too much despite trying in vain to resist the temptation.
Mr. Cochinillo also makes local Black pig on a special order basis and will be coming out with a Babi Guling, an Indonesian style roasted piglet.
Cochinillo del Cielo
- Regular (8-12 people) – P 6,000
- Large (14-18 people) – P 7,000
- Regular (14-18 people) – P 4,000
- Large (26-30 people) – P 6,500