Tasty Balamban Liempo

cebu balamban liempo

balamban-liempoPhoto: Balamban Liempo

satisfying balamban liempo

Balamban Liempo is one of Cebu’s yummiest liempo. There are many ‘liempo’s in the province, but one can be sure that its origin is Balamban, a municipality in western Cebu and about more than an hour from Cebu City.

Liempo is a term for pig’s belly that is prepared in a specific method that brings out its unique taste and flavor. Liempo (or liyempo) is said to have an origin in the Chinese language while some say it is Spanish. It does not matter whatever the origin of the word. Its taste matters the most.

It is usually served with steamed rice (or hanging rice known as 'puso') and consumed as the main dish.

For those who are not familiar, lechon is fundamentally called as ‘lechon’ because it is roasted as a whole pig. Originally, lechon (leche means ‘baby’ or young) a not-so-mature and not-so-young pig is used for this delicacy. On the other hand, a liempo (or liyempo) is only a small part and particular part of a pig – the belly. It is also sort of barbecue but prepared differently – it is marinated while a lechon is not.

Origins of Liempo

I think it is not a good idea to pinpoint who is the original creator of liempo (except Balamban pork belly) – because it is impossible. It might be easier to ask who (or which region/country) invented the wheel. However, identifying who is the original maker of a tasty liempo is close to impossible.

Hence, in this article, it might be better to mention possibilities as well as the recent trend of liempo’s popularity, especially in Cebu area. So…

The right question might be: Who made it famous? Or, who did a successful business out of it? Just like Kentucky fried chicken, the guy from Kentucky work hard for it to be consumable and popular during his time and even made it a world-class fast food. Certainly, there were many people (especially moms) during his period who can cook a delicious fried chicken but only keep the recipe within the walls of their family kitchens.

In the same manner, we will describe here the popular liempo (roasted pork belly) as identified to be one of the most delicious and satisfying pork dishes according to the claims by customers and regular liempo eaters.

balamban-liempoWhole slab of a grilled pork belly (photo: Balamban Liempo Cebu)

the balamban liempo

According to popularity, the roasted pork belly (liempo) of Balamban is the one that raises the name ‘liempo' to the highest level and claims the highest search words in Google regarding roasted pork dish.

Balamban Municipality (and town) is situated on the western side of Cebu City. It claims that the famous liempo is made popular in this very town, and so it is famously known as ‘Balamban Liempo.’

As mentioned by other blogs, the original recipe creator of Balamban Liempo is Bebot Mapa in Balamban. He distinctively grills pork bellies using traditional herbs and spices available in the area. He is not affiliated with the franchised Balamban Liempo but only keeps a humble order and take-out store close to Balamban Town’s public market.

Before his product became popular, Bebot used to peddle his liempo in the market – that started sixteen years ago (2016 as of this writing). When he saw that he is doing well, he decided to open a small store which is now known as Johnna’s Liempo Haus:

Location and Contact:
Balamban Public Market
Mobile: +639182065607

Liempo’s Distinctive Features

Balamban Liempo has some similarity with lechon regarding incorporating the ingredients and spices but not the part of the pork being prepared. As aforementioned, a lechon must include the whole pig (or piglet), but a liempo only uses the belly part.

The pork belly is cut like small slabs and then make unfinished cuts where the local herbs and spices (such as garlic, spring onions, salt, pepper, soy sauce, etc.) are stuffed into.

After completing the incorporation of ingredients, the spiced and stuffed pork belly is then kept for some hours (at least 6 hours) to get marinated.

After the being marinated, the belly will then undergo a boiling process before it is grilled over a smoldering charcoal. The marinated and boiled pork belly will produce a crispy grilled liempo with its distinctive texture, taste, and aroma. This is how the Balamban grilled belly (Liempo) is being done. What people love most about this dish is its golden-brown and crunchy skin!

balamban liempo francise

Briefly, the company started its venture in July 2009 but has grown fast with almost 100 branches around the country. In Cebu, this dish (fried pork – food not for all especially those with health issues and religious backgrounds) is highly sought for by fries and food connoisseurs.

As a franchisee, you are expected to deliver highest sales volume. Moreover, you will notice or have noticed that a branch does serve not only the main dish (liempo) but also other dishes such as Lechon Manok, noodles, etc.

The barbecue chicken contains the same ingredients as the pork belly liempo, and so they may taste the same, but the texture is different because apparently, they are two different types of meat. 

The following are some descriptions of franchises located in various locations in Cebu City. Reviews about the branches are quite satisfactory – such as the taste of the liempo and the readiness of the staff providing the service.

Please, see more details from their website below:


Balamban Liempo in Mabolo
Cabahug St., Mabolo, Cebu, Philippines
Phone Numbers: 0933-405-5045, 0922-620-5921, 0923-830-5196

The place has no parking area, has two big tables which can accommodate only four people each. The reason is that the store is intended primarily for delivery or take-out basis only. Aside from serving liempo, they also prepare grilled chicken and other seasonal dishes such as pancit (fried noodles).

Balamban Liempo in Larsian Fuente
Address:  Larsian Fuente, Cebu City
Price range:  Php 100-500
Store hours:  11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. (daily)
Contact No:  Mobile No.: 6392 262 05921
The place has no parking space, function room, smoking room, delivery and no pets allowed. However, they serve the best and tasty liempo in town.

Kamuning Street, Capitol, Cebu City, Cebu 6000
Phone: +63(32)4125445

Tres Borces corner S. Cabahug Streets, Mabolo, Cebu City, Cebu 6000
Phone: +63(929)4699215

Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City, Cebu 6000
Phone: +63(32)5837717

Gilmer Arcade, Basak, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
Phone: +63(920)9446724

Tres De Abril Street, Punta Princesa, Cebu City, Cebu 6000
Phone: +63(32)4125445

63C F Gochan Street, Cebu City, Cebu
Phone: +63(32)2668173

Their branches are growing not only in Cebu Province but also nationwide.

franchise invitation to investors

All potential investors willing to try and expand that brand anywhere in the country may inquire at Balamban Liempo’s main office for further details.

The company will provide you all that you need to make your venture successful. The major and fundamental supports for your success include the following points as mentioned on their website:

  • similar design and construction of your store and facilities
  • a charcoal roaster or Rotisserie – depending on your choice of products
  • a copy of the Franchise Operations Manual – available only to members
  • fixed assets: freezers, chopping tables, store facilities
  • store signages, posters/ads
  • training of staff and personnel
  • one day trial/soft opening support
  • lastly, the company will not charge you a monthly royalty fee from eighteen to twenty-four months.

Franchise Website Design and Store Construction
There is already a ready-made website design (template) that a franchisee can use right away. Of course, you need to only upload necessary details such as photos and more descriptions of your food products as well as ads. It means that you save time creating your door to the world (website) and a higher possibility of becoming successful.

Regarding the building of the branch store, as a franchisee, you need to abide by the design and layout of the store. Basically, the franchisor will recommend contractors and will actually construct the store. However, the franchisee may be given the option to hire independent contractors but subject to approval from the franchisor.

For you to be affiliated with the company, you need to produce a franchise fee (PhP500,000) that is payable during the first half of signing the agreement. The other payment will be done later on which is usually during the opening date. The franchise duration lasts for five years.

Balamban Liempo Head Offices

As a franchising company, Balamban Liempo maintains two head offices – in Cebu and Manila. Keeping offices close to places where they do business ensures smooth operations and regular support lines to its branches in both cities. Each head office has an administrative team and actual commissary operations.

Head Office Addresses:
Metro Manila: #6 Pres. J. Laurel St. Industrial Valley Complex, Marikina City. This head office only supports and manages business located in Luzon regions.

Cebu City: #25 Borromeo Compound Wireless, Subangdaku, Mandaue City. The Cebu head office also manages its branches located in the Visayan region and Mindanao region.

liempo recipe & tips

Now, if you want to experiment a liempo at home (who knows you will become famous and start your own business!), you can check out the recipe and methods of preparing it. The recipe is not from me but from the best available online source as featured in a popular newspaper company.

(Reference: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/66052/my-best-tips-recipes-for-perfect-inihaw-na-liempo/)

The source says that a liempo is more delicious, putting aside the ingredients, it is about ½-inch thick, bone-in, marinated and charcoal-grilled pork belly. Here are the ingredients:

1 kilo pork belly, vinegar and garlic liempo, 3 tablespoons garlic (crushed), 1 tablespoon each garlic and onion powder, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 bay leaf (crushed), 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 chili (sliced), ¼ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper, and 1 tablespoon of oil.

Mix all the ingredients mentioned above and then marinate the pork belly overnight. Do not marinate the meat for over 16 hours. Use any container or sturdy freezer bags that can hold the liquid marinade. Use light soy sauce, taste the marinade and adjust the mixture of salt, pepper, sugar, chilies if you are not happy with its taste.

Then do the following basic steps:

  1. Charcoal should have started burning 15-30 minutes already before you grill. You can apply this method to any kind of coal you use including coconut briquettes. You can recycle it as it burns longer (put down the fire with water)

  2. Evenly spread your fire in your griller. The distance between the (grate) meat and burning coal should be between 3 to 5 inches, but it also depends on the intensity of the heat and so please make necessary adjustments.

  3. It takes around 12-15 minutes to grill a half-inch liempo, but make sure you do not hurry when roasting it (Haste can make waste!). The process should be slower to get a soft and crunchy result. Keep a close watch especially when it is your first liempo or experimental grill.

  4. To keep your meat moist and does not look dry, you may apply oil or mixed ingredients with oil before grilling. Do not use too much sugar and thick soy sauce as they can burn or turn your meat black easily.

  5. Turn the pork belly about 3 to 4 minutes each side until you are happy with its color and result. Do not keep on turning (exception: a grilling machine at business stores does this).

If you try this recipe, please let us know the result. Hopefully, this helps your search for any information on the liempo dish.

Thanks for visiting this page. Have a happy life and enjoy your meals always!

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