LOOK: Philippine Lechon Draws Crowds In Las Vegas
When the Lechon Diva of Pepita's Kitchen brought her fantastic lechon to Las Vegas, she wowed diners and gave our kababayans a little taste of home
When Resorts World Las Vegas opened with a flourish last Thursday — the first new Vegas strip hotel casino in a decade — what do you think was an essential on the menu? Lechon. Filipino lechon by no less than our very own Lechon Diva, Dedet dela Fuente of Pepita’s Kitchen.
The new luxury hotel casino is a $4.3 billion property sitting on 88 acres on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. It opened last June 24 to a crowd of 20,000 guests. Part of the attraction is Famous Foods Street, a 24,000 square foot street food destination that features 16 food stalls from top chefs and restaurateurs all over the world. Pepita's Kitchen occupies the only Filipino food stall in this space.
Dedet and her fabulous lechons were flown in in time for the grand launch, and have since been wowing guests with her fare. On Day one, she proudly reported that her lechon was sold out a good two hours before closing time.
The Lechon Diva’s stall was serving her all-time favorite truffle rice stuffed lechon together with a newly-launched sisig panini. The dishes certainly wowed the guests, including boxing great Mike Tyson.
A proud Pinoy, Dedet made sure to plant a tiny Philippine flag in every dish of lechon sold. She even put on a "Lechon Diva" outfit designed by Filipino designer Rajo Laurel, assuming the role of unofficial ambassador of Philippine cuisine.
“The Philippine Lechonera (female pig roaster) has truly landed in Las Vegas,” she posted on Facebook. “She is holding an abaca fan while roasting lechon. Yes, hindi siya payat (she is not thin) and she is wearing an Adidas Ultra Boost. This image completes the new logo and new look of the Lechon Diva of Pepita’s Kitchen. I feel this represents the modern-day Filipina. Hardworking, not afraid to do things not typically asked of a girl, and comfortable wearing what she wants.”
While it was a pleasure to introduce lechon to the Americans, most touching was the reception given by Filipinos. "Thank you to all the Filipinos who approached me saying they flew from San Francisco Utah, Chicago , Seattle, etc to taste our lechon and see Famous Foods Street Eats of Resorts World. Some even bought a few orders to bring back to Seattle and San Francisco," wrote Dedet. "Thank you, too, to all the non-Filipino guests who approached me saying how they loved their first taste of Filipino food. "
Food is a great way to bridge cultures and build friendships. We're so proud of our Lechon Diva for bringing a little bit of our iconic Filipino flavors to the world.