Lechon first, ham second: Noche Buena’s star players, ranked by our readers

Steph Arnaldo
Lechon first, ham second: Noche Buena’s star players, ranked by our readers

NOCHE BUENA. Lechon and ham are two Pinoy holiday staples.


Can you guess which favorite Noche Buena staple came in third?

MANILA, Philippines – Think of Noche Buena – which dishes immediately come to mind? Typical answers include lechon, ham, macaroni salad, kakanin, and many more family staples. We all have our own classic Noche Buena favorites, but we wanted to know: Which top Noche Buena dishes have reigned supreme in most Pinoy households?

We asked our Rappler readers: If you could only pick one Noche Buena staple, what would it be? Here are their answers, ranked according to the top star players of this year!

Lechon is #1

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the most voted Noche Buena staple this year is lechon. The Filipino favorite of a crispy, salted roast pig was chosen by over 14 readers.

In addition to the count, two answered crispy pata, two answered lechon belly, one answered lechon kawali, and another answered cochinillo, which is the Spanish version of a roasted suckling pig. We’d like to consider all of the above in the same ballpark as lechon.

One user’s reason for his lechon pick is that the roasted pig can last for up to six days in his household, and this is true – lechon leftovers are usually made into lechon paksiw, the savory-sour-sweet Filipino pork dish made from leftover roast pig. No pig goes to waste!

Lechon is also a favorite family centerpiece because of its size – one order can easily feed a big Filipino family!

Coming in a close second: Christmas ham

It was a close fight for Christmas ham, which came in second at 12 votes. The pink pork dish – which is sometimes served sweet or salty, depending on you – is a common festive centerpiece for Noche Buena feasts.

Many like to pair it with other Noche Buena staples like queso de bola and fruit salad (which we’ll get to in a bit).

Christmas ham, according to a Facebook user, isn’t the same as the hams being sold in supermarkets all year round. This is what makes this Noche Buena staple so special (and a favorite addition to every office’s annual pamasko basket).

Last but not least: Fruit salad

What’s a Noche Buena dessert if it isn’t sweet and creamy? Coming in third place is the crowd-favorite fruit salad at 9 votes, which many users also referred to as macaroni salad, chicken macaroni salad, and for some, buko salad.

Fruit salad was a popular pick among our readers, especially since each household has their own spin on the traditional side dish-slash-dessert made from cream. One user said that her version, made with queso de bola cheese and walnuts on the side, has always been her Noche Buena nonnegotiable.

Didn’t see your favorite? Don’t worry, other Noche Buena favorites weren’t forgotten!

Among the other most mentioned holiday staples include spaghetti with five mentions, lumpiang shanghai with four, seafood (like baked salmon and buttered shrimp), kare-kare with three votes, and meaty options like steak with two votes and roasted turkey with one. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.