Elevate Your Lechon Kawali Experience: 28 Perfect Side Dishes

Lechon Kawali, also known as Lechon de carajay, litsong kawali, is a delicious and crispy Filipino favorite made from deep-fried pork belly never disappoints when it comes to satisfying our cravings.

While it’s already a rich and flavorful dish on its own, pairing it with the right side dishes can take it to an entirely new level. 

And I am here to provide you with creative and palate-pleasing side dish ideas, ensuring your lechon kawali experience becomes a flavorful delight to remember.

So, stay with me to explore some tasty accompaniments to complement your culinary masterpiece, and these sides are bound to leave your taste buds begging for more!

A Quick solution for what goes well with lechon kawali –

Atchara, Steamed Rice, Sinigang Soup, Garlic Fried Rice, Grilled Vegetables, Garlic Rice, Vinegar Dipping Sauce, Stir-Fried Vegetables, with mang tomas, Vegetables, Stir-fried water spinach with shrimp paste, Dipping sauce, Spicy Sautéed Green Beans, Mashed Potato Croquettes, Eggplant Salad, Grilled Vegetable Skewers, Roasted Asparagus Spears, Fried Sweet Plantains, Garlic Herb Rice Pilaf, Leek & Bacon Fritters and many more.

What type of food is Lechon Kawali, and what does Lechon Kawali taste like?

Lechon Kawali is a traditional Filipino dish that consists of a deep-fried pork belly. It is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and bay leaves to give it an aromatic flavor.

The exterior of the pork belly is crispy, while the inside remains soft and juicy.

To achieve its crunchy texture on the outside and tender texture on the inside, Lechon Kawali must be cooked slowly over low heat until done.

The result is a savory dish that has a slightly salty taste with hints of garlic and a slight smokiness from the bay leaves.

Lechon Kawali can be served as either an appetizer or main course, depending on your preference.

Moreover, his dish pairs well with sides such as white rice, salad, and a cold glass of beer. It can also be used as an ingredient in other Filipino dishes, such as Adobo, Menudo, and Sinigang.

Lechon Kawali is truly delicious and offers a unique flavor that is sure to please any palate. Enjoy!

Best Side dishes to serve with Lechon Kawali with a Twist

1. Atchara – A Filipino Classic

One classic Filipino sidekick that is the best partner for Lechon Kawali is Atchara. Made from thinly sliced, pickled, unripe papaya, carrots, raisins, and assorted minced vegetables, it boasts a sweet and tangy flavor profile.

Atchara helps cut through the richness and greasiness of the dish, cleansing the palate between bites.

Its vibrant mix of crunchy textures and bright flavors makes your mouthful a delicious treat. 

Plus, it’s relatively easy to prepare and store ahead of time, ensuring you’re always ready to enjoy this winning combination.

2. Steamed Rice

Sometimes, simplicity wins the day, a generous helping of steamed rice makes for an ideal coupling to Lechon Kawali.

Lechon Kawali is a classic Filipino dish made by deep frying marinated pork belly until it’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

The marinade for this dish usually consists of garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, pepper and bay leaves, giving it a distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with plain white rice.

To make the perfect plate of Rice with Lechon Kawali, you can start by heating oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Once hot, add the pork belly pieces and fry for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked through.

Remove from heat and place onto paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

The rice helps to soak up the flavorful juices, creating a harmonious blend of textures and tastes. Opt for jasmine rice for a slightly sticky consistency that complements the crispy pork belly.

Nothing is quite as satisfying as devouring a plateful of seasoned Lechon Kawali and freshly steamed rice, especially when you enjoy it with family and friends.

3. Sinigang Soup

Sinigang, a hallmark Filipino soup with a sour tamarind base, is absolutely delicious and my personal favorite for Lechon Kawali.

The savory, tangy flavor of the soup balances the richness of the pork belly, creating an enjoyable contrast of tastes.

sinigang soup is a good side that goes well with lechon kawali
Sinigang Soup

While there are many variations of Sinigang, incorporating ingredients such as shrimp, fish, or beef, the traditional pork version works exceptionally well as an accompaniment to Lechon Kawali.

Served over a bed of steamed rice, this flavorful combo will undoubtedly warm your soul.

4. Garlic Fried Rice

To inject another layer of flavor into your Lechon Kawali meal, consider pairing it with sinangag or garlic fried rice.

A popular breakfast staple in Filipino households, sinangag is made by stir-frying cold rice with crispy garlic, resulting in a truly aromatic and mouth-watering side dish.

The robust and savory taste of the garlic blends perfectly with the salty, fatty notes of Lechon Kawali, leaving you wanting more with every bite. 

Taking an extra few minutes to upgrade your simple steamed rice into this flavorful delight can truly transform your meal.

5. Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are another fantastic option to enjoy with Lechon Kawali.

With the addition of salt, pepper, and perhaps a drizzle of olive oil, grilled veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant can help create a well-rounded, colorful meal.

The crisp, charred textures and smoky flavors from the grilling process harmonize with the crispiness and umami of the fried pork belly.

Grilled vegetables also provide your dish a lighter, healthier accompaniment, balancing out the indulgence of the Lechon Kawali.

6. Garlic Rice – A Quintessential Pairing

Garlic rice, also known as sinangag, is another classic Filipino side dish that complements the savory goodness of lechon kawali.

You can prepare it by stir-frying rice with garlic and seasoning it with salt, this is a flavorful and aromatic way to balance out the lechon’s richness.

If you want to add more layers of flavor to your garlic rice, you can mix in some chopped spring onions, toasted nuts, or even crumbled dried fish.

Remember that lechon kawali and garlic rice are a tried and tested pairing that you simply cannot go wrong with.

7. Vinegar Dipping Sauce – An Indispensable Condiment

No lechon kawali meal is complete without a vinegar dipping sauce on the side. This tangy, flavorful condiment cuts through the fattiness of the pork, making each bite even more satisfying.

You can easily prepare a delicious dipping sauce by mixing white vinegar with crushed garlic, minced onion, soy sauce, sugar, and chopped bird’s eye chilies for an added kick.

Personalize your dipping sauce by adjusting the ingredients to suit your taste preferences, and watch as it enhances your lechon kawali experience.

8. Stir-Fried Vegetables – A Colorful Addition

Adding a serving of stir-fried vegetables to your lechon kawali plate is a great way to introduce some much-needed vitamins and minerals to your meal, as well as a colorful visual appeal.

You can use a variety of vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, snow peas, bell peppers, and carrots, quickly stir-frying them in a little oil with garlic and some oyster sauce for extra flavor.

This simple yet delicious side dish will balance out the heaviness of the lechon, making your meal more satisfying and nutritionally complete.

9. Lechon kawali with mang tomas

Mang Tomas the original and most famous Filipino all-purpose sauce, and it tastes perfect with Lechon Kawali.

The savory crunch of the pork skin combined with the sweetness of Mang Tomas makes for an unforgettable flavor combination that Filipinos have enjoyed for generations.

This classic dish consists of deep-fried pork belly slices that are marinated with garlic, onion, and other spices.

The tender bite of the succulent pork is balanced by the crunchy skin and flaky fat layers that give each bite a unique texture.

When you pair it with Mang Tomas, its slightly tangy and flavorful taste complements the lechon’s palate perfectly.

It’s no wonder why this classic Filipino duo is considered a favorite among locals and travelers.

For best results, make sure to let your lechon kawali cool slightly before serving it with Mang Tomas so all its delicious flavors can be fully appreciated. Enjoy!

10. Vegetables

Vegetables like Baguio beans, cabbage, and string beans are the perfect side to Lechon Kawali. The crispy pork belly is balanced out by the crunchy vegetables and the savory flavors.

All of these vegetables can be roasted together in the oven or stir-fried in a pan with some oil for extra flavor.

Lechon Kawali pairs especially well with Baguio beans, as their sweetness brings out the salty, succulent notes of this classic Filipino dish.

Cabbage also adds an interesting contrast by combining crunchiness with a mild taste.

Lastly, string beans add color and texture to your meal and a subtle nuttiness that complements the pork perfectly.

Together, these three vegetables make a fantastic accompaniment to Lechon Kawali that will have you coming back for seconds!

Try it and make your meal complete! Enjoy!

11. Stir-fried water spinach with shrimp paste

Stir-fried water spinach with shrimp paste is a classic Asian dish that packs a flavorful punch. The vibrant green of the water spinach is offset by the pungent aroma of the shrimp paste, creating a unique and tantalizing combination.

To prepare this dish, fresh water spinach is first blanched in hot oil to preserve its crunchiness before it’s stir-fried with a generous amount of garlic and shrimp paste.

The result is a savory delight that’s sure to please even the most discerning palate.

The earthy taste of shrimp paste goes perfectly with the grassy notes of the water spinach, making this an ideal side dish or appetizer for Asian-inspired meals.

For a truly authentic experience, make sure to serve this dish with steaming hot white rice and enjoy!

12. Dipping sauce

You can also serve some dipping sauces on the side for extra zing. A popular condiment to pair with Lechon Kawali is the spicy vinegar sauce, known as ‘sinamak’.

This garlic-infused concoction adds a unique flavor that will truly bring out the best of this pork dish.

If you’re looking for something sweeter, you can’t go wrong with banana ketchup or even sweet chili sauce.

The sweetness will help balance out the savory flavors of the pork and vegetables.

13. Spicy Sautéed Green Beans

Try this simple side dish that has a kick of flavor thanks to the combination of chili flakes and garlic. The green beans can be cooked until they just become tender and then tossed in the spicy oil mixture for an unforgettable taste.

spicy sautéed green beans is a good dish that goes well with lechon kawali
Spicy Sautéed Green Beans

14. Mashed Potato Croquettes

These delicious mashed potato croquettes are deep-fried and filled with cheese, bacon, and chives for a savory taste that matches perfectly with your lechon kawali.

The crispy exterior is the perfect contrast to the creamy interior.

15. Eggplant Salad

An eggplant salad is a refreshing way to round out your meal featuring lechon kawali. Eggplants are marinated in garlic, red wine vinegar, oregano, parsley, and olive oil for an explosion of delicious flavors in every bite.

16. Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, onions and squash can be grilled on skewers for a smoky charred flavor that complements the lechon kawali perfectly.

You just simply brush with olive oil before grilling for maximum flavor results!

17. Roasted Asparagus Spears

Roasted asparagus spears make a light but a flavorful accompaniment to your meal featuring lechon kawali.

Asparagus is seasoned with olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper before roasting until just crisp-tender – make sure not to overcook it!

18. Fried Sweet Plantains

I just love to enjoy Fried sweet plantains with lechon kawali as they add sweetness and crunch to any plate of lechon kawali.

The plantains are fried until golden brown before being sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon for an extra special touch.

19. Garlic Herb Rice Pilaf

Aromatic rice pilaf makes an excellent base for your plate of lechon kawali as it absorbs all the flavors from any accompanying sauces or gravies that might come along with it!

To make this dish even better, you can try adding some minced garlic and fresh herbs like parsley or oregano for added flavor depth.

20. Leek & Bacon Fritters

These decadent fritters feature shredded leeks and bacon which combine into something truly extraordinary when going with crispy pieces of lechon kawali!

Place them on top of your plate or serve them on the side – either way, you’ll love them!

21. Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes

Lentils cook up quickly into a hearty stew when combined with chopped tomatoes in this simple but satisfying side dish that’s sure to be a hit alongside any type of pork dish like lechon kawali!

Top it off with some freshly chopped parsley or cilantro leaves to finish it off nicely!

22. Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

Sauteed wild mushrooms give a great earthy flavor boost when served alongside pork dishes such as lechon kawali due to their intense umami notes – plus, they look beautiful too!

You can try sautéing up cremini mushrooms (or whichever varieties you can find) in butter until golden, then season generously with salt & pepper before serving warm on the side!

23. Kale & Almond Salad

Kale adds texture while almonds bring nutty crunchiness – making this salad an incredibly flavorful yet light accompaniment to any meal including pork dishes like lechon kawali!

For extra flair, you can add some freshly shaved Parmesan cheese on top before serving – yum!

24. Roasted Carrots & Fennel Bulb 

Add sweetness and zest to your plate by roasting carrots together with fennel bulb slices until tender but still slightly firm – their delicate sweetness will pair perfectly against salty & savory notes from your lechon kawali dish.

Just drizzle over some olive oil before roasting for maximum flavor results!

25. Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad 

Everyone loves a good pasta salad, so why not take yours up several notches by adding some spinach pesto?

It combines classic Italian flavors such as garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, basil leaves, spinach, etc., all together into one delicious sauce – which makes it perfect next to your lechon kawali!

26. Garlic Potato Wedges 

Potato wedges are always great alongside pork dishes – only this time, let’s go all out by sprinkling lots of minced garlic over them before baking them in the oven!

They’ll get nice and crisp while also allowing you to enjoy those garlicky notes – plus, who doesn’t love potatoes, right?

garlic potato wedges is a good dish that pairs well with lechon kawali
Garlic Potato Wedges

27. Creamy Coleslaw 

Creamy coleslaw is another classic side dish that goes well with almost anything!

You can either keep things classic using mayonnaise-based dressing or go for a healthier version with Greek yogurt and lemon juice – either way, it’s sure to taste great when paired with lechon kawali! Enjoy!

28. Grilled Eggplant Salad – A Smoky Treat

Last but not least, lechon kawali can be perfectly accompanied by a flavorful grilled eggplant salad – a smoky, creamy, and irresistible side dish.

Simply grill eggplants until their skin is charred and the insides are tender, then peel off the skin and mash the flesh together with chopped tomatoes, minced onion, and fresh chilies.

Drizzle the salad with vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Not only will this side dish add some healthy, smoky goodness to your meal, but it will also provide an interesting contrast to the crispy lechon kawali.

What are the best flavors to go with lechon kawali?

The classic flavors for lechon kawali are garlic, onion, pepper and calamansi. However, there are other flavors you can use to switch up your dish and make it even more flavorful.

You can experiment with different spices such as cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder or curry powder. 

You can also incorporate some sweetness into the mix by using a bit of sugar or honey.

If you like fresh herbs in your dishes, try adding rosemary or thyme to the mix too. For an extra kick of flavor, drizzle some soy sauce over the top before serving.

Finally, don’t forget the traditional accompaniment- vinegar! Nothing pairs better with crispy lechon kawali than a tangy, vinegary sauce. Enjoy!

How do you jazz up a lechon kawali?

One way to jazz up a lechon kawali is to add a flavorful glaze. A simple glaze can be made with honey, soy sauce, garlic and chili flakes for some heat. Brush the glaze over the top of the cooked pork belly before serving for an extra burst of flavor.

You could also spice up your lechon kawali by adding a dry rub before cooking it. Create your own blend by mixing together dried herbs and spices such as cumin, coriander, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and salt.

Rub this mixture all over the outside of the pork belly before frying so that it gets nice and crispy when cooked.

For even more flavor, stuff the pork belly with a mix of sweet and savory ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs, spices, cooked rice or beans. This will add another layer of flavor as it cooks in the oil.

Finally, you can also serve lechon kawali with a variety of sauces from different countries or regions. For example, a Filipino favorite is banana ketchup, while some enjoy dipping their pork belly in a spicy Thai chili sauce.

All of these tips will help you create an exciting and flavorful version of lechon kawali that everyone can enjoy! Have fun experimenting and trying new things to get creative with this classic dish. Happy cooking!

How should lechon kawali be served?

Lechon kawali should be served as soon as it is cooked, as this will help to maintain its crunchy texture.

It can be served with a variety of sauces such as soy sauce, vinegar or a spicy-sweet dip like banana ketchup. Some people also enjoy lechon kawali with rice or mashed potatoes.

The options are endless!

For an even heartier meal, you can try serving the dish alongside other Filipino dishes like sinigang or adobo for a complete and flavorful experience.

Finally, don’t forget to sprinkle some calamansi juice over your lechon kawali before eating for an extra zing of flavor! Enjoy!

Wrap up on what goes well with lechon kawali 

A mouthwatering lechon kawali dish can be made even more enjoyable by adding the ideal side dish or two that complements its delicious flavors.

Each of these side dishes, from the classic Atchara and steamed rice to the bold flavors of sinangag and Sinigang soup, offers a unique way to elevate and relish your Lechon Kawali experience.

Try these options and even venture out to discover new side dishes on your own – the possibilities are endless, and you may just stumble upon a new flavor combo that ignites your taste buds.

FAQs on what goes well with lechon kawali

Q1. What traditions do people eat lechon?

People in many parts of the world have embraced lechon as part of their culture, with some countries having specific dishes that feature this succulent and delicious pork dish. In Spain, it is served during special occasions such as weddings or birthdays.

In Mexico, lechon tacos are a popular street food. In the Philippines, it is often served at fiestas, where it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who partake in its consumption. Filipino people also cook lechon for a variety of other celebrations like New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve dinners.

In Cuba, lechon is prepared on special occasions like parties or when celebrating saints’ days. It can be found served whole or sliced into smaller portions so that everyone can enjoy some. In Puerto Rico, it is often served as part of a traditional whole roasted-pig feast called lechoncito.

Finally, in the United States, it is quickly becoming a popular dish to eat at festivals and special occasions. People are beginning to recognize the flavor and quality of this pork dish and are using it to add a unique twist to their celebrations. No matter where you may be in the world, it’s clear that lechon has become an integral part of many people’s cultural traditions.

Q2. Why is my lechon kawali not crispy?

There could be several reasons why your lechon kawali isn’t crispy. One of the most common culprits is overcooking. When you cook the pork too long, it renders out all of its fat and makes it tough, not crispy.

Other causes can include using too much oil or not draining away excess fat after cooking, both of which can cause the pork to become soggy instead of crunchy. 

Lastly, you may need to adjust your cooking temperature – some recipes call for a higher heat or longer cooking time than others in order to achieve that perfect crispiness. With a little trial and error, you should be able to get your lechon kawali just right! Happy eating!

Q3. What is the difference between lechon and lechon kawali?

Lechon is a traditional Filipino roasted pig dish. It is typically served during special occasions, such as fiestas and birthdays. Lechon is marinated in a mixture of seasonings and slow-roasted over charcoal for several hours until the skin is crisp and golden brown. The meat inside is juicy, succulent, and full of flavor.

Lechon kawali, on the other hand, is a fried version of lechon. Instead of being slow-roasted over charcoal, it’s deep-fried in hot oil until the skin becomes crunchy and golden brown. The meat inside will be very tender due to its shorter cooking time.

Both dishes are usually topped with garlic or vinegar before serving. The difference in flavor and texture between lechon and lechon kawali is quite noticeable, and both are equally delicious. However, some people prefer one version over the other. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

No matter which version you choose, lechon and lechon kawali are both sure to please your taste buds! Enjoy!

Leave a Comment