Puchong is known for its hipster cafes, no-frills dai chow stalls, and dimsum joints – but full-service restaurants are few and far between, especially ones serving pork.
Enter Cerdito, a casual but elegant resto that specialises in Iberico pork dishes. The place has been around since 2016, and I’ve walked past it many times, but never got down to trying it until recently.
The interior is spacious and brightly lit, with a bar occupying one side of the room. Mahogany tables with matching coloured chairs contrast nicely with the beige and nude walls.
So what is Iberico pork, and what makes it special ?
Iberico pork comes from the Black Iberian pig, a breed native to Spain’s Iberian peninsula. They are highly prized for their meat, which is considered far superior in quality than that of regular pigs raised in commercial farms. For one, Iberian pigs have a propensity to be fatter, with good marbling. They also feed on acorns, which gives the meat a unique, almost earthy flavour.
Because of this, prices at Cerdito are above average – but you get what you pay for, as the pork is imported directly from Spain. Their specialities include items such as Iberico Chuletas – Short Rack, Iberico Cabecero (made from pork collar on top of the loin), and Iberico Mango BBQ Loin Ribs (glazed with mango barbeque sauce before they are grilled). They also carry dishes such as the Pork Burger, German Sausage Platter, and Rosemary Honey Pork Belly.
The fam and I were on a budget, so we didn’t order the set for four, which will set you back RM330 (includes salad, ribs and other mains). We instead opted for the lunch sets, which are available daily and come with a soup appetiser and a drink. You can choose from three different types of carbo, namely pasta, mantou (buns) or rice.
I got the Roasted Pork Belly with Mantou (RM28), which was served with a side of vegetables tossed in a refreshing vinaigrette dressing. Each mantou was stuffed with two large pieces of roasted pork belly, cucumber, and just a smattering of spicy sauce.
The mantous were pillowy soft, encasing flavourful pieces of roast pork within. As for the protein, I could tell that it tasted different from regular pork – more pungent and flavourful, with an excellent meat to fat ratio. The fat was a tad chewy, but I like it that way. It would have been perfect if the skin was crispy, but unfortunately it was tough. Still tasty, though!
Bro got the Aglio Olio with Roasted Pork Belly (RM28). The portion was sizable, and the pasta was cooked well, although it was a bit more spicy than I was used to.
Pops being the typical Asian, had to have his rice – and since he’s not a big fan of pork, he went for the Fried Chicken Rice Bowl (RM20). What arrived at the table was a giant fried chicken thigh, sitting atop a bed of rice blanketed in a fried omelette.
The chicken was brined before deep frying, so it was very flavourful (bordering on salty, depending on one’s taste buds), but the inside was moist and perfectly cooked.
Last but not least was Moo’s Pineapple Maple Pork Belly (RM35). This is an ala carte option, by the way, and not part of the lunch sets.
This was my favourite dish, and not just because other people’s food always looks better than one’s own after you’ve ordered, lol. The pork was extremely tender and flavourful, having been marinated overnight in a blend of pineapple juice, maple syrup and soy sauce, the enzymes of which would have broken down the proteins further. Grilling the pork gave it a nice, smoky aftertaste, and the mashed potatoes that were served as sides was also done well. Everything came together on the plate perfectly.
Our bill came up to RM122, which I still find reasonable given the setting and the quality of the food. Service-wise, waiters were attentive and friendly. My only qualm was the timing in which they served the food; my Bro, dad and I got our food first, and were nearly finished eating before Moo’s dish was served.
Parking and traffic in the area (or anywhere in Puchong, for that matter) can be a btch, but I think it’s well worth a trip if you’re a pork lover.
G-11, Kompleks Kenari, Jalan Kenari 19a, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
Opening hours: 11AM – 9PM (closed Mondays)
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