Fidel (Paolo Contis) is a fresh culinary arts graduate from a Swiss school, working as under-chef in a casino restaurant in Macau. Fidel is compelled by his mother, Inay Viring (Maricel Laxa), to come back to their hometown in time for the first death anniversary of his father.
Soon after he arrives, he is challenged by an uncle, Tiyo Pinoy (Michael de Mesa), reproaching him for forgetting his roots, that he has become practically a foreigner, and that – no matter how hard he tried – he cannot cook a good lechon. Fidel accepts the wager.
Fidel starts apprenticing with the town’s lechon master, Mang Carding (Jun Urbano) and falls in love with Carding’s granddaughter, Carmel (Karylle). As the story moves forward, Fidel is constantly confronted by his family’s overdependence on him, even if the eldest in the family is his Kuya Roger (Gerard Pizzaras), an ill-tempered trisikad driver.
Meanwhile, Fidel’s teen sister gets pregnant by her high school boyfriend, and before long has a bad miscarriage. At around the same time, Tiyo Pinoy stabs the lover of his wife Cora (Joanne Quintas). All this domestic turmoil happens while Fidel is struggling through his training as a litsonero with Mang Carding.
Things come to a head when Fidel gets into a heated discussion with his Tiyo Pinoy (who insists on calling his chef job “trabaho ng binabae”). Suddenly the bet turns dead-serious. Originally the stakes were paltry. Now the stakes spiral notches higher: if Fidel loses – if his lechon doesn’t turn out good – he is compelled to work as servant in Pinoy’s bakery for a full year, and if Pinoy loses he has to take his wayward wife back into his life.
Fidel starts cooking the wager lechon for the death anniversary celebrations. Once again Fidel’s lechon is threatened by the relentless domestic discord.
In time, the cooked lechon is brought out to the party by Fidel. As agreed, Tiyo Pinoy will be the ultimate judge whether Fidel’s lechon is good. Suspense builds to the film’s heartwarming climax.
Soon, Fidel once more bids his family goodbye to go back to his job in Macau. He leaves his family behind with much hope in his heart, and with a promise to his beloved Carmel that he will soon be back, and this time for good.