Shaved ice, other desserts and more at Lugang Cafe

black sesame & peanut butter shaved ice
No I don’t have shares in Lugang Cafe but i wish I did. I just darn love the food. Tuesday was a holiday and we brought some friends to Lugang to share the joyous experience of eating there. It seemed half the town had the same idea. The place was packed and I saw a lot of friends eating there.

We ordered the usual xiao long bao and fried dumplings. These were the new dishes I tried.

We were surprised that the garlic pork roll was a cold dish. It was interesting and quite flavorful.
garlic pork roll
garlic pork roll P160

Michelle and Andrew are kids who love roast pork or asado or char siu. Whenever we eat in Chinese restaurants we have to order this for them. Michelle proclaimed this better than Choi Garden’s. Gasp! It was very tender and not that sweet. It was quite lean too.
roast asado
roast asado P300

I discovered a new favorite dish. Who would have thought pairing Chinese crullers (fried long doughnut) or you tiao with beef would work so well. Chinese crullers are traditionally served with congee or soy milk.

In this dish the crullers remained crunchy even while it absorbed the savory sauce. The way I ate it was I got piece of super tender beef and a piece of cruller and popped it in my mouth at the same time. The contrast in textures was simply amazing. And the sauce wasn’t salty so I didn’t need to eat with rice. We ended up with a second order because even the kids loved it.
beef w/ Chinese cruller
beef w/ Chinese cruller P280

The Hainanese chicken was tender and very juicy.
Hainanese chicken
1/2 boneless Hainanese chicken P450

The pineapple fried rice was unique. It had pork floss on top and lots of whole cashews and pineapple bits in the rice.
pineapple fried rice
pineapple fried rice P280

Another reason that I think Lugang Cafe will be a big success is that they are the only restaurant in Manila (that I know of) to offer a huge array of Chinese desserts just like Honeymoon Dessert, Hang Fa Lau and Sweet Dynasty in Hong Kong. And they have even more with their popular shaved ice desserts.

David Chang of  New York’s Momofuko fame even commented ““This Bellagio is not a Las Vegas hotel, but a faux-swanky Taiwanese brasserie. There are several locations in Shanghai, and they’re all open at all hours. It’s my favorite restaurant in Shanghai—which I know is sacrilegious—but everything is so delicious, like the pork-belly pot with egg and their weird fried breads. Don’t leave without ordering the shaved ice—it’s a must.” from Travel and Leisure

The shaved ice didn’t really look like ice. Instead it looked like wide ribbons of peanut butter and black sesame. I didn’t care so much for the black sesame since I felt it lacked flavor. The peanut butter is another story.

They used Jif peanut butter to make this and it was evident in the flavor. It tasted like they froze a block of whipped peanut butter and shaved it. Though it melted on the tongue it didn’t taste watery just smooth, creamy and cold. If you are a peanut butter lover like I am than this dessert is the ultimate. Next time I will order all peanut butter only. If they put a drizzle of chocolate syrup on top then this would be a giant Reese’s bar. Yummmmm.
black sesame & peanut butter shaved ice
black sesame & peanut butter shaved ice P160

The mango flavored ice was more icy and sherbet like but the flavors of the mango was pure and not diluted. It was much finer and smoother than sherbet. I was told they use more than 30 kilos of mangoes a day.
mango shaved ice
mango shaved ice P160
mango shaved ice
mango flavored shaved ice P160

This dessert was similar to the one I always order in Honeymoon Dessert in Hong Kong.  The black pearls were small and crunchy. Aside from fresh mangoes and kiwi the black one was a dried sweet fruit that I have yet to identify.
black pearls w/ coconut & fresh fruit
black pearls w/ coconut & fresh fruit P150

This cool and refreshing dessert had lots of super fine ice that melted right away without making the coconut base watery. 
black pearls w/ coconut & fresh fruit

The kiwi juice was sour as expected.
kiwi juice
fresh kiwi juice P180

Michelle is a bubble tea addict. She gave their strong bubble milk tea a thumbs up.
tapioca pearl bubble milk tea
tapioca pearl bubble milk tea P130

I found the green tea latte too weak. I like the one from Starbucks so much more.
iced green tea latte
iced green tea latte P160

The second floor had a long dragon mural design on the wall. It’s a trademark in all Bellagio cafes in China.
Lugang Cafe-14

Some tables on the second floor had a steel curtain for privacy. The owner, Peter told me this was also in all the cafes in China but in a much smaller scale. He decided to use it as a curtain in Manila.
Lugang Cafe-15

Almost everyone ordered a drink which averaged P150 each plus the 3 desserts we ordered and lots of dishes. Our bill came out to P450 per head. That’s quite a good deal specially since we were all so full and happy.
Lugang Cafe-16

Nov. 21, 2010

The same group ate at Lugang again today, Sunday, and these are the new dishes we tried. With all the dishes I’ve tried so far I don’t think it’s even 1/4 of the entire menu. I’ve got a long way to go. It’s hard to try new dishes when you keep wanting to order the same favorite dishes.

This shrimp dish was a house specialty. It wasn’t as good as the beef cruller since the cruller here wasn’t very crisp. It was different and interesting though. The mayonnaise based sauce was light and didn’t taste too rich for the dish. The pineapple added a refreshing flavor to the dish.
pineapple & shrimp stuffed in cruller
pineapple & shrimp stuffed in cruller P280

The spinach was very soft but the soup wasn’t very savory. It lacked flavor. But overall it was ok.
seasonal vegetables in broth w/ preserved eggs
seasonal vegetables in broth w/ preserved eggs P300

Anthony and I loved this tofu dish. Strips of fried tofu simmered in a delicious black bean sauce.
Taiwanese tofu clay pot w/ pork
Taiwanese tofu clay pot w/ pork P260

This was a big surprise. I thought it would be just sliced barbecued pork plopped on top of rice. Instead the rice was actually cooked in the clay pot and developed crispy bits on the bottom just like paella. The barbecued pork’s flavor seeped into the rice and the addition of a soy based sauce poured on it made it this clay pot dish a big hit with the two kids. The portion of the pork was quite generous too.
honey barbecue pork on rice in clay pot
honey barbecue pork on rice in clay pot P380

The rice noodles or bihon was drier than the saucy version we’re used to but it was very flavorful. My only complaint was the dried shrimp was very salty.
fried rice noodles
Taiwanese stir-fried noodles w/ pork P245

If you like red beans, mung beans (monggo) and ice then this dessert is for you. A tower of ice is covered with beans and drenched with condensed milk. At the base there are pineapple chuck, sweetened tapioca balls and purple mochi cubes.
Bellagio Breeze
Bellagio Breeze P190

For you to understand how tall this dessert is I put my iPhone beside it.
Bellagio Breeze

We had to hack at the hard ice tower to get chunks to break and fall.
Bellagio Breeze

Bellagio Breeze


Lugang Cafe
116 Connecticut St.
Northeast Greenhills, San Juan
Metro Manila
telephone: 721-9100, 570-9011

5 thoughts on “Shaved ice, other desserts and more at Lugang Cafe

  1. they shouldn’t accept reservations. we went here a couple of days ago and the place was almost empty but they didn’t let us in because everything was reserved. we went to crystal jade instead where the entire place was packed but we got a table after 5-10 minutes. crystal jade is definitely earning more.


  2. hi leslie!! grabe amazing! we’re goign to lugang this thursday and im preparing a list from your 2 entries here 🙂


  3. omg!!! i super love this place and super happy that we have a good restaurant like this! so authentic! reminds me of my beijing days… 


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