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.
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 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 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 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 P160
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 P150
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.
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.
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 P280
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 P380
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 P190
116 Connecticut St.
Northeast Greenhills, San Juan
telephone: 721-9100, 570-9011