I’ve eaten in Lugang before for my brother’s birthday but totally failed to write about it because hunger took over. Today was my second chance to write about it and with good reason since Annie Ty-Chua (who used to be a horseback riding friend back in the day) is one of the owners of this place and she also sent us their upcoming items for a taste test. So this was what we had:
Pork Stew which says that it’s made for about 72 hours is quite understandable, they seemed to have used a kind of pork ham instead of just plain pork (the pork was brined in a jan solution of some sort).
Xiao long Bao – the skin was thin and yet very firm. It could take a lot of handling but still maintains it shape and of course, keep the soup inside. The flavor of the pork and soup inside are again, quite delicate but tasty. It was the perfect complement to the tartness of the black vinegar which cuts the richness of the dumpling.
Garlic pork roll is served cold with garlic chives inside. The delicate pork flavor is complemented by the hoisin – garlic sauce. The pork is literally what is used to roll the chives and filling in this dish so this is a fantasy for meat eaters.
Crispy chicken – The skin reminded me of a thin suckling pig skin, only there is a good hint of garlic and ginger. Biting into it is almost like biting into a very thin crackling. Unlike the other dishes, this has a lot of bursting flavors even without the sauce. The meat is tender and tasty and it’s served with a peanut-sesame oil sauce. I actually like everything even without the sauce. Yes, it is that good.
Dan Dan noodles – These noodles resemble a Tom Yam noodle in Thailand…but that’s how it looks. Slightly spicy with peanut this isn’t screaming with flavor, but it has a subdued and again, delicate thing (I am starting to have a feeling that Japanese people would really love this place since they are into delicate and yet complex flavors). The taste is delicate, slightly nutty and spicy with a hint of fat (maybe pork fat? Not sure)
Pork wanton in chili oil – a mixture of again, delicate but good flavors with chili. The wrapper is firm and yet thin. The pork inside is probably the same stuff they have in the Xia Long Bao. But I still prefer Mien San’s Spicy wantons over this (this is because the flavors scream in their dish).
Stir fried spinach – The technique was good as the vegetable retained it’s crunch (the stems) while the leaves themselves was very moist and almost slippery. The flavor of the spinach is not overpowered by the method of cooking but is actually enhanced. I love it when you can still taste everything.
Golden fried rice – with pork and pieces of cucumber add an interesting crunch to the rice. Though this wasn’t my favorite, it complemented every thing we had on the table.
Fried siopao – this is an upcoming item Tita Annie made us try. It comes sizzling in a bed of chives. The insides are just like a Xiao long Bao only it’s trapped within a pork ball, flavors are delicate but not too subtle to ignore. The dough is delightfully soft like a cloud with a little crust under and the inside is super juicy (because of the soup inside the pork ball).
Tofu and Abalone Mushroom – This was wonderful, the beancurd is very lightly crusted and the sauce is a mix of abalone mushrooms and sauteed onions which gave it a sweet flavor. The beancurd seemed homemade and was thick but cloud-like at the same time. It also reminded me of an egg tofu which we don’t have here in Manila (or it’s very hard to find)
Milk custard with Mango – This was the perfect end to a heavy dinner. The custard was nice and creamy, very smooth on a bed of mango purée and very fine crushed ice. It was quite refreshing!
I think a good Chinese meal can be seen with the balance of flavors and the finesse and technique used for a high quality outcome. Cafe Lugang has all of these qualities, it’s no wonder that their tables are full day in and day out. All this (except for the 2 freebies) costed us about Php 2600 only and we were 4 very hungry individuals. Quite a good deal for the high quality food.
115 Connecticut St., Northeast Greenhills,
San Juan, Metro Manila
The garlic pork roll looks really delish! 🙂
it was!!! I actually had no hesitation about “finishing off the last pieces” hehe
hi gianina. thanks for your very good comments and pictures. It was really nice meeting you and your family that day. Hope to see you more often. I shall see you in Cafe Ysabel too.
Regards to your dad.
@Tita Annie, the pleasure was all mine. 🙂 Sarap ng fooood! 🙂