I was fortunate to have been invited to the soft opening yesterday noon. You see one of the owners is my dad’s god daughter and her dad is one my dad’s best buddies. Not to mention that she’s also my cousin’s cousin. Confused? With all these connections I was a bit nervous. What if the food was bad? How will I blog honestly about it without hurting anyone’s feelings? Thank goodness I truly, truly enjoyed the meal.
Lugang Cafe is a big restaurant occupying 3 floors in a new building along the busy residential Connecticut street. It’s right beside Conti’s and Bikram yoga. This is a franchise of the Bellagio Management Group from Shanghai, China and is the first branch outside China. The Greenhills branch is store number 27.
Crystal Jade has a new competitor. Xiao long bao is one of this restaurant’s specialties and they have these hard working chefs making dumplings non-stop. Peter told me one of them worked in Din Tai Fung in Taiwan for 12 years.
I was surprised to like the loofah & shrimp dumpling so much since I don’t like loofah or patola. The dumpling skin had the right thickness and the filling was light and refreshing.
angled loofah w/ shrimp xiao long bao P158
I liked their xiao long bao! The skin was perfect and there was sooo much juice. My only comment is the filling lacked a little salt. That could be easily be remedied with a quick dip in their good soy sauce imported from Taiwan. This was definitely at par or maybe even better than Crystal Jade’s.
xiao long bao P158
There were only 4 of us for lunch but Annabelle’s dad sat beside us and kept ordering food he wanted us to try. He recommended the pan fried dumplings. They were crunchy and bigger than average.
pan fried dumplings P190
We don’t normally order drinks but this was highly recommended. It was a great thirst quencher and not too sweet. The aloe jelly was delicious. I really liked the glasses that looked like carafes.
aloe jelly in honey lemon juice P120
For so long I lamented that there was no good milk tea in Manila. My benchmark is the nai chai of Cafe de Coral in Hong Kong. Finally I found milk tea that tasted just as good and strong. An order of hot milk tea came in a cute pot and yielded more than 2 cups.
Cantonese milk tea P140
My favorite dish was Taiwan stewed minced pork. When I went to Taiwan recently I saw this dish everywhere. I tried it twice and it didn’t come close to this.
Taiwanese stewed minced pork P160
If you like scallions then this fragrant dish is for you. Since I’m not fond of them I just ate the chicken and wished for some ginger sauce. They did have Hainanese chicken on the menu. I can’t wait to try that next time.
chicken topped with scallion & ginger oil P450
A friend in the next table told us to order this seemingly ordinary omelet. One bite and I knew it was extraordinary. It was a Chinese style omelet that was light, fluffy and filled with tiny bits of preserved turnips. That’s high praise coming from a non-egg eater.
Taiwanese omelet with preserved turnip bits P160
Taiwan omelet turnips
Frozen desserts are their specialty and they have a thick separate menu for drinks and desserts. We all liked this because it wasn’t sweet and it was slightly tart. I saw other desserts that were double in size.
passion fruit smoothy P190
I can’t wait to go back for another round of Taiwan stewed minced pork, half a bowl of rice, hot milk tea and a new dessert. This restaurant will surely be a big hit. Thanks again Uncle, Annie and Peter for lunch!
more dishes and desserts here
Lugang Cafe’s extensive menu (Flickr set)
(be sure to enlarge images)
Desserts & Drinks
iced snacks & shaved ice, ice cream & Cantonese desserts
Cantonese desserts & milk custard
smoothy, coffee & chocolate, sweet soups,
cold tea, hot tea, specialty drinks, freshly squeezed juice,
116 Connecticut St.
Northeast Greenhills, San Juan
telephone: 721-9100, 570-9011