Lunch at Lugang Cafe

Taiwan stewed minced pork
Lugang cafe is a new Chinese restaurant located in Greenhills and specializes in dishes from Taiwan, Beijing and Shanghai. The restaurant opens to the public today.

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.
Lugang Cafe

The owners rented a lot across the street for parking. This was a great move!
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I was really impressed with the restaurant’s modern and classy interiors.
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Even the ceiling lights were nice.
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Almost everything was imported from China and Hong Kong, from the tables, chairs, couch and lighting.
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The second floor will be opened around the 3rd week of November. The third floor is still under construction.
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These semi-private seating areas will surely be very popular with bigger groups. There are also private function rooms on the 2nd floor.
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Lugang cafe is owned by dynamic couple, Peter and Annie Chua.
Peter and Annabelle Chua

Lugang Cafe menu

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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.
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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.
loofah & shrimp dumplings
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
xiao long bao P158

For veggie lovers this is the dumpling for you. It was filled with soft, seasoned spinach. Yummy too.
vegetable & pork dumplings
vegetable & pork dumplings P188

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
pan fried dumplings P190

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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 honey lemon juice
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
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.
Taiwan stewed minced pork
Taiwanese stewed minced pork P160

There was a whole boiled egg with the minced pork.
stewed minced pork

The pork was so tender and the sauce was indescribably good. I stopped eating white rice but I just had to order some to eat with this.
Taiwan stewed minced pork

This is my idea of Chinese comfort food. Trust me, so so so good!
Taiwan stewed minced pork

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.
scallion chicken
chicken topped with scallion & ginger oil P450

This is Jenny, one of the two Chinese managers from Beijing.
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My other favorite was the very flavorful three-cup chicken. This dish was entirely made up of chicken wings chopped into tiny pieces. Strange but it worked.
three-cup chicken
three-cup chicken P290

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.
Taiwan omelet turnips
Taiwanese omelet with preserved turnip bits P160
Taiwan omelet turnips
Taiwan omelet turnips

By this time we were all so full but the food kept coming. I had a soft tendon and some terrific spicy soup.
spicy beef tendon noodle soup
spicy beef and tendon noodle soup P250

I hate taro so I didn’t try this. My parents loved it though. They said the taro was super soft.
hot taro sago soup
sweet taro sago soup P150

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 smoothie
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!
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more dishes and desserts here

Lugang Cafe’s extensive menu (Flickr set)
(be sure to enlarge images)

dim sum & roasting, appetizer,
house special, 2, seafoodpork,
beef, poultrytofu & vegetables
noodles, pot rice specialties & rice,
rice & soups, set meals & congee

Desserts & Drinks
iced snacks & shaved iceice cream & Cantonese desserts
Cantonese desserts & milk custard
smoothy, coffee & chocolate, sweet soups,
cold tea, hot tea,  specialty drinks, freshly squeezed juice,

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

Comments

comments

  • toymastah

    Looks good to eat! Do we need to wait long to be seated?  

  • shootfirsteatlater

    I suggest you go early. Around 11 am? Today, Sunday is the first day open to the public.

  • tomylord

    will have to try this restaurant…do they take reservations?

  • shootfirsteatlater

    I guess so… try calling them :)

  • Kathleen

    looks yummy!  Can’t wait to try the food. 

  • Jeremiah Genetia Furaque

    maa’m kat, bkit po kmi sa bar wlng pics.. hehe

  • Erin

    Wahhh… looks so good.  I would’ve loved to eat the taro!

  • shelly

    di ako nakaextra..wew..
    haha
    punta na kayo jan :)

  • Kathleen

    I super got tricked by all the nice photos and press releases I saw on facebook and pdi. The things that we ordered were just okay. Nothing great. The xiao long bao, which is supposedly their specialty was completely tasteless. I think they should spend more on developing the quality of their food than on marketing. I definitely would not eat here again.

  • shootfirsteatlater

    Sorry you had a bad experience Kathleen. Out of the 5 times I’ve eaten at Lugang only once was the xiao long bao lacking in taste. Otherwise they were always excellent. I also liked 3-4 dishes more than the others which were just ok.

  • Howard Tan

    Haven’t tried here but I’m excited to bring my family!  From the comments above, I think the reason why the Xia Long Bao lacks in taste is because the chinese taste buds are different from the pinoys.  Pinoys love malasa stuff right? =) It’s probably meant to be that way?

  • lu

    just go to shi lin….. lugang is over priced over hyped

  • browneyedgirl

    have to agree…  the dishes are ok but not worthy of all the hype (and the long lines!!!).  i do love the beef with chinese crullers and the peanut smoothie, though. 

  • www.ifoodtrip.com

    overhyped? maybe and that is a matter a taste, but to say this is overpriced? give me a break.