The venue was Lugang Café –a three-story restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in Greenhills serving Taiwanese and Cantonese cuisine.
The ambiance is perfect. The interiors are posh and opulent in a modern oriental design. The owners have taken every effort to make sure the overall look, feel and appearance of the restaurant would justify the price range of the food, which is a little bit on the high side.
Level of service is excellent and consistent throughout the whole visit – from the time we arrived and looked for parking space, to when we waited to be seated up to the time we were served our food.
We arrived at the place a few minutes past 6pm. It was early enough to be able to get a slot at the resto’s parking lot across the street assisted by very able parking attendants. However, we were already number 3 in the waiting list and had to wait for almost thirty minutes before we got seated.
Considering that the place was full of customers all the way to the third floor, the staff were trying their best to be on top of the situation.We got seated in the dining area on the third floor. We pre-selected our orders while waiting for our seats, but they did not start cooking the food until we were seated.
And probably in their desire to provide quick service, at one instance even the janitor served a plate of food when the waiters were busy getting the other viand from the kitchen in the lower floors.
And now for the food.
Putting Lugang Café’s Oyster Omelette to Test
Somebody from Chinatown told one of my sons that a good barometer of how well a chef cooks Chinese food is via the taste of his oyster omelette in sweet spicy sauce. We always thought the better test was via pork or fish in sweet and sour sauce. But since we all agree that we may be biased for our own kitchen’s version of sweet and sour sauce, we decided to check the correlation between the oyster omelet on one hand and the other Chinese food that we will order that evening on the other hand. So that was the first dish we ordered and tasted for the night.
The verdict: 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 for the dish. After the dinner, we agreed that this rating has a strong correlation with the way overall rating we gave to the dinner — majority of the food were very good but one or two may stand some improvement.
Xiao Long Bao and Steamed Vegetable and Pork Dumplings
These are soup-filled dimsums which have become popular offerings in the past year by new Chinese restaurants. Lugang Cafe has one of the better versions.
The pork xiao long bao is good. The skin was thin but the soup is contained. As you bite into it the juice oozes and you enjoy the taste of the filling that’s you should into the soy vinegar with ginger slices.
The steamed vegetable and pork dumplings is delicate and delectable. We had to make a slurping sound as we put the dumplings into our mouth or else we may have burned our tongues with its broth.
Stir-Fried Beef with Chilli Peppers
Served on a hot pot, a fair amount of dried chilies accompany the dish. It has the heat spunk but is totally tolerable unless you eat the actual chili or chili seeds. The very thin slices of beef has splinters of fat on the side. These absorbed the flavor of the sauce, resulting in a tender and flavorful bite.
Kung Pao Prawns (650)
The kung pao prawns was cooked in sweet and spicy sauce with rings of red pepper and lots of cashew nuts. It tasted sweet, spicy and tart. It was good enough but not great. This may have been due to a high expectation we had of Chinese restaurants as regards to the way they cook prawns and crabs. Moreover, we thought that for the size of the serving , it is a bit overpriced.
String Beans with Salted Egg (220)
This is the dish that impressed us the most. The vegetable was cooked just right and has retained its crunchiness. The addition of salted egg brought out just the right amount fo saltiness to the dish. While eating we made some effort at trying to identify what other ingredients may have been included in the dish — with the intent of cooking one in our kitchen.
Dong Bo Pork with Gua Bao
The Dong Bo Pork is best eaten tucked in-between a sliced Gua Bao.The pork is very fatty, with a soft-stewed skin still on the cube. The meat breaks apart easily and is tender. The fatty layers between the meat is soft and juicy.
This dessert was the big come on of the evening. It is a a tower of shaved ice, with all sorts of beans, tubers, sago mixed. We had a great time sharing and enjoying the dessert.
There are still a lot of items in the menu that are worth trying. I am sure that we will go back to Lugang Cafe some other time to try its other dishes and desserts.
Got this from my college classmate – Jose Yparaguirre. I am posting this because most of the time having “nosebleed” moments refer to situation when we have a difficult time with a foreign language. Check out how well you can translate the paragraphs below:
“Ang kinabuhi nato sama sa usa ka basurahan. Sulod niini ang mga nagtapun-og ug gilangaw natong mga kagahapon. Adunay mga gum-os nga gugma, lata ug gi-ulod nga mga pagmahay, mga silopin sa kasilag ug mga botelya sa kasaypanan. Kun kini dili nimo ilaba, mamahimo kining BARA sa imong mga PANGANDOY.
Mao, balik-lantaw sa nangagi aron matugkad ang kinauyukan ug lintunganay niining tanan sa kasamtangang panahon aron ugma damlag makab-ot ang gihanduraw ning atong tanlag.
Higala, kinsay nag-ingon nga english lang ang maka -nosebleed”?
Vanda sanderiana – that is what the folks at the Philippine Orchid Society and a lot of hobbyists call this orchid. But to people from Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga, where this orchid is, we call it waling-waling. Before scientists propagated it in nurseries under laboratory conditions, waling-waling only grows as an epiphyte attached to dipterocarp forest trees.
Waling-waling produces beautiful flowers worthy of its description as the “Queen of Philippine Orchids”. The species bloom in the Philippines from July to October, usually after experiencing close to a month of continuous downpour brought about by the monsoon.
Having a waling-waling in our garden and watching it grew from a small seedling to a full-grown plant is one my those things I always wanted to do. I cannot afford the hobby when I was young. And I did not have time to do it when I was engaged in full-time corporate work. So when, I took the early retirement plunge, I finally had the chance to do it!
I bought the young plant (less than 4 inches tall) in 2005. I attached it to a driftwood and watched it grew to full size until it had its first spike four years later. So, for more than two weeks sometime in July to August 2009, I was watching the orchid develop from spike to bud to full bloom to the time its last petals fall. And I took snapshots of the waling-waling orchid from bud to full bloom.
Below was the first of the series of pictures I took. The flower bud had been there for more than a week. The spike started to come out around two weeks earlier. On 27 July 2009, I took my first snapshot using a Canon Powershot S3 1S.
Over the next few days the buds started to open. Notice in the pictures below how the shape of the buds changes, starting from the lowermost portion up to the topmost until they are all extended and ready to open (pictures July 28 to July 31).
They were on their way to bloom by August 1 with the lowermost buds opening up first and working their way into the uppermost buds.
I was on out-of-town trip in the next three days, so I failed to take photos. When I came back, the buds were already fully opened. I spent the next week enjoying the grandeur of the waling-waling flowers until its fullest bloom. i took snapshots until the petals started to wilt, but i am not posting those pictures here.
Being an amateur photographer, I did not get the best photo composition deserving of the waling-waling. But I am happy with the thought that I had the patience to go back to the same spot almost every day for 3 weeks to observe and to take snapshots of the Queen of Orchids as it bloomed.
Should you want to see the series of pictures again watch the slideshow below. Just click the photo for the slide to move to the next one.
This quiz should be easy, since I provided the choices for you to choose from. If you think the correct answer is not among the choices provided, you may type-in the correct answer.
But the real challenge, is if you can tell me where in Davao del Sur is the beachfront I am referring to.
Now, here is the question:
Three months ago, I travelled from Padada to a beachfront somewhere in Davao del Sur. On the first day I travelled one half of the distance. On day two, I travelled one-third of the remaining distance. On day three, I travelled three-quarters of the remaining distance. On the fourth day, I travelled one half of the remaining distance. On the fifth day, I was left with 5 kilometers left to travel. How far is it from that beachfront to Padada in total?
NANAY : Hala oi! mga pila kaha ka sako dok kay palit na ko hardware? Karon dayon aron mauga na ugma.
ANAK: Nay oi! pakauwaw ra man ka! sagulan pa gani ug balas!
DOCTOR: ayaw kalimti ang hollow block ha!!
Bungi Gitahi sa Doctor. Tapos Gitistingan pagpa-pronounce.
DOCTOR: Cge e pronounce daw LUZON VISAYAS MINDANAO ,
BUNGI: LUKOT , PASAYAN, BULINAO.
DOCTOR: naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! MITAMOOT….
PATIENT: Kung doktor ka, paano mo sasabihin sa pasyente mo na hindi na magtatagal ang buhay nya?
DOCTOR: Ganito… Makulay! Makulay! Ang buhay! Ang buhay! Makulay ang buhay sa kabilang buhay!
A mental patient singing while lying in a hospital bed, after a song dumapa siya.
DOCTOR: O ngano ka nibaliktad??
PATIENT: Ignorante ka ba??? Side B na man!!!