Top 10 Best Lugaw in Manila

We list the yummiest lugaw--which range from P15 to P171--in Metro Manila.

Congee or rice porridge is an Asian favorite. The well-loved comfort food, which is perfect for rainy and under-the-weather days, goes by a different name in each country. Called bubur in Indonesia, chok in Thailand, and  babaw in Cambodia, in the Philippines, of course, it’s called lugaw. Its variants--"culinary cousins," if you will--include the goto, pospas, and arroz caldo. As long as it involves the prolonged boiling of rice in water and the addition of various ingredients and flavorings it remains within the general category of what congee is. SPOT.ph lists 10 tasty lugaw offerings--which range from P15 to P171--in Metro Manila. As we say, to each his own lugaw.

 

Lugawan sa Tejeros

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10. LUGAWAN SA TEJEROS
1066-B Pasong Tamo, Barangay Tejeros, Makati City
Open 24 hours daily

This lugaw (P15 for a bowl, P25 if you want to add slices of tripe or tuwalya) is as basic as you can get. Served in a plastic bowl, the dish comes with no more than bits of fried minced garlic, chopped chives, and a piece of calamansi. This is great for budget-conscious individuals desperate for a quick snack. Located in the non-posh part of Makati, the establishment hosts boundary-beating taxi drivers, the occasional wayward streetchild, and peddlers. Owing to its very affordable price, it has become so popular that a rival imitated its recipe and business model, erecting a store right across the same street, called Lugawan sa Pasong Tamo.

 

Goodah Lugaw in Manila

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9. GOODAH!!!
Stall 1, EMP Building, Alabang Zapote Road, Las Piñas City with branches all over Metro Manila
Open 24 hours daily

At P35, a bowl of Goodah!!! Goto gives you bang for your buck. It has crushed chicharon, chopped chives, toasted garlic, and a generous helping of tripe. It seems like this lugaw has become one of the default picks for the post-gimik crowd.

Goto King

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8. GOTO KING
Ground Level, Robinsons Galleria, EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue with branches all over the country
Tel. no. 637-5918
Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Goto King has lost much of its royalty all through the years, no thanks to various crises that saw its outlets whittled down to a minimum. However, this doesn’t mean that its flagship product has suffered the same fate. Goto King’s Special Congee--with chicharon and one whole cooked egg--is still a steal at P38. Servings and sizes of pork rinds are generous and are to be enjoyed whether mixed with the congee or relished individually.

 

Lugawan Republic

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7. LUGAWAN REPUBLIC
45 Timog Avenue, Quezon City
Tel. no. 372-8844
Open from 11 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily

Pilugaw (P95), its bestseller, is more like pancit palabok than lugaw. But no one’s complaining. After all, the dish may just be the richest kind of congee in all of Metro Manila, the country even. It’s made with sticky rice with a bit of sotanghon thrown in and includes chicken, black mushrooms, toasted garlic, chopped sibuyas dahon (chives), and quail eggs. It’s served in the establishment’s colorful handled bowls. Lugaw purists, though, may resist this take on the dish. Still, we cleaned our bowl.

Luk Yuen Noodle House

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6. LUK YUEN NOODLE HOUSE
Lower Ground, SM Megamall Building A, Mandaluyong City
Tel. no. 633-4396 or 633-1610
Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Sunday

Service isn’t the only thing going for Luk Yuen Noodle House. Although it counts a lot. Besides being prompt and courteous, service is also impressive since servers know dishes’ and are ready to recite them--commando style--at the drop of a hat. But that’s not all. It’s congees are excellent, especially Halo-Halo Congee (P145), the establishment’s bestseller. It offers generous servings of meatballs, beef strips, and pieces of stomach lining that you can’t dig into the bowl with a regular-sized spoon without hitting any of the three.

 

Le Ching Tea House

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5. LE CHING TEA HOUSE
M2 Level, Food Choices, Trinoma Mall, Quezon City with branches all over Metro Manila
Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Sunday

Don’t judge the place by its pun-ny name. It serves an excellent selection of congees. The plain congee served with raw egg (P42) is tasty enough--but you can’t pass up the special variations. We got the Shredded Pork with Century Egg Congee (P102) and we were not disappointed. Aside from the star ingredients, the dish also had chopped chives and a raw egg "hidden" at the bottom of the bowl. The pork was not really shredded, but that can be overlooked as the generous helping of chunks were all delightfully succulent.

Superbowl of China

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4. SUPER BOWL OF CHINA
Ground Level South Wing Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City with branches all over Metro Manila
Tel. no. 556-0584
Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Sunday

Though Super Bowl of China plain congee (P100) is already a treat, things get even better if you go for the Chicken Congee (P130). The dish is loaded with black mushrooms, thinly sliced ginger, and chopped chives. It’s a dish that’s filling and soothing at the same time. The soft and incredibly tasty chicken chunks seal the deal.

 

Mr. Choi Kitchen

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3. MR. CHOI KITCHEN
Ground Floor, Waltermart, 790 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City with branches all over Metro Manila
Tel. no. 889-7749
Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

The Fish Fillet Congee (P130), which also has chopped chives and a raw egg, is the establishment’s bestseller. Which, come to think of it, is not surprising. The fish strips--presumably fried and crispy before going under the pool of congee--is tender and tasty, no need for condiments, even for the unabashedly carnivorous. Same goes for the congee itself, which is already a treat.

North Park

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2. NORTH PARK
689 Banawe Street, Quezon City with branches all over Metro Manila
Tel. nos. 711-7648, 412-9505, or 412-9417
Open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily

North Park’s famous Superior Congee (P171) has the finest ingredients that can ever be found in a congee dish, hands down. Besides pork and chicken balls, the dish has slices of century egg, Pacific clams, fish fillet, Szechuan vegetables, fresh egg, and shrimps. It has chips for toppings too. Except that since these will get in the way of the dish’s presentation--which, in itself, is a visual feast--the establishment preferred to place it in a separate, smaller bowl, allowing the flakes to be enjoyed separately.

 

Dragon Noodle Center

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1. DRAGON NOODLE CENTER
1037, M.H. del Pilar Street, Malate, Manila
Tel. no. 525-1563
Open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily

For starters, color and texture are the qualities that set Dragon Noodle Center’s Halo-Halo Congee (P95) apart from the rest. The rice congee itself is light brown. But that’s not exactly a deal breaker. After all, based on taste alone, its color may be the result of the confluence of all the ingredients’ flavors: pieces of liver, beef strips, meatballs, tripe, century eggs, as well as a raw egg. Moreover, the restaurant’s congee also uses ground rice, transforming the dish into a thick soup with fine grain bits that is a pleasure to relish. Served on a bowl half the size of a basketball, Dragon Noodle’s Congee is one of the best in the city.

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