My grandpa should have been alive to see this. Lolo Osing, who died in 1999, always expressed disdain for lugaw.
“Pagkain ng may sakit,” he would say, wrinkling his nose in disapproval whenever he would spot any of us daring to enjoy a bowl when we weren’t sick.
Lugaw made headlines last week because of a barangay official who was overzealous in patroling food deliveries in her area in Bulacan.
“Essential po ba si lugaw? Hindi. Kasi mabubuhay ang tao na walang lugaw,” she told the rider condescendingly, brandishing her copy of their barangay’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) guidelines.
“Pagkain po ’yun, ma’am,” the poor delivery guy responded.
“Hindi nga. Eh ’di sana lahat ng pagkain bukas,” she said, adding that essentials are water, milk and groceries.
The incident, which was caught on camera, led to the battle cry #LugawIsEssential and a nationwide craving for lugaw.
Lugaw went viral not just because of debates over its necessity and musings on what the confusion actually says about our country, but also because people kept posting photos of lugaw they made at home or ordered from nearby establishments. We found the many pictures of piping-hot bowls of rice porridge topped with garlic, egg and spring onion a nice break from all the bad news on our feed.
“Lugaw, or any food item for that matter, is considered an essential good. Delivery of food items must remain unhampered 24/7,” said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.Now that that’s clear, here are five places offering lugaw that you need to check out (if you haven’t already). They’ll leave you no doubt that lugaw is, indeed, essential.
Lugawan sa Tejeros
How this place grew from a tiny carinderia in Makati to a two-story establishment that now also has branches in Taguig and Kalentong is testament to just how good their lugaw is.
Prepandemic, Lugawan sa Tejeros was always packed, even if you tried to go at 3 a.m. We’ve jostled our way through that crowd time and again, looming over diners still eating, waiting to grab a spot on one of those rickety benches. Other times, we’d order bags of lugaw to go (yes, they come in bags) and bring them all the way to Quezon City so friends and family could try the magic that is Lugawan sa Tejeros.
And it is magic. And so, so cheap. P20 for plain lugaw and P50 if you want it with egg and lechon kawali—lechon kawali that stays crunchy even after swimming in hot lugaw. They serve goto and arroz caldo, too.
Under ECQ, Lugawan sa Tejeros is only open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Order through Lalafood or Angkas Pabili service. Delivery instructions are on their Facebook page. (1068 Chino Roces Ave., Barangay Tejeros, Makati City; 46 Sampaloc St., Extension Z1, North Signal Village, Taguig; Metro Oil Commercial Building, New Panaderos, Sta. Ana, Manila; facebook.com/LugawanSaTejeros.
We go to Goto Monster not for the lugaw but for the pork bagnet silog (It’s really good.) But that doesn’t mean they don’t serve a mean bowl of lugaw. They have different kinds: plain, chicken adobo, shiitake mushrooms, chicharon bulaklak, pork bagnet, goto beef tripe.
Make sure you get the leche flan ice cream pops, too, for dessert. They will bring you joy. We also love their special waffles, especially the champorado waffle with dried fish.
During ECQ, Goto Monster is open from 8 a.m to 9:30 p.m. (245 Primo Rivera corner Pablo Ocampo extension La Paz, Makati City; tel. 0916-3002600)JTG’s Lugawan Republic
Another restaurant that’s consistently on best lugaw lists is JTG’s Lugawan Republic. Their bestseller is the Pilugaw—lugaw with sotanghon (glass noodles), goto, chicken, black mushrooms, toasted garlic and quail eggs. Those who like their food with a kick also love the spicy and appropriately named Goto Hell.
We enjoy their Create Your Own Lugaw experience, too. You can top the basic lugaw (which already comes with garlic, spring onion and quail eggs) with all kinds of goodness—more quail eggs, hard-boiled eggs, tito, goto, century eggs, chicken, kamto, litid, meatballs, pork floss, pork adobo, chicken adobo, spicy goto and wanton flakes.
They also serve vegetarian lugaw, congee and okayu, which is the Japanese version of lugaw.
Don’t miss out on their Chicharon Aleta. This super crunchy pork chicharon is our favorite thing to bring to potlucks and it’s always a hit. Warning: You might get addicted. Their okoy, crispy tokwa’t baboy and lumpiang togue are also popular and a great match for lugaw. (56 Scout Rallos St., Quezon City; 121 Calamba St. One Banawe Complex, Quezon City; tel. 0917-4907316, 83728844. Available on Grab or through the pabili services of Lalamove and Angkas; facebook.com/LugawanRepublic.) Goto Tendon
Before the pandemic, Goto Tendon’s Taguig branch was our favorite last stop after drinking in Bonifacio Global City (BGC). Digging into pares and goto was a great way to end a fun night out.
You can still get your Goto Tendon favorites for takeout, pickup and delivery. Their star dish Goto Tendon is made with goto broth that was simmered for 12 hours and US beef tendon.
They also serve silog meals, noodles and more. (49 Scout Tobias, Quezon City, tel. 85185527, 0917-8613692; 431 Araneta Ave. corner Bayani St., Quezon City, tel. 87402288, 0917-5128808; Crossroads, 32nd corner 8th Ave. BGC, Taguig, tel. 83613025, 0917-8635963; Promenade, Greenhills, tel. 89833852, 0917-8613530; 656 Boni Ave. corner Ligaya St., Mandaluyong City, tel. 5310-2802, 0917-8751188. Available on Grab and Lalamove.) PAL’s ‘arroz caldo’
There was a time when the only way you could eat Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) famous arroz caldo was if you got access to PAL’s Mabuhay Lounge (they also serve it in-flight to business class passengers).
This dish reached iconic status thanks to people posting photos of it on social media. While some did it out of sincere praise for what truly is a good bowl of arroz caldo, it was also humble-braggarts’ way to say, “Hey, I’m not flying coach.”
Now you no longer need a plane ticket to try PAL’s arroz caldo. All you need is P690. That gets you a PAL Arroz Caldo Kit which includes arroz caldo for two to three people, toppings and condiments, two limited-edition wooden bowls and spoons and instructions. (@flypalcafe on Instagram) INQ