Lugaw, Congee, or Rice Porridge is a very famous dish in Asia. Not only does it taste good , but it is also affordable and easy to make. It is made of sticky rice, simmered in chicken or beef stock, accompanied by sauteed garlic,onions, and ginger. For garnishing touched, you can add chopped onion leaves and a little more fried garlic. Lugaw with pieces of chicken is called "Arroz Caldo", while lugaw with internal organs such as intestines is called "Goto". It is best eaten during rainy days, to warm up one's stomach. But here in the Philippines, it can be eaten during any time of the day. What's the best time/part of the day to eat lugaw? I say,eat it in the morning for breakfast, or for merienda.
P.S: Sorry for the poor quality of some photos, I always use my Itouch when taking pictures here in Obando.
1. Lugawan sa Palengke ( Rice Porridge Stand in our town's Market):
Where do you go to buy your daily needs? Of course, majority will answer that they buy their daily food at the market or palengke. But some go to the market to get a taste of this certain man's rice porridge.
Go here at around 4-5pm, you will immediately see hungry customers ordering lugaw or mami from this particular stand. There are 3 stands but this one has many loyal customers.
Plastic tables and chairs for the customers. You can always dine here but you can opt to have your lugaw eaten at your house. Just say "balot" or take-out.
I know, many people will raise their eyebrows and say, isn't that dirty? not handled/cooked properly? Fret not, their Lugaw is freshly made and cooked upon serving. For the utensils, well you just have to clean it with tissue to be sure. Because sometimes, the dishwasher will not be able to clean it properly because as I noticed, they are always in a hurry.
One man is frying "Okoy" or Filipino shrimp cakes. Best eaten while hot. It can look a bit soggy when it starts to cool down.
As for me, I like take outs when it comes to Lugaw. It's not that I don't want to be seen eating outside on a lugaw stand, but the main and only reason is that I want to fry and reheat the foods that I bought. Especially the tokwa (fried tofu) to make it crispier.
The rice I think, is cooked with simmering beef stock. The beef taste is very dominant and I like it. I also like the fried garlic on top. Tastes simple and light.
Left to Right: Tokneneng ( Boiled egg fried with orange colored batter), Okoy( Filipino Shrimp cakes), Turon ( Sauteed vegetables wrapped using Lumpia/Shanghai wrapper).
What I like most is the okoy and turon, it goes well with flavored vinegar. All in all, it is a HIT. Never mind the stand's location and the utensils, what matters is the food's taste. Right?
2. Luto ni Ka Lydia
This eatery opened in the late 2011. But, it just changed it's location.
It is now located in front of Bugay's Dental Clinic. Now in Burgos St. Paliwas, Obando, Bulacan.
They also serve lunch but it's the lugaw that they became famous for. I once ate at their eatery when they are still on their soft opening and I must say that the eatery is very clean. And the tokwa and baboy, also clean! The baboy (pork) is cut into bite sized pieces are all clean and all meat indeed.
I really like their lugaw. Also cooked using beef stock. I love the slightly salty taste. And then the garlicky flavor is not too overpowering and just right.
However, what's missing is the onion leaves or leeks, I think.
Again, a take out lugaw for me!
The main reason for my take outs. This is my version of crispy fried tokwa (tofu). I don't like it soft and soggy, instead, i like it to be crunchy. I certain lugaw eatery is famous for their crispy tokwa. Sorry if I am not featuring them, because I don't like the taste of their lugaw, it became bland.
I know, frying is the most unhealthiest method of cooking. But I always use canola oil for frying and I don't eat fried foods on a daily basis.
My most favorite condiment. Patis (fish sauce) with squeezed Calamansi juice and red chili. I put it on my lugaw for an added spicy/sour/salty kick.
Flavored vinegar. The best condiment for your side dishes such is tokwa, turon, okoy, and tokneneng.
I believe that we don't have the right to complain with the food that we eat. Many people are dying because of starvation, and they will be willing to eat anything just to survive. We are lucky enough because we are still able to eat three times or more in a day. Good food doesn't always come in fancy restaurants, doesn't always come with fancy packaging and whooping price tags. What's important is that it can feed a hungry stomach.
Stay tuned for the other parts of this post!