The first thing you will notice is that the place looks fantastic. It’s clean, airy, well-lit, has high ceilings, and furniture that looks pretty expensive. You’ll wonder if you stepped into the wrong restaurant, that is, until you see that most of the people inside look like they might be related to each other1.
We started with the Pan Fried Dumplings, which may as well have been steamed. If I’m going to eat something fried, I expect it to be sinfully delicious, and well, it tasted like… boiled water. I’m not saying it was awful; I’m just saying I’m never ordering it again. It’s OK, the food gets better!
Up next was the Three Cup Chicken2, which is a specialty of Lugang’s. It was pretty good! It’s not KFC-level chicken, kinda like Max’s-level jeje. Lester claims that their version at home is even better, but he says that about a lot of things. Anyway, you won’t feel bad about this dish. You know how some dishes you eat, then you suddenly feel like you’ve been gypped? This is not one of those. It is gypped-feeling-free and it’ll go well with the rice.
I rarely go for seafood, much less the spicy kind, but because Lester insisted, we got a plate of the Spicy Clams. He loved it, I didn’t, but he has weird taste jeje.
Any Chinese restaurant review needs a review of their Fried Rice! I usually opt for Yang Chow, but that night our table was feeling adventurous and we went for the Pineapple Fried Rice. Judging by how many other tables were ordering it, it looks like Lugang’s most popular rice dish. It was certainly different. I’ve never had pineapples with my rice before and I am resistant to change, but they served the rice on top of a pineapple cut in half, so I had to give it a shot!
Lester loves the Black Pepper Beef Fried Rice, though. Spicy, beef-y, what’s not to love?
I never usually order beef in Chinese Restaurants because Buddhists don’t eat animals, but we tried the Stir-Fried Beef with Chilli Peppers anyway. It’s pretty much like the name says: stir-fried beef with chili peppers. I don’t really know what else to say about it. It is what it is. Nothing rant or rave worthy about it. It’s your typical beef with chili peppers. Although I must add that it felt a LOT healthier than most similar dishes at other restaurants. In fact, EVERYTHING felt cleaner and healthier.
If you’re not a beef person, go for the Beijing Shredded Pork. Good and really clean flavors, I would say. Not unlike freshly laundered underwear straight out of the dryer.
Of course, the crowning glory of Lugang Cafe, their famed Steam Pork Xiao Long Bao! They say the true test of good Xiao Long Bao is if it can maintain the soup inside the dumpling, and Lugang does not disappoint. Perfect Xiao Long Bao. The consensus around the table is that it was a lot better than Crystal Jade’s, and we’re all Chinese so we know what we’re taking about. We’ve been eating this stuff for years!
The Steamed Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao isn’t bad at all, too.
If you’re feeling dessert-y, go for one of the shaved ice. We tried the Black Sesame and Peanut Flavored Shaved Ice. Not bad, but you’ll probably enjoy it more if you’re older than 403.
Bottom line? I didn’t come away with that feeling I get after I’ve had a REALLY good meal. It was more of the “Yeah, not bad, I’d definitely eat here again, but I’m not going to clear my schedule just to make it happen” feeling. The ambiance is incredible, though. It’s a beautiful restaurant. Also, we found out that almost half of all the ingredients are sourced straight from China. Maybe that’s why everything seemed a little fresher, a little cleaner. It’s authentic Chinese food that is CLEAN. Hard combo to beat.