The awesome thing about food blogging is how the freedom to embrace all manners of food can actually be immortalized in a post. From recipes to restaurants to even the most random interesting food items, I think I’ve enjoyed discovering them more than I used to knowing I have a place to share it with others. My only problem is sometimes I spend so much time in my kitchen trying out recipes I forget the other things that make up a well-rounded foodie life. Sometimes I even border on oblivious. In my city alone there are a ton of great restaurants I haven’t had the chance to try!
Luckily during one of my forays into the outside world (so dramatic, I know!), I managed to finally go to this restaurant I keep hearing about. Every time my family and I talk about picking a place to eat in Makati, my Dad keeps telling this story about how some of his college buddies who work in the area visit this restaurant called Lutong Macau every chance they get. The praises they sing are enough to make a person curious, but it wasn’t until recently we buckled down and gave it a try.
My verdict? This restaurant deserves all the hype it has been given, and more.
The name Lutong Macau literally translates to ‘Cuisine from Macau’, or something to that effect. Last time I was in Macau I don’t recall having such a feast, so I guess I’ll have to take their word for the authenticity of these dishes. From what I gathered from the menu, the dishes are mostly Chinese/Cantonese with influences from other Asian cuisines. Frankly I don’t even much care about authenticity right now. When the food is as good as what we ate, one doesn’t tend to be nit-picky about these things!
Entering the restaurant, it’s easy to dismiss it as rather ordinary looking. There are none of those gimmicky interiors, though I wish the ambiance was a bit more oriental. It is very much your run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant.
Here’s a sight we always see in Chinese restaurants. The glimpse of the kitchen from here is enough to give me an idea of how big it actually is in there.
The wait staff was quick enough, and we were immediately given a menu and some tea. As usual, we let our Dad pick out the food. When we’re eating at Chinese restaurants like this one, my Dad has a habit of picking one chicken dish, one pork, one fish/seafood dish, one vegetable dish, and of course the required rice dish as well. We went with a few medium-sized dishes that the waiter said was enough for 5 diners.
I’m not sure if it was because we were late for lunch and were already hungry, but I felt like the dishes took some time to prepare. The good news is, when the dishes did arrive, they were all mouth-wateringly presented. The better news? They were as delicious as they looked.
First up my Dad ordered Minced Taro with Chinese Sausage Fried Rice. I was surprised by the sheer amount of fried rice on this medium order. This dish was incredibly tasty, with bits of taro and sausage generously sprinkled throughout.
Then we were served the Four-Seasons Vegetables with Oyster Sauce, containing some of my absolute favourite veggies (broccoli, asparagus, and some button mushrooms) coated in gloriously thick oyster sauce.
I was lucky enough to photograph the Steamed Scallop Shell with Golden Mushroom before everybody started grabbing their share. For a moment my Dad considered getting another order because my brothers were literally fighting over the last piece!
One order has 6 pieces of stuffed scallop shells, and usually that would be just right for us since we are 6 in the family. Coincidentally one of my brothers was indisposed for the day and couldn’t eat out with us. To make a long story short, it was enough of a favourite at the table that the forks came out to battle for the last portion. The sauce perfectly complemented the garlic-and-cilantro-topped perfectly-cooked scallops.
The sauce of the Baked Fish with Thailand Mango Sauce was a bit strong in flavour for me. It was nice and thick- reminiscent of those concentrated syrups you make into juice drinks (which is what it probably is anyway)- but it was slightly too tangy for my taste.
However I absolutely loved how soft the fish was beneath that beautiful golden breading, and I loved the fact that there are Philippine mangoes in this dish. You guys haven’t tried mangoes until you’ve tried our mangoes from here! And since fish is my favourite, I still ended up eating a lot of this, topped with mangoes and not so much sauce.
This last dish is my favourite and is the dish I’ve been thinking about every time someone says Lutong Macau to me: Braised Chicken in Singaporean Laksa. I loved the play of complex flavours in this dish, of the curry and the wheatgrass and the Hainanese Chicken marinade. The chicken is fall-off-the-bone soft because before it was cooked with the sauce, it was steamed in the way of a Hainanese chicken dish first.
This is a great dish with rice, but I recommend an order of cuapao be made alongside this dish. I don’t much like cuapao, which is essentially the deep-fried Chinese white bun, but you have to try dipping that in this laksa sauce. It is soooo good, you will start wishing you ordered this dish and a bunch of cuapao for yourself alone! For those who like dipping their breads ala Indian Roti (like myself and my brother who was absent for this meal) this dish will require a lot of self-control not to devour!
So the great part about this whole meal was that the servings were shockingly big, but it only cost us about Php 1,560+ (around USD 35) for that feast! We all went out of the restaurant with slightly rounder stomachs after this meal, and a doggy bag of the chicken in laksa sauce for my brother.
Most people nowadays are smart enough to gauge if the food they are served is worth the price on the menu, and they are very willing to spend for good food if they do indeed see the value. But in this case I love how the food is delicious and fresh, and at the same time affordable. No wonder a lot of the working class love this place. If only it were a little nearer to my house, I’d probably be in here frequently as well!
116 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air Village II, Makati City, Philippines
Telephone: +632 8967777; +632 8953333
10:30am to 10:30pm daily
Disclaimer: This meal was in no way sponsored by the restaurant. All views expressed in the above post are solely my own.