I love rice porridge or what is locally known as lugaw. I think it’s an all-in-one meal. Carbs, proteins and fats. Rice and soup. Meat and others. And I like pairing it with tokwa’t baboy. Especially if the vinegar is good. In fact, it’s a family tradition for my father to cook lugaw every Christmas and New Year’s eve.
Since Abi became my friend in first year, she has always raved about this lugawan in her home province of Bulacan. She has invited me there a couple of times and finally, in 3rd year, I was able to go. I never forgot that place after trying their famous LTB (Lugaw, Tokwa, Baboy). During our first post graduation sleepover, I was able to taste it again after almost 2 years and it’s still the same. Except, the price increased by 5 pesos.
The place is quite far from Abi’s house because we had this long tricycle ride which brought us through small roads, highways, and a bridge. But it was more than worth it. The lugaw was hot when served. I mean, really hot, not just warm like what some lugawan serves. And it is thick, like the rice and soup parts were one (because I’ve tasted diluted and bland lugaws).
The lugaw is enough of a meal already but it is famously called LTB for a reason. Usually, I do not eat the baboy part because it’s made of pig’s head and I can feel the cartilage and some bones while chewing. And I don’t usually finish the tokwa because I like it crispy so I just eat the sides and leave the center part alone. All of those were not applicable with this particular Tokwa’t Baboy. First off, the tokwa were cut in just the right size which does not make eating the center part icky. Second, they don’t use pig’s head for the baboy. It’s like chopped Crispy Pata instead. I can finish two orders of these easily.
And of course, their pinakurat na suka completes the package. Look for the thing in a San Miguel Gin Cuatro Cantos bottle, that’s the miracle liquid that combines the lugaw, the tokwa and the baboy into one saliva-drooping meal. I can put a teaspoon in my mouth and let is stay there until my saliva neutralizes it before swallowing. Ugh, so good. It does not have the strong taste of newly chopped sili in vinegar which means that it’s been there a long time (just a theory). I guess vinegar is like wine, the older, the better.