Hunan Lutong Bahay: It’s here, no really!
When in Manila one must sometimes look past the sterile malls and palaces of commercial sameness to find true authenticity. Sometimes you have to look even harder, because there’s not even a sign. Sometimes you have to look, ask three guards for directions, make one U-turn and drive a quarter mile in reverse.
Welcome to Hunan Lutong Bahay, a humble eatery in an apartment building owned by a husband and wife team. In these walls décor does not exist but food is good and prices are reasonable. It’s not the easiest place to find, but if you ask around the Guards around Rockwell for Camia St. you’ll find it near the corner of Estrella and Gumamela.
Wouldn’t a velvet painting go great here?
This is one of those zero ambiance restaurants that only the Chinese can do so well. Serving the spicy dishes of Hunan, the attention is clearly centered on food and food alone. The air conditioning was turned off on an excruciatingly hot day but they still somehow managed to keep the dining room reasonably cool with the mounted fans on the walls.
Hunan Lutong Bahay – Hand-Rolled Fried Pork Dumplings
First to arrive were the Fried Dumplings. These were clearly hand-rolled, showing the small imperfections of form that are the hallmark of great homemade food. They were very flavorful, stuffed with pork and lots of fresh vegetables.
Hunan Lutong Bahay – Pork Spare Rib Hot Pot
Hunan Lutong Bahay – Spicy Shrimp
The hot pots are a favorite here and you would be remiss not to order one. We tried the Pork Spare Rib Hot Pot, which had a tasty slightly oily broth that was scented with star anise. The meat was braised to the perfect point where it was tender without falling right off the bone. The Mapo Tofu was very simple but good. We also ordered the Spicy Shrimp, which were rather spicy and otherwise unremarkable. Although I asked the server to go spicy on our food I don’t think my request was taken seriously enough. Next time I’ll grasp her by the nape when I say it.
Hunan Lutong Bahay – Mapo Tofu makes you happy every day
For value dining off the proverbial beaten path, one could scarcely do better When in Manila. I recommend going to this secret Chinese Restaurant, Hunan Lutong Bahay, with a group of four so you can enjoy the larger servings of hot pots on the menu.
Hunan Lutong Bahay
6404 Camia St.
0915 425 2972