Laguna Mabuhay Filipino Food @ Gereja Road

August 20, 2013

Looks deceive: Laguna Mabuhay might seem like a sterile, surprise-free outlet from outside, but in terms of its food, this is one of 2013s most distinctive new eateries.

The Philippine clientele, especially strong on Sunday afternoons, is enough to indicate what cuisine is offered here; Laguna Mabuhay is the Filipino eatery that KL has long needed, with a menu that outstrips the now-closed Cagayans at Bandar Utamas Centrepoint.

Start with "sisig" (RM12), the super-addictive sizzling recipe of pork ears & jowl, cooked with calamansi & chilies, flooded with egg for extra flavor. Even the squeamish might be stunned to find themselves enjoying this.

"Kinilaw" (RM25), the Filipino interpretation of ceviche, a tangy salad-like mix of raw tenggiri fish (cooked not with heat but citrus juices), salted egg & pork strips.

"Kare-kare" (RM18), a creamy comfort-food stew of beef & veggies prepared in peanut sauce, served with salted shrimp paste for absolute authenticity.

Laguna Mabuhay makes no concessions to Malaysians; its menu lists dishes in Tagalog without English translations. Bring a Filipino friend to help explain that "morcon" (RM28) means pork rolls stuffed with hard-boiled eggs, sausage meat & carrots.

"Pinaputok Na Bangu" (RM22), milk fish stuffed with tomatoes, ginger & onions, grilled & served with a spicy dipping sauce.

"Lechon kawali" (RM18), Filipino deep-fried pork belly, also known as evil incarnate. More tender than it looks; like a cross between siu yuk & fast-food-style fried chicken.

Much of the food here screams out for rice. Ask for some aromatically laced with crispy garlic.

Laguna Mabuhay,
3, Jalan Gereja, Kuala Lumpur.
Drive past Lebuh Ampangs Ming Annexe, then park at the open-air lot. Laguna Mabuhay is less than 50 meters up the road, before the turnoff up to St Johns.
Open daily through 9:30pm