Just by the name itself, Chef Lau’s Pugon Roasters, vegetable dishes would be the last thing on your mind. And yes, they do offer excellent roasted dishes but I decided to shift my focus on their side dishes, the vegetables, which unbelievably starts at ₱23!
What can ₱23 buy you these days? If it’s food, certainly not much and possibly not very good. But in Chef Lau’s Pugon Roasters, that’s good enough to get you a half-sized order of their vegetable side dishes! The full-sized order is an even more value for money at ₱35! At that price, anyone would be skeptical, so I gave it a try.
I stumbled upon Chef Lau’s vegetable side dishes by chance, mainly because of my Meatless Monday practice. Consciously eating meatless dishes, even for just a day a week, is proving to be quite a challenge! I’m not really a strict vegetarian as I include eggs and dairy, also considering seafood on the “extreme” side when options are limited, with my definition of “meatless” but I find it difficult, what more for strict vegans in Metro Manila? Anyway, Chef Lau is one of the places I least expected to find “meatless” dishes.
It started when I decided to pair my meal with a vegetable side dish. At ₱35 for a full-sized order, it’s very affordable so I decided to give it a try. I started with their stir fried vegetables, and the rest is history. I really loved how simple yet good their stir fry is! The vegetables are very crunchy, and the sauce is pretty good. I thought that a serving of their sides is enough for a meal, particularly those watching their diet.
The next one I tried was their ensaladang talong (eggplant salad). Since it’s a bit foreign to me, I decided to try just the half-sized serving. The half-sized serving isn’t really half of the full-sized order and with the minimal price difference, I suggest you only go half for tasting. Going back to the salad, I find it really interesting. I admit, its taste is really something new to my palate and grew to appreciate it as I ate it. You could probably say it’s an acquired taste, but it’s really interesting.
The most recent one I’ve tried is their vegetable adobo. As expected, it has string beans but I was surprised that it’s practically their stir fry with a different sauce. It still is good though, but yeah, it’s practically the stir fry without the carrots and tomatoes. With an adobo sauce.
Chef Lau’s Pugon Roasters is a relief for me whenever I want to eat good “meatless” dishes without breaking the bank. Usually I get two side dishes and a cup of rice and I’m set! A good meal for under ₱100 in the center of the country’s financial district (I usually eat in their Ayala Triangle branch) is unimaginable! It’s interesting that these days vegetable dishes are more expensive than meat ones so I really liked that Chef Lau broke that norm and offered their vegetable side dishes at unbelievably low prices! While I’m uncertain if these dishes are for acceptable for strict vegans (as they may be cooked alongside meat), it can at least address the need of those like me looking for affordable but good “meatless” dishes. Thank you, Chef Lau! 🙂
Erratum: My bad, the half order of side dishes is just ₱23 and not ₱28 as originally posted.