One rainy afternoon, as my friend and I drove around Manila, we started talking about the best meal to have during a gloomy day. While we both agreed that a hearty soup was the best thing to consume, our opinions on the differences between lugaw, arroz caldo, and goto are what set us apart.
A huge debate that centered around what makes the three rice porridges different ensued. Voices were raised, goto houses were googled, threats of driving to Lugawan sa Tejeros were made, and relatives were compelled to give up goto lugaw recipes until, ultimately, a white flag was raised and both parties conceded to let the matter rest.
That is until today, the day this article will set the record straight once and for all. In this feature, we break down what makes each of these soups distinct from one another, why they’re perfect for the Ber months, and how to store them properly.
There is a common misconception that the English translation of lugaw is congee. This is disproved because congee has a silky texture and clean flavor, whereas lugaw has a thick consistency and refreshing flavor.
The ingredients of lugaw are what give it that mild flavor that can pack a punch. To create an aromatic soup, you’ll need to add rice and stock to your sauteed ginger and garlic. Your fragrant base is then seasoned with a splash of patis and served with fried garlic, green onions, and boiled egg.
If you’ve made too much lugaw and are looking to store it, make sure to separate all the toppings. When you’re heating this dish up, you might need to adjust its thickness to your liking by adding a bit of water to it.
The satisfying and clean taste of this soup makes for a buildable base and an excellent start to your day. Because let’s face it, what is lugaw if not a hearty and comforting start to things?
When beef offals are added to lugaw, it becomes goto lugaw. Goto is an indulgent rice porridge that can be a filling start to your cold days.
Beef tripe is the most common ingredient for goto, but some vendors choose to add other types of offals like heart, intestines, skin, and eyes. To balance out the broth’s richness, fried garlic, fresh scallions, and black pepper are added on top.
This flavorful soup can easily be kept in an airtight container and frozen for up to three months.
The third soup in the lineup is arroz caldo or “rice broth” in English. It’s the easiest to pick out of the lineup because of its yellowish tinge derived from safflower.
When it comes to arroz caldo vs lugaw, the flavor advantage arroz caldo has lies in its chicken stock base, which makes for a richer soup. This soup is usually served with chopped scallions, a hard-boiled egg, and a heaping serving of shredded chicken.
This chicken soup makes for a soul-satisfying pick-me-up for your gloomy Ber month afternoons. You can also make it in big batches and store it in your freezer, just make sure to have some chicken stock on-hand for whenever you need to heat some up.
The Filipino version of the classic chicken noodle soup is the last on our list. Contrary to the three types of rice porridge listed above, sopas uses elbow macaroni as its carbohydrate.
A creamy recipe for sopas calls for carrots, celery, chicken, cabbage, elbow macaroni, and evaporated milk. It makes for a full meal with its generous portions of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Having this loaded soup for breakfast will keep you stuffed until lunch.
While this soup is easy to make, it can be quite tricky to store because you’ll need to strain out the macaroni, so it doesn’t absorb all the creamy broth.
Above, we’ve listed down four soups and what makes each of them unique, the best time to consume them, and some fun facts like what’s lugaw in English. Any of these broths are a perfect weapon to combat the cold weather brought by the Ber months.
The best part? You can prepare any of these in advance and store them in your fridge or freezer. Not only will these keep for a long time, but you’ll also have a quick fix for whenever you need a quick and hot meal.
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Tash is often thinking of her next meal while palpitating over coffee. Legend has it that if you talk to her about food and bring her on a hike, you'll have her friendship forever.