411st blog … ang lugaw, bow!

Rice porridge of the south east countries has been popularized by the west as congee that is the subject of misdeclaration of most people whose colonial ideas and knowledge are deeply embedded in the minds.

For the native river dwellers, known in the world as tagalogs,  congee was simply lugaw that is served with side dishes with additional ingredients such as meat, fish, and flavorings.

It is most often served as a meal on its own, especially when one is sick or recuperating from illness.

The sound of the word congee is obviously tamil while its form may have arrived probably via the countries from the west.

In asian cultures, it is kanji, kaṇhji, pakhal bhat, ganji, bor bor, juk, muay and teochew, zhōu, cháo, deythuk, chok, kayu, lúgaw, bubur or jaou.

It is also canja in portuguese and xifan in some chinese provinces.

Lugaw is often eaten with zhacai, salted duck eggs, lettuce and dace, bamboo shoots, youtiao, rousong, pickled tofu, wheat gluten, with other condiments, meat or century eggs.

In tagalog lands, the natives sometimes eat lugaw with another local delicacy that is balut, which is often times mistaken by the misinformed as originating from nearby islands. Lugaw is also eaten with plain hard boiled chicken eggs.

Other seasonings, such as white pepper and soy sauce, may be added. Grilled fish may be mixed in to provide a different texture and can also include brown rice.

Lugaw is considered to be food therapy for the sick. Ingredients can be determined by their supposed therapeutic value as well as flavor.

Congee has also been used to feed young infants with cooking time much longer than for okayu without salt or any other flavoring. Often it is mixed with steamed and deboned fish.

Congee made from other grains, such as cornmeal, millet, barley, and sorghum, are common in the northern countries where rice does not grow as well as other grains suited for a colder climate.

Bubur ayam is a favourite breakfast food, and many food vendors pass through the streets at dawn, eaten with shredded chicken meat with many condiments such as green onion, crispy fried shallot, fried soybean,youtiao or cakwe, both salty and sweet soy sauce, and sometimes it is topped with yellow chicken broth and kerupuk.

On Bali’s north coast, famously in the village called Bondalem, there is a local congee dish called mengguh, a popular local chicken and vegetable rice congee that is spicier than common bubur ayam and more similar to tinutuan, using a spice mix of onions, garlic, coriander seeds, pepper, and chili.

Okayu is the name for the type of congee eaten in Japan, which is considerably thicker than congee or lugaw produced in other cultures.

In Japan, okayu is popularly known as a food served to the ill because it is soft and easily digestible. Okayu is the tagalog lugaw that is commonly the first solid food served to Japanese infants and also major part of the Japanese diet.

It is also commonly eaten by the elderly for all races for the same reasons.

For Koreans, Juk is considered the ideal choice of food for babies, the ill or elderly, as it is easily eaten and digested. It is sold commercially by many chain stores in and is a common takeout dish.

In Laos, congee is called khao piak, literally “rice wet”. The dish will sometimes be served with chicken, quail eggs, century eggs or youtiao. In Laos, congee is usually eaten as breakfast and during the cold season.

Lugaw is similar to cantonese congee. Lúgaw is typically thicker and boiled with strips of fresh ginger and ost often it is topped with scallions and served with crispy fried garlic somewhat similar to japanese okayu.

Lúgaw can also be served with tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pork), goto (beef tripe), utak (pig’s brain), dílà (tongue), lítid (ligaments), and with calamansi, patís, and soy sauce.

Spanish-influenced arroz caldo, an anglicisation of caldo de arroz, literally “rice soup” and often thought to be a european is actually a congee that was adapted from the tastes of tagalog lugaw sold by chinese restaurants in manila during the time of the colonial settlers.

Arroz caldo is usually spiced with safflower and black pepper in place of or in addition to the more traditional ginger and scallion.

Arroz caldo is more popular among people of Ilocano heritage, although those of other provinces, such as Cebu, often eat it with the addition of prawns, olive oil, bay leaf, and sausage.

“Kenda” in Sinhalese is lugaw for breakfast, a side dish, an accessory to indigenous medical therapies, a sweet, etc.

When prepared with rice and water only, it is known as “Hal Kenda.” If salt is added to bring a much saltier taste, it is known as “Lunu Kenda.” “Lunu Kenda” is commonly used as a supplementary diet in purgation therapy in indigenous medical traditions.

If roasted rice is used in “Kenda” preparation, such congee becomes “Bendi Hal Kenda” utilized to treat diarrheal diseases. If rice flour and coconut milk are the main ingredients, such congee is known as “Kiriya.” If finger millet flour and water is used, it is known as “Kurakkan Anama.”

Moreover, if coconut milk is added to it, then it is “Kurakkan Kenda.” If sago used, such congee is known as “Sawu Kenda.”

A special type of congee prepared from the by-product of coconut oil produce, is known as “Pol Kiri Kenda.” If herbs used as an ingredient, such congee is known as “Kola Kenda.”


There are many varieties of “Kola Kenda” depending on the herb used. Sometimes, a “Vaidya” or “Veda Mahttaya” (a physician trained in indigenous medical traditions) might prescribe an special type of “Kola Kenda”, in this situation it is known as “Behet Kenda.”

The Sinhala villagers use specific tubers for preparing congee, such as Diascorea species tubers.

If “Kitul” flour is mixed with boiling water and coconut milk added to it, this special type of congee is known as “Kitul Piti Kenda.” Sometimes, “Kenda” is prepared with mung bean and it is known as “Mung Eta Kenda.”

Most of the time, “Kiriya”, “Kurakkan Kenda”, “Sawu Kenda”, “Pol Kiri Kenda” and “Kitul Piti Kenda” are used as sweets. Sugar, candy, dates, raisins, cashew nut, jaggery, treacle, etc. are added to sweeten these congees.

“Kola Kenda” plays an important role in the lives of the village people and with the raised awareness of health benefits of “Kola Kenda”, increasing number of upper-class people tend to consume “Kola Kenda.”

It is also eaten by Sri Lankan Moors for iftar during Ramadan.

It is also occasionally made with oats. Tamils and Moors in Sri Lanka call it aarisi kanji (rice kanji) and use chicken or beef for it. It is sometimes made with milk (paal kanji), and there are many other combinations with appropriate prefixes in Tamil.

In Taiwan, congee is prepared in the same way as in Fujian Province, China, and consists of rice and water, with few other ingredients.

Sweet potato is often added for taste, and eggs are sometimes beaten into it to thicken it to a gruel.In Thai cuisine, rice congee, known as chok, a loanword from the Min nan Chinese languages), is often served as breakfast with a raw or partially cooked egg added.

Minced pork or beef and chopped spring onions are usually added, and the dish is optionally topped with a small version of youtiao (called pathongko in Thai), fried garlic, slivered ginger, and spicy pickles such as pickled radish.

Although it is more popular as a breakfast dish, many stores specializing in congee sell it throughout the day. Variations in the meat and toppings are also frequently found. It is especially popular during Thailand’s cool season.

Plain rice lugaw known as khao tom kui for thais and is often eaten at specialized restaurants which serve a multitude of side dishes to go with it, such as yam kun chiang, a Thai salad made with sliced dried Chinese sausages, mu phalo or pork stewed in soy sauce and five-spice powder), and mu nam liap which is minced pork fried with chopped Chinese olives.

In Vietnam, rice congee is cháo that is sometimes cooked with pandan leaves or Asian mung bean. In its simplest form it is known as cháo hoa, a food for times of famine and hardship to stretch the rice ration.

Especially common among Buddhist monks, nuns and lay people, it can be a simple breakfast food eaten with pickled vegetables or fermented tofu (chao).

One obvious origin of rice porridge or congee or any given name, the fact is that the dish which is originally lugaw of the river dwellers, can only be abundance of rice if the islands of the far east.

… pupunta ako sa barberuhan para patunayan kung ano talaga ang itsura ng barbero pero napunta ako sa lugawan, at kung malaman kong masama ang itsura, hindi na ako maniniwala sa mga movie propaganda kapara ng political brainwashing na nakikita’t naririnig ko sa mga taong hibi’t hipon na alang magawa kundi paiyakin ang balanang patuloy na humihikbi ng pagbabago …

pero wala na, naglaho na siyang parang bula! … heheheh!
a friend once said – we are meeting again on September 19, 2:30pm at McDo near Hypermarket. Lapit sa inyo! Hope to see you there – but he was not there!