Mabuhay Laguna: Finally, a decent Filipino restaurant in Kuala Lumpur

Sisig in Lechong Kawali in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
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A few weeks ago, my officemates and I went for dinner in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant, a Filipino restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was really happy that, finally, we found something we can recommend to non-Filipino friends here!

Looking for good Filipino restaurants abroad

When I first came here in Kuala Lumpur, I thought there was only Filipino restaurant in the whole city: The Narra. The Narra is popular among Filipino expats, and it’s the default hang-out venue every Friday and Saturday.

To be honest, I find the food in The Narra to be mediocre. Although it has 5-star reviews in Google from Filipinos — most of whom are nostalgic and craving for home food, I’d never personally met anyone who agrees the food is delicious. I suppose no one gives a low-rating because it may seem “unpatriotic” not to support a Filipino establishment abroad. For me though, the food here is “okay lang.” Anyway, you can argue that people come here to satisfy their cravings for sinigang and sisig regardless of quality or taste and perhaps to listen to live music too, with a familiar crowd and voices.

You might be wondering why this seems a big deal to me. When you’re living abroad as a minority, whether you are aware of it or not, you represent your home country. The Narra is the most popular Filipino restaurant in Kuala Lumpur and it basically represents Philippines cuisine to everyone else. Of course, I would hold high expectations of it.

Last time, my boss asked me to take him to a Filipino restaurant here in KL and I gave a noncommittal grunt because I didn’t want to take him there. I want to give a good impression of our food and that just won’t do — especially considering how varied and tasty Malaysian food is. If I were pressed, I would honestly just cook at home.

So anyway, several weeks ago I heard about Mabuhay Laguna. I read about it online and it seemed that it’s worth a try. My officemates and I went here on a dinner on a weekend.

Group shot in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant
Sudden craving for Filipino food with officemates. 🙂

(This is a bit impromptu and I didn’t bring my mirrorless camera, so I’m apologizing in advance for the quality of the photos.)

Mabuhay Laguna restaurant

Mabuhay Laguna restaurant can be found at the city center in Kuala Lumpur. The outdoor facade is unremarkable; it’s looks like an ordinary home eatery. Anyway, we weren’t here for the interior design but for good Filipino food.

Lechong Kawali in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur - a Filipino restaurant in Kuala Lumpur
Inside Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant.

There were only three of us in the group. We ordered sisig (a grilled dish made of pork bits, seasoned with chili and calamansi), beef kare-kare (stew with peanut sauce) and lechon kawali (crispy pork belly).

Filipino food in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

First, the sisig was better than expected. It didn’t seem to include the typical pork parts (i.e., chopped-up pig face), but it was delicious nonetheless. It was perfect paired with steamed rice

Sisig in Lechong Kawali in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Sisig.

The same goes for kare-kare. It was hearty and there were lots of leafy vegetables, which made up for our lack of veggie side dishes. It brought me back to morning trips to Aani weekend market in Taguig City with my mother, where we’d buy organic produce and Filipino ulam such as this one. See that? It already reminded me of home.

Beef kare-kare in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
(Beef) Kare-kare.

For the lechon kawali… Well, you can’t really go wrong with this item. It’s pork boiled and deep fried. The lechon kawali comes with spicy vinegar dip.

Lechong Kawali in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Lechong kawali.

We also ordered gulaman (a refreshing drink with dark jellies) and halo-halo (iced dessert with various ingredients such as fruits, beans, pearls and ice cream). The halo-halo for me was good, although it got too sweet for my taste when the ice cream melted. Perhaps next time I’ll request less sugar or eat the ice cream before mixing it with the shaved ice.

Halo-halo in Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
Traditional halo-halo.

Overall, we had a great dinner. We weren’t able to taste-test other items in the menu because we were a small party, but based on the limited items we sampled, I can tell that the food here is good.

I finally have something to recommend to people who wants to try traditional Filipino dishes in Kuala Lumpur.

About Mabuhay Laguna

Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant serves traditional Filipino fare. There are silog meals (fried rice, egg and another dish of your choice) good for 1 person or main dishes good for 2-3 persons. They also serve alcoholic drinks such as Red Horse.

It is just walking distance from Masjid Jamek station. It has another branch in Petaling Jaya.

Address: 3, Jalan Gereja, City Centre, 55000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 9AM – 2:30PM
  • Tuesday to Sunday: 9AM – 10PM

Suggested budget per person: RM15-20

You can visit them via their Facebook page here.

P.S. Here are other Filipino restaurants you can find in Kuala Lumpur.

 

Have you been to Mabuhay Laguna restaurant? How was your experience?

 

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3 Comments

  1. I agree with you that Laguna’s dishes taste way better than ‘The Narra’ not to mention Laguna is a bit cheaper as well.

    I live just across the narra still I travel (30 minutes via train) to Laguna Restaurant whenever I miss Filipino food especially when I crave for Dinuguan.

    When you visit KL next time you may want to consider reviewing / feature a new Filipino bar in changkat Bukit Bintang, Manila Bar and The Narra’s coffee shop, Calle Verde.

    More power to your blog! great job!

    1. I haven’t heard abt Manila Bar when I was there. I was supposed to visit Calle Verde but my friends kept bailing out and I don’t want to order dishes for tasting on my own haha. Hope I can go back there soon. 🙂

      1. i highly recommend Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant for Pinoys and non Pinoys who are looking quality tasty foods. After hearing Sunday mass at St. John Cathedral , Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant is my first choice although there are many eateries serving cooked foods just outside of the cathedral , but foods being serve at the Mabuhay Laguna Restau is really a big difference, taste the kare kare , lechon kawali , sigang na sugpo, relyenong bangus , pork adobo ,pancit canton and you name it . Taste is really good . I worked for EXXON MOBIL USA as a Piping and Mechanical Supt , in joint venture with SHAPADU ENERGY AND ENGINEERING with address at Campbell Building 9th Flr near SOGO DEPT, Store, So next time you are looking for sumptous lunch or dinner , Mabuhay Laguna Restaurant is the right place to dine . 2014 – 2015

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