Sometimes good food doesn't necessarily come with the most enchanting exteriors with bow-tied waiters and crystal chandeliers, sometimes it’s just a small stall outside the grocery area of SM where you have to eat standing up and watch tired families go by laden with their grocery items for the week.
Like this lumpia stand, offering only fresh lumpia or spring roll with two types of lumpia wrapper, the regular kind like the ones you see on a supermarket’s chiller shelf and the special kind made with crepe-like smoothness from their special batter.
With my veering away from meat products for the moment due to health reasons, this fresh find is heaven-sent. Because really, finding healthy food other than salad can be quite a challenge. Though, I have always loved lumpia or spring rolls, I find this lumpia quite a clever take on the Chinese lumpia and lumpiang ubod.
Encased in a tender and smooth crepe-like wrapper, this lumpia consists of julienned singkamas (turnips) and carrots paired with crunchy seaweed crumbs and chopped peanuts and doused with sweet-tasting syrup-like sauce. For me, it’s an enjoyable and healthy lunch feast that costs only P50.
And their sauce has two kinds of sauce too, the sweet one and the sweet and spicy kind. If you’re feeling adventurous you can combine them if you like. This combination of sweet and spicy sauces reminded me of the fishball cart sauces I used to dip my skewered fishballs in when I was younger.
I remember the fishball carts were then stationed outside schools, lined up along the streets and often surrounded by kids, waiting for their turn to spear the golden-hued fishballs inside a small cauldron. Nowadays, there are seems to be lesser fishball carts wandering the streets, most are conveniently stashed outside churches or inside malls where fishballs are dunked inside plastic cups and drowned in sauce. Yeah, I miss the good old days.
Going back, what I quite like about this lumpia or spring roll is their play on texture and flavor. You have here the smoothness of the crepe-like wrapper fused with the mild succulence of the singkamas and carrots strips. Adding to that is the slight sharpness of the seaweed crumbs and the crunchiness of the chopped peanuts, the flavors and textures are all coming together, blanketed by a sweet, mild sauce or if you like a sweet and spicy one too.
Given this healthy alternative, I’m thinking of ordering a bilao or a container filled with their special lumpia this Christmas. With all the oil-rich viands and sweaty pork loins spread on the Christmas table, I want these immaculate spring rolls to be its good and refreshing contrast. These healthy and tasty veggie-filled treats deserve to be part of the holidays too J