It all started in 2015. I just came back from my father's funeral, still very deeply emotional. Then a lot of memories started coming back to me in a much clearer way. A lot of deep memories; about who my parents truly were to me, their influences in me, the many moments of sharing their knowledge about cooking with me, and the failure of our Taste of Manila restaurant venture in 2004. Revelations, clarity and light bulb moments would arise. But also new hope. And opportunities. And the idea of redemption with a restaurant idea started popping up. It came with a name: Lumpia Mania.
I thought about opening a restaurant again. But this time, it'll all be my own decisions. If it fails, it's on me. If it succeeds, it's on me. I felt like I was zero for one in restaurants, and if I can make one succeed, at least I'd be batting .500. So I wrote a lot of ideas one night, and I decided that it was going to be lumpia that brings Filipino to mainstream America. I also wrote down my ideas about the logo, which I will share in another story. Then I remember thinking about business models.
I remember how my parents used to take us to Panda Inn Restaurant in Glendale, CA back in the 80's. They also had one in Pasadena. Everyone raved about their Orange Chicken, which was one of the three main dishes we used to order back then. The Panda Beef, Orange Chicken, and The Sweet and Pungent Shrimp. Everyone raved about their Orange Chicken, but my favorite was their Panda Beef. (If you're ever out in Pasadena, they are still there, on Foothill Blvd., and they still serve Panda Beef.) But then they opened Panda Express. One. After another. Then another. And then hundreds more. All because of the Orange Chicken. To me, it was really very awe-inspiring.
So this business model is what I envision for Lumpia Mania. But reversed, and with a twist. I want to open as many Lumpia Mania fast food restaurants everywhere. But not like Panda Express, where they have 20 dishes on a clear window. More like a Yoshinoya/Beef Bowl system, where you order, and the food is put together at that moment. And the customer's name is called, a la Starbucks. I like that personal touch. Then once we have twenty plus locations, we will look to open a sit down, fancy yet comfortable, family type, great service restaurant, called Lumpia Manila. Same logo, but with an L added to Mania. And after a few of these are established, we will open one in Manila. On Roxas Blvd near Makati and The Mall of Asia. With dishes I remember my parents made for me and my siblings, back in 1977, when I first migrated to America. By that time, hopefully within the next three years, we will have quite a few of these dishes established; Kare Kare, Beef Kaldereta, Palabok, Pancit, Bistek, and of course Dynamite Lumpias, Lumpia Burgers, and others. Just like what Panda Express/Panda Inn did.
All these ideas, written down back in 2015. And now, to make it all happen. It's all very exciting.
Robert L. Calixto, Lumpia Mania Founder and Inventor of the Lumpia Burger. Photo taken in 2015.
Lumpia Mania's Mission Statement from our Business Plan reads: To bring "lumpia" and Filipino food into the American consciousness and mainstream. I've been mulling around this idea way back since 2015, when I first put the concepts and ideas down for Lumpia Mania. I remember watching both Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods and Michael Bourdain of No Reservations back then, mention separately in their shows, that "Filipino food is the next big thing". I remember thinking then that it won't happen anytime soon. Why? Because of two reasons. One, most Filipino restaurants cater mostly only to Filipinos. (Even Jolibees) And two, whenever you go to any Filipino eatery of any kind, they serve so many various dishes that it's hard to focus on one or two dishes. And these two reasons are why I started Lumpia Mania. The only way Filipino food will become mainstream in America is if we cater to all Americans and let them love it the way they will love it. To do that, we have to "Americanize" some of our dishes. Maybe not some. Maybe just a couple, or even just one. Back in 2015, I remember thinking that it was going to be lumpia that Americans will accept like they do tacos, or pizza, or hotdogs, or hamburgers. It was never going to be pancit or adobo, which are the two most popular Filipino foods to most Americans. Lumpia, in my opinion, has surpassed their popularity. Why Lumpia? Because lumpia is a finger food, it's convenient and easy to eat, the sauces are tasty, and most of all, it's fried. Everyone loves fried foods. And most non-Filipinos who've gone to their Filipino friends' parties always remember the lumpias. I just wished they tasted lumpias like those made in the 1970s, when they were made with a lot more meat and they came in 8 inch dynamite-sized perfection. But yes, the food that most Americans will identify with when it comes to Filipino food is lumpia. It's already reached that point these days, and it's just a matter of time a Filipino restaurant chain, with a great name like Lumpia Mania, becomes a ubiquitous, nationwide, American restaurant. Wink-wink.
How does a food become American mainstream and in our American consciousness? I don't exactly know the histories of a lot of the Americanized foods I mentioned above, but I do have an experience to share that answers the question for one type of food. Here it goes..
Back in 1985, the year I graduated from high school, a friend of mine, John, asked me if I ever ate sushi before. I told him no, but I knew then that sushi meant raw fish. I was game, so he took me to a popular sushi restaurant in Japanese Town near Downtown Los Angeles. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. We ate so much sushi that the bill came out to more than $70.00. I remember very vividly when we looked through the menu, that about 95% of the items on it were sashimi, which are "raw fish" sushi. And the other 5%? A raving, growing-in-popularity Japanese sushi called The California Roll. Remember, back in 1985, Japanese food was not in all of America's consciousness yet. But fast forward about 20 years later, there are Japanese restaurants wherever you go. The difference? There are now about 25 different versions of the California Roll in their menus, and the sashimi? It's still in the menu, but most Americans order the various versions of the California Roll about 95% of the time. I can't remember the last time I ate Japanese food for the sashimi, to be honest.
So when it comes to mainstream American foods, the restaurants that are in my and my family's list to go eat out to, are: hamburgers and hotdogs (American/German), pizza and pasta (Italian), Chinese (Chinese food is mainstream all over the world) tacos (Mexican), Korean Bbq, Pho (Vietnam), Thai food, and of course Sushi (Japan), which again, is really mostly the different versions of The California Roll. Personally, I am not your typical American, and for a couple of reasons. One is that I am full-blooded Filipino, so in my list of restaurants to go to every so often, usually on weekends, is Manila Sunset, Max's Chicken, and few other local Filipino restaurants. Another reason is that where I live, in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles, there are an abundance of Asian restaurants to choose from. A lot are Chinese restaurants, because this area has a huge Chinese population, and for those who don't know, Chinese foods are incredibly diverse. From the ones I'm familiar with; Hong Kong Style, Cantonese, Szechuan, Dim Sum, Dumplings, Noodle Houses, and a few others. I would have to add, Panda Express is probably the most mainstream Chinese food in America. It's all so relative, but if you live in my area, you'll probably agree with me with my conclusions.
Another interesting example is the Dodger Dog. To me, it's basically someone saying, we should put two hotdogs in a bun, so more Americans will buy it." Then someone suggested, "It will be impossible to do that, why not just make hotdogs twice the length of a regular one?" And voila, the Dodger Dogs are the best hotdogs in America. I know Americans love oversized items, so that is one formula to become mainstream.
The irony is, the only one dish we are trying to Americanize at Lumpia Mania is the Lumpia Burger. The rest of our short menu: the Dynamite Lumpia, the Lumpia Fresh, the LM Flan, the LM Fruit Salad, and the Sweet Jelly Drink, are all recipes from my parents that go back to 1977. Our Dynamite Lumpia, with its dynamite-sized and meaty attribute, was already Americanized from the beginning. Somewhere in time it lost its way and became tiny and dry. I'm just bringing it back to its original form. Same with the LM Flan. Most flan you taste these days are bland and almost tasteless. Ours is creamy and rich, like it should be.
It's not a memo!
Ever since i can remember, both my parents have always been great cooks. My father's dad, my grandfather who died before i was born, was supposedly a decent chef. My mom, who had seven sisters, was always great in the kitchen and knew how to make almost every traditional Filipino dish. When we migrated to America between the mid to late 70''s, at the age of ten, I always helped in the kitchen. and having five siblings, of which the two eldest were girls, who also happened to love cooking, my older brother and i could never get out of helping in the kitchen. Growing up, i always felt my parent's cooking, as well as my two eldest sisters, tasted much better than most other people's cooking. I also thought maybe it was because i was just biased, but as I got older, more and more people would confirm that my parent's cooking were definitely the best around. (I still remember inviting a friend to some random house party when I was in high school, and after sampling all the dishes my parents and sisters cooked, my friend tells me, "so this is typical food you eat here? You guys live like kings!"
This would prove more evident in 2009, when we went back home to the Philippines and had somewhat of a family reunion. At a family luncheon with many cousins and relatives present, my mom made her famous Italian spaghetti. (My family missed the sugar and hotdogs in spaghetti madness, thank God, so all my siblings and I always learned from mom and dad, and made spaghetti the traditional Italian/American way, but with sautéed garlic, onions, and tomatoes with a jar of whatever marinara or spaghetti sauce, sometimes with meatballs, sometimes without.) But over the years, everyone always asks my mom to make the spaghetti for any occasion, simply because hers was always better tasting than everyone else's. Both my parents were born in 1929, they both passed in 2014 and 2016, respectively. So in 2009, at the ripe age of 80, my mom gathered the entire family present in that luncheon and said she had an announcement. At first it got everyone nervous, but she promised that it was positive. She then says, I'm gonna share with you all my secret to my spaghetti", after she had just made it. Everyone, and i mean everyone, were surprised, and honestly dumbfounded. You see, both my parents never liked to share their cooking secrets. My dad perfected his famous "Beef Caldereta" dish for years, and never quite shared the exact recipe with any of us, but that's another cooking story for another time.) So with everyone's ears perked up, my mom says, "it's Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup! I add it to the sauce and simmer for a few minutes. DON'T ADD WATER. Just mix the can into the sauce. The concentrated can will flavor your sauce with mushroom." Needless to say, we were all thankful, and in awe of its simplicity and genius. Someone asked her where she got that idea from, and she responded with, "Me! I experimented! You should always experiment. That's cooking!"
I've made spaghetti this way ever since. Thanks mom!
This story is dedicated to my parents. They taught me everything I know about cooking.
As I mentioned before, both my parents were great cooks. If you want to be a great cook, you have a be a great eater. In able for you to become a great writer, you should also try to be a great reader, and so on. Another way, is to practice, experiment, take chances, make mistakes, keep improving until you reach your goal. Do what my mom told us all to do when someone asked her where she got the idea to put Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup into her famous spaghetti: "experiment, because that's what cooking is all about". Of course, that Campbell's Soup idea came from her and hers alone, because she experimented. A lot. Yes, if you wanna be great at something, to master something, you have to practice often, trial and error, setbacks, setbacks, setbacks, and only setbacks. Failure is not an option, because you only fail when you stop trying and improving. This pretty much goes with anything in life. The old saying has never rung truer, that "if you never quit, you will eventually succeed." I will repeat that. If you never quit, you will eventually succeed. So very, very true.
Well that's what my dad showed us all in the early 80's. As I said before, I came to America in 1977. In my first few years here, it wasn't at all apparent that my dad would make the best dish I ever tasted. My dad tried and erred and experimented with a Filipino dish called the Kaldereta. (Kaldereta is basically a goat meat stew. Stewed with vegetables and liver paste. Vegetables included potatoes, bell peppers, olives, (my dad chose olives with pimientos), and spicy peppers.) My dad in those early 1980s, experimented and experimented with this dish until he mastered it, and it became the greatest Filipino dish in my family. By the time I finished high school, everyone would ask us to throw parties at my house, only so my dad can make his famous "Beef Kaldereta". it was so good that when everyone found out he was making it, they would bring their own Tupperware to the party so they can take some home. Yes, I too, partook in that old Filipino tradition. Sometimes even with just the broth of the frozen leftovers, everyone would save it and freeze it. That greasy, thick, rich, red broth, tasted so good with steamed rice. Everyone agreed, because everyone shared the same exact experience of thawing the broth, making steamed rice, and just serving it with the rice alone, when all the meat and vegetables are gone. It's funny to think how we all shared the same exact experiences with one particular dish. That's when you know it's a legendary dish. Because everyone always talked about it. I remember parties where my dad would make at least two batches, on two huge pots, just so there was enough for everyone to eat and take home. Of course, with our house parties back then, there would be close to sixty plus people present; all my siblings, six of us, would bring a lot of our friends, most of whom had been invited before and for sure came back for more of my dad's Beef Kaldereta. To describe the dish, the way my dad made it compared to the typical one to one and a half hour time to make it, my dad's Beef Kaldereta took about three hours to complete. Slow cooked, to a point the beef cubes melted into the sauce, he added a lot of liver paste, (he used canned Liverwurst), and a lot of olives with pimientos inside. And the red grease on top, about a quarter inch of grease when left sitting. Some people criticized it because it was so greasy. To us, we didn't care. It was the best dish we ever tasted. Grease and all, it was perfection.
So you'd think the story would end there. But it just doesn't. You see, with most dishes, my parents would ask us to help with the simplest tasks and preparations. Shred the coconut, julienne the vegetables, cut the whole chicken in pieces, peel and cut the potatoes, cook the rice, make the flan, mince the garlic, open the cans, so on and so on. With my dad's Beef Kaldereta, he never asked us to help him. He did all the work, almost secretly. Ok, totally secretly. I will never forget, sometime in the early 2000's, I had the audacity to ask my dad for his recipe and this was his response: "I worked hard to get this recipe, find your own dish and master it yourself!" At first, I was shocked, and thought, what a terrible attitude. (I actually thought something worse. Much worse.) Then i thought, he's right. That's his thing. I'll have to do my own thing.
Fast forward to December of 2014, I get a call one night from my brother that my dad wasn't doing well at all. He had suffered with multiple ailments the past two months and everyone thought he might not make it to the next day. My youngest brother and I take off about 10 pm from LA and we get to Vegas at about 2 am. My dad was still alive and everyone was there. About 4 am, my dad passes away. It was an emotional time. But at 84, my dad had a full life. He was a man of few words, but when he said something, it was always meaningful. I always felt my dad was always the smartest guy in the room. He didn't say much because he always kept things at peace. Something I'm learning as I get older myself.
The next day, we had a family meeting about the details of the services, etc. Everyone was thinking the same thing. Then someone finally asked everyone if dad ever shared his Beef Kaldereta recipe with anyone. Everyone shook their heads no, except my next to the oldest sister, Beth. She nods her head and says, "Yes, he gave me the recipe. Can you believe that? I was thinking, to honor dad, I was gonna make it for dinner tonight, for everyone." We all agreed, and could not wait to taste the recipe that my dad gave my sister. When we finally got to the dinner, my sister serves her Beef Kaldereta, and no one had any obvious reaction. As if to say, maybe he gave you the wrong recipe. Everyone avoided a conversation about her Beef Kaldereta. (I saw the recipe, and it only had the ingredients, not the detailed instructions like most recipes. ) The truth is, even if my dad gave very specific instructions on how to make his Beef Kaldereta, since it's not being made by him, it will never taste the same. I learned this truth back then. That his recipe was so original, and he made it so many times, that no one can really duplicate it. There are so many nuances when it comes to cooking. It's why grandma's cooking will always be better than mom's. You just can never, never ever, substitute for experience. Cooking is an art. My dad's Beef Kaldereta was an original. No one can ever duplicate it. I'm just glad I got to taste and enjoy it when I did. Someday soon, I'll make time and create my own Beef Kaldereta masterpiece.
So you'd think the story ended there. Well you'd be wrong, because it just doesn't. Since 2014, after my father died, I came back home, and chose to cook the Filipino staple Sinigang Sour Soup. Over and over and over and over again. Trial and error. Setbacks upon setbacks. Tried it in all variations; with fish, with shrimp, with beef, with pork, and finally...I came up with my own masterpiece recipe. The same one I've been making for the last couple of years. Mine is made with spare ribs, the best meat for this dish (in my opinion), and I use baby spinach as the main final vegetable. Mine has various vegetables and my very own concoction of seasonings. My kids, my very own guinea pigs, can attest to it. They've been eating all my experiments almost all their life, including the three Lumpia Mania dishes. I've also experimented often with Rib Eye Steak with Filipino Salsa, Upo with Shrimp, Bistek, Pancit, Adobo, and of course, various Lumpias. But my Sinigang Sour Soup, like my dad's Beef Kaldereta, will be legendary. (I've only made it hundreds of times!) And all these dishes will someday be available when the first Lumpia Manila opens. Hopefully sooner than later. It takes time to master an entire menu. And of course, failure is not an option.
Christmas Day, 1955. Yes, my parents married on Christmas Day. Merry Anniversary!
When I drew this plan for the logo back in 2015, I didn't think it would come out so good. I remember not having to change much from the original draft I got. I wanted the font to match the Dodgers and Disneyland fonts. What the graphics guy I went with said that the font he used was a very rare one from a program he used at the time. I loved the font because it is not an easily recognizable font. Then I sent him the US Flag to match the star, and the Philippine flag to match the yellow star on the dotted I's. And the surfboard shape, it was perfect. I've started a few businesses over the years, and Lumpia Mania by far is my favorite logo.
The original drawing.
Life comes full circle sometimes, both perfectly and poetically. On Facebook today, a memory popped up of a meme that has a picture of a coffee mug with the words “Philippines Starbucks Coffee” on it, next to a plate of pandesal, and the block letters read above and below the picture: IF YOU EVER WOKE UP TO THIS IN THE MORNING.. YOUR CHILDHOOD WAS AWESOME.
Pandesal brings back so many childhood memories for me. As a young child growing up in Manila, even before I was in school, my parents would send me to get the pandesal, almost every morning. It was a different time then. I would walk about three or four blocks to the nearby bakery, around six am, just when everyone was about to wake up, and I would buy a bag of pandesal, about a dozen inside. In the beginning, when I got to the bakery, I would watch all kinds of people ordering various kinds of bread and pastries. I loved watching all the people order various things, but most were there early for the pandesal. After going there many times, the workers started to recognize me, and since I was so young, they would always take care of me first. Two very specific memories are etched into my brain. I remember there was a time when my parents threatened to not send me to buy the pandesal anymore. Why? Because I kept eating them before I got home. I remember telling my mother once, that I don’t remember eating that much walking home. So one time they counted how much there was left, and out of the dozen I bought, I got home with just six in the bag. I had to stop eating them, since they seriously warned me they would let my older brother get them. No way! So I stopped.
Another vivid memory was the challenge of buying pandesal when it was raining. In the Philippines, there are only two seasons, wet and dry. Six months of the year, it’s hot and humid, and the other six months, tropical rains. Sometimes it would rain day and night, and for days the streets never get dry because of the rain. Quite a few times it would rain on my way to the bakery, and by the time I got home, the entire bag would be completely wet, and the morning breakfast ritual was ruined. The morning breakfast ritual, I should reveal, consisted of just the pandesal, butter, and instant coffee. I still remember my parents allowing me to drink coffee at about five years old. Probably because the ritual was more important than anything else. And I never really questioned drinking coffee at that early age, not until I got older. Like I mentioned before, it was a different time, in my opinion a better time. Sometimes my aunt would bring these white cheese wrapped in banana leaves, called “kesong puti”, and we would eat the pandesal with that. I miss that cheese a lot. Sometimes my parents would cook Filipino sausages called Longanisa, with eggs, and the full breakfast was always amazing. But in most cases, the pandesal, butter, and instant coffee with sugar and Coffee Mate, was all we needed for the morning ritual. Yes, instant coffee. I never knew any other coffee existed until I got to America. And even in those early days in the late 70’s, my parents always served instant coffee with sugar and Coffee Mate. To this day, I still do this morning breakfast ritual. But the pandesal isn’t fresh from the bakery like it was in my childhood.
Back to the meme, it’s such a wild coincidence, because I have that exact same mug in my kitchen cabinet. I’ve had it since 2008. My niece, who worked at a Starbucks in Manila, gave it to me as a going away present when I visited, and I’ve used it as part of my morning ritual ever since. How life comes full circle sometimes.
But this story isn’t about just the same mug that just happens to be in that meme from six years ago. This story is about a certain kind of pandesal, and my friend Mike Zuniga. You see, for the last seven years, since 2015, when I first thought of the concept of Lumpia Mania, I‘ve tried many different pandesals for my Lumpia Burger. And ever since then, I’ve favored a particular brand called Golden Baker pandesal. I’ve tried many others, but to me, Golden Baker was the best. They sell a dozen on a clear plastic bag at the local Asian market as well as Seafood City, a popular Filipino market chain. When we started doing popups for Lumpia Mania a couple of months ago, I had to finally decide on where to buy pandesal in bulk. I researched the Golden Baker company, but the phone number on the bag never answers, and the address is some empty strip mall office in Downey, CA. I didn’t want to buy directly at these markets, because not only are they retail price, but they also never have enough. About two months ago, I was inviting various people to a Lumpia Mania Tasting Party at my house. I still wasn’t sure which pandesal I was going to use for our Lumpia Burgers. I came across Mike Zuniga’s cell number, and I texted him. The last time I spoke with Mike was about five years ago, when we met him at his friend’s bakery near Koreatown in Los Angeles. Even though it’s been years since I personally spoke with Mike, I always knew what he was up to through his Facebook posts. It’s an amazing thing, social media. I’ve always joked that “on social media, you can reunite with someone from high school after thirty-five years, and suddenly, you’ll know everything they’re doing and every food they’re eating.” Just wacky stuff.
So Mike finally calls me back, just about a week before the tasting party, and we quickly catch up on the phone, and then he tells me that he now owns and runs his own bakery! And obviously my next question was, do you make pandesal? “Yes, I do”, was his answer. Suddenly I felt like there was some sort of providence happening with Lumpia Mania. The next day, I drove straight to Mike’s bakery, called Max and Lucy’s Bakery in North Hills, CA, with my Lumpia Mania partner, Frank. We taste Mike’s pandesal, and look at each other in amazement. After one bite I thought, “this had to be providence.” This pandesal is so good, light and fluffy, it would go perfectly with my Lumpia Burger! So we order them in bulk and Mike ended up going to our tasting party the following week. It was really great to catch up with Mike.
So here’s the grander full circle part. I’ve known Mike since 2000, when I got closely involved with the local Catholic Church in Alhambra, CA, as a parishioner and eventually a Confirmation teacher. Mike was the lead cantor there. He has an amazing voice and I often wondered why he never sang professionally. Of all the people I’ve ever come across, Mike is one of the most genuine, and most generous people ever. The biggest issue we have is that he never wants me to pay full price for the pandesal that I order from him. So the argument always ensues whenever it’s paying time. To me, that is always the best kind of argument anyone will ever have. It’s an argument out of love. And Mike has plenty of it. If you constantly have that argument with a friend, never let him or her go.
Life perfectly and poetically comes full circle because when I opened a restaurant back in 2004, called Taste of Manila in Alhambra, CA, which I co-founded with my sister and a close friend, I hired Mike as one of the managers. He was the same great guy then, and he is the same great guy now.
There’s a line in the movie “Field of Dreams” that goes, “How can you not get romantic about baseball?”
Now I'll say, “How can you not get romantic about food?”
The original "dinamita lumpia" was what I grew up with back in Old Manila. Even after migrating to Los Angeles in 1977, my parents always made these "shanghai-style" lumpias this size, without cutting them in pieces. Over the years, lumpias evolved into small, almost bite-sized, almost meatless lumpias made only with ground pork. We are bringing back the old tradition. Lumpia Mania's Dynamite Lumpias are made with our Special LM Mix, containing ground beef, various vegetables, and special seasonings all wrapped in lumpia wrapper. One will fill you up, but two more will brighten your day! We have three sauces to choose from: sweet chili sauce, vinegar sauce, and jalapeno ketchup.
So much to read about "lumpias" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumpia
I've done a lot of research on the "lumpia" phenomenon, having grown up in Manila, Philippines and tasting an unbelievable amounts and varying types of lumpias. One conclusion i have is that the word lumpia is synonymous with a wrap, or a sandwich of some sort, where you have the main item either wrapped or sandwiched by either a wrapper or bread. Our Dynamite Lumpia is deep fried with ground meat mixed with chopped vegetable accompaniments and we call it lumpia. But the "Lumpiang Sariwa" (translated as Lumpia Fresh in English) from my childhood, also wrapped with a silmilar wrapper but with a completely different main item as its filling, doesn't at all resemble the deep fried lumpias, yet it is also called a "lumpia". Even more fascinating, we have a Lumpiang Sariwa Na Hubad back home, which translates to "Lumpia Fresh and Naked", (naked because it doesn't come wrapped) which is what LM's Lumpia Fresh actually is. Yes, our Lumpia Fresh is our "fresh and naked" lumpia. It is, in my opinion, the most underrated, yet most delicious and healthiest of all lumpias in existence. If you're gonna try all our creations, the Lumpia Fresh is the best place to start. It is an an "appetizer". It is a salad. It is, in detailed description, a stir-fry mix of sauteed LM Mix and chopped shrimp, mixed with the best secret vegetables served onto Romaine Lettuce and topped with our very own sweet brown sauce with fresh garlic. It is this sauce that makes this one of the best lettuce wraps you'll ever taste, and it is why we start our menu and our day with our Lumpia Fresh!
And if you prefer a vegan version, we also make Lumpia Fresh Vegan. It's exactly like the Lumpia Fresh, but without the LM Mix and shrimp. All veggies, same great refreshing taste!
If they can make bagels into sandwiches, we can make burgers with pandesal!
Yes, we are breaking all the rules with this one, and creating a masterpiece! With our Special LM Mix as the patty, we have created our famous Lumpia Burger! Served with toasted pandesal, we are bringing the best of the Philippines and the best of America with our very own LM Mix as its patty. For condiments, we offer a touch of Jalapeno Ketchup. Pictured here is our Double Lumpia Cheeseburger. Yes, we elevated our Lumpia Burger by adding American cheese between two LM Mix patties! You may also order a Lumpia Cheeseburger as a third choice!
Lumpia Burger or Double Lumpia Cheeseburger?
Bringing back great old traditions from those tropical hot, sweaty days from my childhood in Manila, Lumpia Mania brings you our Sweet Jelly Drink. Or as we call it back home, Gulaman, which simply translates to "Jelly" Drink. With sweet syrup, this refreshingly simple concoction has a not so obvious flavoring, which fittingly represents the Philippine tropics: banana extract. As a kid, i remember ordering this drink from a local stand, and i could never figure out exactly what was in it that was so familiar. It was much later on that I found out it was just a drop of banana extract and the universe made sense all over again. We also offer a Pandan Flavored Sweet Jelly Drink!
The best refreshment drink in the world!