Check me out in front of the War Remnants Museum at HCM, Vietnam taken last September 2012.
Admire the Vietnamese food from the talked about restaurant, “Nha Hang Ngon”.
And enjoy the visual treat from Ben Thanh night market’s street food.
Unfortunately, the photos that I’ve shared above are photos of food which I did not get to eat.
When I was in HCM, I was still on my Cohen diet. This meant that I only enjoyed authentic Vietnamese food through my sense of sight and smell.
What great excitement I felt when I spotted a Ba Noi’s branch along Kapitolyo, one year after during one of my early morning food drives (slash after gimmick cravings slash bakery runs).
With that, I made sure I paid a visit on my next Self-date Saturday. And so I did!
Pho and Bahn Mi: the two automatic meals that came into mind.
This shows how limited my knowledge was with regards to Vietnamese food and its language.
Doing a little bit of research, apparently “Ba Noi” means “grand mother”.
I was going to eat authentic Vietnamese food that tasted like a grand mother’s home cooking!
The menu was an interesting read. Its thickness showcased a wide assortment of Vietnamese meals which were thankfully, segmented into broad categories that were more understandable for noobs like me.
The menu was segmented into: Xa Lach + Khai Vi (Appetizer and Salad), Sup + Bun + Mi (Noodles), Ca Phe (coffee) and so much more.
Predominantly, most meals had the elements of : rice (may it be in the form of noodles, pancakes or porridge), herbs and protein (beef, chicken or shrimp).
The menu was created in a way that made ordering less-intimidating.
It had a lot of visual cues o from what was recommended by the chef (which I hope was grand mother) to step-by-step instructions on how to best enjoy your bowl of noodles or Vietnamese drip-coffee.
Since it was a Self-date Saturday, it was a struggle deciding whether to over-order (and get to taste all!) or to stick to one meal.
I, of course, over-ordered.
My first order was a “Goi” meaning “salad.”
I saw a lot of these in HCM, and so I was eager to get myself some.
I tried eating the salad in a more composed manner (as recommended) but I found myself using my hands and dipping the roll all over the sauce.
The peanut sauce complemented but did not overpower the shrimp and vermicelli.
A visit to a Vietnamese restaurant would not be complete without a hot bowl of Pho. This was a no-brainer choice for my second order.
The noodle soup was perfect as it started raining the moment I went in.
The broth was clean but flavorful. I appreciated that the waitresses were kind enough to accommodate my request of lessening the salt in the soup.
The noodles were also light and the beef was lean.
With the menu as my guide, lime went into my noodles, the bean sprouts and basil into the soup while the chili and the bean paste were on the side. (I was not so confident on my saltiness and spiciness tolerance for that night.)
These add-ons gave the soup more “character” but just like the peanut sauce, they did not overpower its original taste but enhanced it.
The salad became non existent and the bowl was wiped out clean.
The end result: the food was all gone!
I enjoyed how the meal was not too savory but equally satisfying.
The bill came and was a little bit under PHP 500.
Reasonably priced for an Authentic Vietnamese meal cooked by your Ba Noi.
What is my verdict?
- (+) Taste – clean (I amazingly did not feel dizzy after the meal, which I usually feel whenever I have chinese noodles. Perhaps this means there’s no MSG or less salt!), satisfying and “authentic”
- (+) Service – waitresses attentive and informative, all were very happy to answer to my questions and requests (such as lessening the saltiness and packing half of my noodles for take-out straight away)
- (+) Menu – friendly to Vietnamese food newbies (well-segmented and contained step-by-step instructions)
- (+/-) Ambiance – would not be a top of mind restaurant for a place for me to catch up with a friend unless we were really on a quest for some authentic Vietnamese food
- (+/-) Value for Money – reasonably priced for its serving size but may be best enjoyed with company
- (-) Parking – limited slots which may require you to double park and move your car while in the middle of your meal
Visit Ba Noi’s !
- Find them at: 12 East Capitol Drive, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig (right before Charlie’s Grind and Grill)
- Operating Hours: 11am to 12 am (Mondays to Saturdays); to 10 pm (Sundays)
- Call them at: (02) 893 7359 (for Kapitolyo branch); (02) 477 9761 (for franchise inquiries)
- Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ba-Nois/208801729247091
- Munch Punch Menu: http://www.munchpunch.com/ba-nois-kapitolyo/menu
- Other Branches: UP Town Center Branch (U.P. Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City) and Makati Branch (Ground Floor, Greenbelt Mansions, 106 Perea Street, Legaspi Village)
PS. When in Vietnam, might as well try Nhà Hàng Ngon where there is a “winning combination of street food–meets–chic colonial ambiance”
- Find them at: 160 Pasteur St, Phuong Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
- Call them at: +84 8 3827 7131
- Get to know more about them at: http://www.foodspotting.com/places/56850-nha-hang-ngon-ho-chi-minh-city