Saturday, October 25, 2014

Authentic Vietnamese Dining at Ba Noi's in Kapitolyo

Ba Noi's is a casual dining restaurant in Kapitolyo, Pasig specializing in Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese cuisine is not new to many Filipinos, in fact, a number of Vietnamese restaurants has been around even before Ba Noi's opened its first branch in 2009 on Perea Street, Legazpi Village, Makati. So what makes Ba Noi's different from other Vietnamese restaurants in Metro Manila?

MORE: Best Restaurants in Kapitolyo 2014

Bà Nội is a Vietnamese term refering to your grandmother on your father's side

Vietnamese cuisine is generally considered fresh and healthy. Most Vietnamese dishes use fresh herbs and vegetables as main ingredient. Exept for a few fried dishes, Vietnamese cuisine uses very little oil in cooking. Flavors are well balanced in Vietnamese cooking, no single spice or aromatic dominates the taste of a dish.

Ba Noi's menu is divided into seven groups: appetizers & salads, cold noodles, noodle soups, main entree, vegetarian dishes, banh mi sandwiches, and desserts. Recipes were developed by a Vietnamese chef for Ba Noi's and that same recipe is still being used until today. Ba Noi's Head Chef Bert Velasco explains that they strictly follow their recipe to maintain the consistency and authenticity of the taste of their dishes.

Unlike other Asian cuisines like Thai and Malay, Vietnamese cuisine needs no adjustment to suit the Filipino palate. Because of the simplicity of its flavors, Vietnamese cuisine easily appeals to everyone, regardless of nationality. But everyone of us has our own preference to taste, here is where condiments like chopped chilis, lemon, sriracha sauce and soybean paste will come in. Let's take a look at some of dishes that Ba Noi's offer.

Chả Giò (fried spring roll) is a classic Vietnamese appetizer made of ground pork, shrimp, taro and black fungus, then wrapped in rice paper, and deep fried until golden brown and crispy. It is then served with fresh lettuce, sweet basil, and Nước Mắm (traditional Vietnamese fish dipping sauce). Edgar ate this by itself but I prefer the rolls wrapped in lettuce and sweet basil and dipped in Nuoc Mam. I like the texture contrast of the lettuce and the crispy shell of the rolls. The sweet-salty-and-sour flavor of Nuoc Mam adds a refreshing aftertaste to this appetizer.

Cha Gio with Fresh Greens and Nuoc Mam Cham

Bún Cà Ri Gà is a dry rice noodle dish topped with Ca Ri Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Curry) and sweet potatoes and served with Nướng Chấm (traditional Vietnamese fish dipping sauce). The chicken was very tender while the curry sauce was creamy and not spicy at all. The rice noodles absorbed some of the curry sauce making them equally tasty. A truly unique dish that can only be found at Ba Noi's. It's definitely one of the reasons to revisit the restaurant.

Bun Ca Ri Ga

Bún Chả Giò Thịt Nướng is another dry noodle dish topped with Cha Gio (fried spring rolls), the same rolls which Ba Noi's serves as an appetizer, and Thit Nuong (grilled pork), shredded lettuce, pickled vegetables (carrots and singkamas) and toasted peanuts. It is then served with Nước Mắm (traditional Vietnamese fish dipping sauce) on the side. This dish can be eaten by itself, or by pouring the Nuoc Mam into the dish and mixing it like a salad. I prefer this dish with the sauce as it helps bind together all the flavors. The high quality of the spring rolls and the grilled pork make this a leveled-up version. Ba Noi's version of this dish is the best one I tasted so far.

Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong

Phở Bò Kho is a noodle soup dish using Bánh Phở (a thicker type of rice noodles) and Bò Kho (beef stew) as the base flavor of the soup. It had chunks of beef in it and is topped with carrots and spring onions. Ba Noi's version has a thicker sauce and not as oily as compared to the same dish offered by most Vietnamese restaurants. The chucks of beef are also bigger. Some prefer adding lime juice, bean sprouts and fresh herbs to this dish. I prefer this noodle soup dish by itself without any condiments.

Pho Bo Kho

Bánh Mì or more commonly known as Vietnamese baguette, is softer and has a thinner crust, making it easier to the bite, compared to French baguette. Ba Noi's serve the Banh Mi with a side of home-made liver pate and whipped butter, and may also be ordered with gralic butter. Banh Mi are baked fresh everyday at the restaurant, and if you want freshly baked Banh Mi at home, you can also buy frozen par-baked versions of the Banh Mi, which you can finish baking at home. Ba Noi's also supplies hotels and restaurants with their baguettes.

Ba Noi's accepts advance order of freshly baked baguettes and garlic baguettes in half dozen increments. Just call them at 477-9761 or 0923-5158242 to place your order 24-hours before pick-up.

Banh Mi served with Pate and Whipped Butter

Bánh Mì Thăn Bò (Beef Tenderloin Baguette) is a sandwich using a banh mi filled with roasted beef tenderloin (than bo) with liver pate, soy chili sauce, slices of cucumber, white onions, pickled vegetables (carrots and singkamas), fresh sweet basil and seasoned with sriracha sauce and mayonnaise. The liver pate added more depth into the flavor while the pickled vegetables added a refreshing taste that tones down the savory taste of the beef. The sweet basil added a fragrant aftertaste to the sandwich that we really enjoyed.

Banh Mi Than Bo

Bánh Da Lợn is a classic Vietnamese dessert. Banh literally means cake. This pandan rice cake has the same consistency as the Filipino kutchinta. Banh Da Lon is then drizzled with thick coconut cream and toasted sesame seeds. I liked it because it is not too sweet, and I love the rich flavor of the coconut cream.

Banh Da Lon

Cà Phê Nóng is commonly known as Vietnamese Coffee. Vietnamese-grown coffee has a distinct flavor which differentiates it from other coffee beans. It is traditionally brewed using a French drip filter. Sweetened condensed milk is then stirred into the brewed coffee. I love Vietnamese coffee and it's the perfect way to end our meal at Ba Noi's.

Ca Phe Nong

Overall, Ba Noi's dishes are richer in taste and the flavors are more fullbodied. They are generous in using high quality ingredients which results to fresher, more delectable tasting dishes. Ba Noi's has definitely elevated our standards for Vietnamese cuisine.

Ba Noi's Kapitolyo
12 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:00am to 12:00am; Sunday 11:00am to 10:00pm
Contact Number: 477-9761; 0923-5158242
IG/Twitter: @BaNoisKitchen
Other Branches: Tropical Palms Condo in Makati & UP Town Center in Katipunan QC

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