MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Ba Noi's, which serves Vietnamese cuisine, is a wonderful gem we have discovered in the midst of the hustles and bustles of Makati City. Ever since we had experienced Vietnam and had tasted their flavors, there was no turning back for us to those restaurants that served us Vietnamese delights that does not measure up, in any way, to those Phos and spring rolls we have tasted in the province. The freshness and lightness of their food continue to haunt us even up to now, roughly half a year passed already since our trip to the endearing city of Ho Chi Minh, that we still find ourselves constantly craving and wishing and searching for a restaurant in our country that could let us have an authentic experience and taste of their food once again.
It was through a recommendation by a family friend who travels around a lot that we had given this place a chance. He only has to say it tastes exactly like Vietnam in your mouth for us to say yes in an instant.
Ba Noi's is tucked in a part of Makati that you would unlikely go to if you find yourself begging for food in the middle of the day and more so if the urge surfaces in the middle of the night. But if you know about the place, you would undoubtedly travel for miles to reach it just to have an instant experience of Vietnam. Indeed my mom's friend is right! Every bite allowed us to recount the good times we had in Vietnam. Though it can never recapture the dishes in their entirety, the taste is already close to the real deal.
You can never go wrong with the usual favorites such as the Cha Gio (Php 195) and Goi Cuon (Php 195). If you happen to love fried anything, Cha Gio would be for you, but if you prefer to stick with the healthier choice, Coi Guon would help you stay faithful with your diet. Toss in an order of the Fresh Green Mango (Php 195) too to supplement the refreshing start.
The Pho Bo (Php 260) down to the spices, herbs and the meat had been replicated to perfection. It was fresh, comforting and the meat so tender and beefy, you can still taste the juice and the oil coming out from it.
Another dish worth ordering is the Ca Kho To (Php 250) which s actually deep fried catfish, simmered in rich caramel sauce. My uncle who stayed in Vietnam to study for quite a while the history of the Vietnamese people said that dishes with catfish abound in the country; looks like they are quite fond of this particular specie of fish which tickled my fancy as I always get excited with catfish.
A wide variety of dry noodles is also present in the menu. So for particular individuals who prefer their fried spring rolls be tossed in a bowl together with fresh greens and dry noodles, the Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong (Php 230) would be for them; they may skip then the Cha Gio for the appetizers as it would be redundant already if they do order it too! If you like your noodles crispy, they have the Mi Xao Don (Php 230) to satisfy the preference. It is also very apt for seafood lovers.
We had a fantastic time eating the dishes that we totally forgot we were still in Manila. Even our baby Aiden had a great time tasting the dishes (tasting because he is still not swallowing most solid foods) that we found a messy pile of rice under the table while waiting for our bill. Tsk, tsk, so bad baby! You must not waste food!
The amount that we have to pay for the dishes may be pricier than what you will find in Vietnam, but that is the price of having an authentic meal outside of the country where the particular cuisine originated. Nonetheless, we have no qualms about the price as they had been largely justified by the quality of the food and the taste. Thanks to Ba Noi's for being that slice of Vietnam in the middle of our business district, we now only need to go to it to satisfy our cravings.
(add) G/F Greenbelt Mansions, Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati City | (phone) +632 893 7359 | (facebook) /BaNoi's - Pasig Branch