Going to UP Town Center in Katipunan is something my family almost never does. Fortunately, a lot of my closest friends either live or study in the area which gives me tons of excuses to explore. It took some convincing, but I finally got here with my family some time ago for a much-needed foodtrip! We had previously planned on having dinner at Mama Lou's Italian Kitchen but no surprise there, almost every restaurant in UP Town Center is packed on Sundays. So. Many. Families. We later decided to try Ba Noi's (I can't with letters with symbols.) which was recommended by a family friend. Read on to see my experience with this restaurant!
The interior is really simple but regrettably dark. Thankfully brought my Fujifilm XA-2 to compensate for the low lighting. I'd say it worked pretty well! Haha!
Been wanting to have something similar to hang in my wall. I love how personal and characteristic the photos of Vietnam on the wall are.
First up was the Goi Cuon (PHP195) which was the classic Vietnamese Spring Roll. I was surprised at how large the rolls were because it could easily be an appetizer for six. The taste was simple and clean, the vermicelli inside makes it really chewy while the peanut sauce it comes with makes it super tasty - the way any Vietnamese Spring Roll is expected to be. Perfect starter to a Vietnamese dinner.
My dad went on a roll-spree and also got the Cha Gio (PHP195) which were the fried spring rolls. Not to be mistaken for the fried version of what we just previously had. This one has all the yummy pieces of pork, taro, and many other things I can't detect. No contest, I loved these especially with the honey-vinegar dip!
Next was the Ca Kho To (PHP250) which was easily a new favorite of mine. It is deep fried catfish simmered in a rich caramel sauce. I loved the combination of salty and sweet in this dish and goes perfect with rice!
We also had this fried pork dish which I forgot to list down. :( Also a yummy dish. It's not oily at all and has a smoky taste. It's actually more on the jerky side but I really liked it! Definitely worth a try.
Ga Kho Cari Xa (PHP250) is a modified curry dish that I particularly enjoyed. With the taste of lemongrass clearly shining through, the curry is given this added depth that gives you a delayed sweet taste. So good!
No Vietnamese meal is ever complete without Pho Bo (P410 - Family size) and again. it tasted like every bowl of Pho I've had before. In this case, it's actually a good thing because Pho is supposed to taste super light with just the slightest hint of broth. The thing that gives it the most flavor is the lemongrass and the lime juice. I personally am not a big fan of the earthy taste of the fresh beansprouts. However, Pho is and always will be one of the top comfort dishes ever invented.
Overall, Ba Noi's was a great dining experience. The only sad thing is that the servings are quite small but I don't really second-guess this as the prices are well below usual restaurant entree price. I think this would be the perfect place for Vietnamese food novices to try but if you're looking for a more sophisticated version of Ba Noi's, you should try Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen which is open at Tagaytay and White Plains.
Ba Noi's is open at GF of UP Town Center, Katipunan, Quezon City and Kapitolyo, Pasig.