Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant

DID YOU KNOW that in Vietnam, you can’t eat your food and then leave your chopsticks lying vertically over your bowl (or plate) of rice or noodles when you’re done?

Did you know too, that doing the same in China would contract-in-displeasure the eyebrows of the residents as it is how they position their incense sticks whenever present in ceremonies honoring the dead, or burying them?

Or something like that. I’m not too sure.

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A small bowl of PHO BO at Pho 88. It’s a Vietnamese rice noodle soup with fragrant herb leaves served separately with calamansi, and beef meat. 

Did you know further that if you don’t want to get in trouble with any of your Vietnamese friends (perhaps I should try one day just to make sure), then you must call to mind not to tap your chopsticks on your bowl for it will bring misfortune, and it means you’re convoking the dead?

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I HAVE TO GET ME ONE OF THESE. Tuong Ot Sriracha, or rooster sauce in Vietnam, actually originated from Thailand.  It’s made of “chili, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar,potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite and xanthan gum.

It is really our own eating beliefs and traditions that matter. But of course, it wouldn’t hurt to observe and do as they do, right? When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Vietnam, do as the Vietnamese people do.

The reason I had to remember what I learned about the eating culture of the people of Vietnam was because I was with some friends in this new restaurant called Pho 88 along J. Rizal Avenue the other day.

Sometimes I have that habit of tapping my chopsticks lightly on the bowl when I’m talking about something passionately. But not always.

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Ha Chi Lhan, the pretty owner of Pho 88. The place does not seek attention where it is located so, one has to be really on the alert.

Pho 88 is Pho 88, according to owner Ha Chi Lhan, because 1988 was the year she started to work in a bank in the coastal city of Nha Trang in Khánh Hòa, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam.

It was her Filipino husband, who brought her to open Pho 88 after residing for a while in Silang, Cavite. The husband was not there to meet with us, but whoever he is, it’s good decision to bring Ha Chi Lhan to move to this city.

Another restaurant that serves real Vietnamese food is good news to me although in Puerto Princesa, there are about two I really love to visit once in a while. One is located in Barangay Sta. Lourdes, the other is in Barangay San Jose — quite far from where I live.

I wanted to order Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup) since its photo on the resto’s simple menu looked steamy and pretty with the chicken meat all lined up on one side, herbs on top of them, and a slice of chili.

But it wasn’t available; the kitchen staff apparently forgot to buy chicken from the market that day.

I don’t know. Tsk!

An old Vietnamese friend, who came to Palawan a few years ago as one of the boat people, told me that you can gauge the goodness of a Pho by the intensity of the flavor that’s rustled up in the stock while maintaining its clarity.

I wanted to prove. Unfortunately…

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This popular Vietnamese dish is not heavy in the belly so, go for it when you’re in Puerto Princesa.

Every time I go to a new Vietnamese place, I like comparing how each cook their Pho. This is the reason why I wanted the Pho Ga. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the Bun Thit Nuong cold noodles upon learning from Ha Chi Lhan that the noodles they used were imported.

Except for the meat and some spices that can easily be bought from the public market, all their ingredients are imported from Vietnam.

The food junkie in me couldn’t help but also order Banh Mi Thit Heo, bread with pork and veggies inside. Bahn Mi is all kinds of bread to the Vietnamese; bahn is bread and mi is wheat. Popular to them is the baguette or French bread.

So, if you’re in an authentic Vietnamese dining place, and you ask to be given Bahn Mi, and the food attendant asks you next what kind you would like to have, then you’ll know they can give it to you with different fillings. Pulled pork, fried or grilled chicken, barbecued pork, beef, and yes, even crazy tuna spread.

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VIETNAMESE ICE COFFEE: On Pho 88’s menu, they come in two blends — Cafe Sua and Cafe Sai Gon.

After our good and light meal, we couldn’t leave as there were still good stories to tell and laugh about. So, one of us decided to try Pho 88’s two ice coffee blends — Cafe Sua that uses the traditional French coffee drip, and Cafe Sai Gon.

Both blends use coarsely ground dark roast coffee, and they’re so good!

So, what sets apart Vietnamese cuisine from the rest of the others in Asia? For me, I think its really the amalgamation of spices, colors, love and passion of cooking, fresh ingredients, and the minimal employment of oil.

Isn’t it that Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest in the planet?

We went to Pho 88 at past 12 noon, and left around 3 p.m. because Wednesday is WOW date for all of us. WOW meaning Women of Wednesday.

I’m going back there for my Sriracha sauce.

Pho 88 is okay with reservation. Call them at 09271521706 and 09279378729.

 

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L Element Asian Fusion Cuisine

Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.- B. Frankel

THERE’S A NEW dining place in Puerto Princesa that serves authentic Asian fusion cuisines, and it’s called L Element Bar & Seafood Restaurant owned by Manila businessman  Laurence Lau.

Laurence is a Filipino entrepreneur, whose mother is Malaysian. He was born in the Philippines, but grew up in Hong Kong. Yes, three countries that love to cook, and are food capitals in the world’s largest and most populous continent.

So, why not a restaurant that serves traditional dishes from these three countries, and maybe more like Vietnam and Taiwan.

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SEAFOOD TOFU SOUP

In this city, and I could probably say anywhere else in Palawan, there is simply nowhere to go when it comes to your favorite bona fide Asian fares. Most times, your Chinese stir-fried noodles is frustrating for the reason that the restaurant where you had it couldn’t cook it the way you wanted it cooked.

At L Element, you have to try the Taiwanese Beef Noodle with Barbecue Sauce because it is simply the best. The noodles are not mushy and oily, and the chef was generous enough not to scrimp on the beef meat as one of the main ingredients.

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BEEF IN BLACK PEPPER SAUCE

Another dish I enjoyed so much at L Element in the three times I had been there so far, is the Beef in Black Pepper Sauce. Three times there, three times ordered the same dish because the meat was tender, and the bite of the black pepper sauce on your palate is really habit-forming.

It’s beyond explanation why I love it.

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VIETNAMESE FRIED SPRING ROLL

Another best-loved Asian cuisine there is from Vietnam, the Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls that is pleasingly crispy outside and firm on the inside. One of the restaurants in Puerto Princesa that serves this really good is located in Sta. Lourdes.

So, it’s nice that when you don’t have a lot of time to travel far, there’s a place nearby that offers it on its menu.

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CRISPY & JUICE FRIED CHICKEN

The photos of the food I posted here are those I have already tried at L Element. If you get the chance to see its menu, you’ll find that there are more to choose from. I, myself, have to try the recipe the chef has for crabs as I am also very fond of crustaceans.

Next time!

However, the Beef in Black Pepper Sauce… I wouldn’t be raving about it if it’s not a dish that more than satisfied me.

If you’re planning to visit Puerto Princesa soon, and you’re looking for a place with Asian fusion cuisines that are flavorful and easy on the pocket, then don’t miss L Element Bar & Seafood Restaurant.

Berjaya Hills, Bukit Tinggi

An hour’s ride from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is Berjaya Hills, Bukit Tinggi in Pahang rising some 2,500 feet above sea level. It’s the closest one, who has never been to France, can get to experience a little bit of the lifestyle of the French people.

Colmar Tropicale, located in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang, is a replica of a collection of buildings from a north-eastern village in France dating back to the 16th Century. The French themed resort was opened in July 2000. It’s surrounded by tropical forest land.

The theme hotel is made up of eight blocks of architectural wonder, each with its unique style, from its colourful roof tiles to cobblestone ground. The hotel has several outlets, where you can dine in the French way. Central to the village is Colmar Square where the aroma of the blooms will tantalise your senses. There are fountains and park benches in the square for relaxation after a hard day’s work browsing in the 17 theme shops, or should one wish to take a breather from participating in the various activities. The drawbridge reminiscent of ancient castles, clock tower with an original cuckoo bird clock, and the viewing tower complements the ambience.

That’s according to Wikipedia 🙂 I had to Google because when I was there, there was no chance to talk to someone and ask how it came to be without disturbing the need for me to take photos everywhere I turn.

The place is so wonderful!

The Right to Food is a Human Right

I’ve been cleaning my external drive since this morning; I wanted to delete photo files that I do not think I need anymore so I can save space.

Then I found these 🙂

The Adobo sa Gata is basically adobo with coconut milk added to enrich its taste, and long green chili pepper for some medium hot goodness. It’s one of my favorites at The Gypsy’s Lair here in my place. Adobo is cooking pork meat (or chicken and beef) in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic with ground pepper. It got its name from the Spanish conquistadors, but the cooking process is entirely indigenous to the Philippines.

Adobo is a favorite Filipino dish in all parties — birthdays, weddings, baptisms, etcetera. It’s also a favorite easy-to-cook item of food that’s very good with rice. Some like to cook it dry, some like it with a bit of sauce to put on their rice.

Iced biko, on the other hand, is putting ice cream on top of the sticky rice dessert that is popular among Filipinos. When it melts, and its taste blends with the biko, it’s so good!

Biko is easy to make. One only needs malagkit (sticky or glutinous rice), gata ng buko (coconut milk or cream), and brown sugar.

The other one’s Chao Long (stewed rice noodles), a Vietnamese recipe that’s also popular in Palawan. It’s served with mint leaves, bean sprouts, chili-garlic oil, and very good with garlic French bread.

I have to practice my right to food. I’m thinking Chao Long… 🙂

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

THERE’S STILL A lot of rain going on outside, and I am here just sitting in front of my desktop not knowing what to do first. I’ve read all the news at Yahoo.com, Inquirer.net, Foxnews.com, and yet, there is nothing coming in. I have a long list of THINGS TO DO and I don’t even know where it came from or what brought it about.

All I know is that I just got back from Bataraza, and my trip there was really something I would not forget. Venice and the girls who came with me and manang Jane were hilarious the whole time.

Here’s some of the photos from that trip; they’re all straight out of the camera 🙂

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Taquito Salad

Taquitos Salad

Taquito Salad @ Skybox Good Food, Good Times!
1/8 sec at F5.6 // 52mm // ISO 200 // Canon EOS 7D // Did not fire flash

Here’s what I had for lunch today at Skybox Good Food, Good Times — a Taquito Salad.

You’re looking at shredded organic greens topped with hand-rolled corn tortillas, savory ground beef, tomato salsa, cheese and garlic dressing… and showered with more cheese!

Can’t ask for more on a busy Monday, uy!