Since coming back to Manila almost three months ago, one of our main goals has been to EAT and EXPLORE around our hometown and appreciate eateries around Manila and beyond. And we have been on track so far. Slowly but surely, we are getting our tummies busy and are ready to take it one bite at a time. This edition of EATSplorations took us to Banawe in Quezon City. For the longest time, Banawe has been known for its great number of big and small Chinese restaurants. But if you think we tried a Chinese restaurant, you are wrong. We skipped the Chinese cuisine and traded it for Vietnames cuisine. In this edition of EATSplorations, we will share with you our Tra Vinh Authentic Vietnamese Noodles EATSpeience. Wait, what? Vietnamese food in Banawe? Yes, you read that right. If you want to find out more about our first ever Vietnamese EATSperience in Banawe, you got to keep reading ‘cos here it goes, enjoy!
Before the meal, we started things off with a little bit of the restaurant’s history. Tra Vinh began in Australia from its founder, Mr. Van Chien Ho, a native of Vietnam who found his way to Australia several years ago. Mr. Ho’s creations became a big hit since the beginning until now. Michael, owner of Tra Vinh Philippines, met Mr. Ho in Australia and together they brought the flavors of Southern Vietnam to Manila.
Before all the food talk, we would like to thank one of the people we have met through Instagram, Didi of candishhh.blogspot.com, for recommending Tra Vinh to us. When Tra Vinh invited us over, she was the first person in our minds when they told us that we can invite some friends.
**WARNING: This is a LONG EATSperience. Intense food coma await**
Let’s begin the EATING with Tra Vinh’s STARTERS!
Mr. Eats: When it comes to food, size matters! Tra Vinh’s fresh spring rolls are not only huge in size but it’s also big in flavors. This by far is the biggest Vietnamese spring rolls that I have ever had. Great blend of refreshing veggies, fresh prawns and thick slices of meat. Never ever start a Vietnamese meal without this!
Mrs. Eats: I love spring rolls! Both fresh and fried. And Tra Vinh’s fresh spring rolls really impressed me. As it was huge and packed with fresh vegetables and huge prawns.Not to mention, the peanut sauce was amazing too!
Mr. Eats: Super light, refreshing and filled with great flavors. Whenever I think about Vietnamese food, I always think about the freshness and color of its ingredients. This dish is a classic! Great marriage of textures and flavors in every bite. Make sure you try putting on spoonful of it on top of the crackers and take it all in one bite and just thank me later.
Mrs. Eats: This salad can serve 3-4 people. It was big in size and it had a generous amount of the pomelo and prawns. A refreshing start to a bountiful meal. Mr.Eats is right, the combination of the salad and the crackers will make every bite heavenly!
Mr. Eats: I have never had this before but I am glad that I tried it first at Tra Vinh. I was just in awe when I saw this GIGANTIC plate of Vietnamese Pancake. I loved it even more when I saw how it was served. Everything just worked perfectly in creating vintage Vietnamese flavors in every bite. Never ever forget to dip it in the Tra Vinh sauce and ask for more if you need some more.
Mrs. Eats: It was my first time too to try a Vietnamese pancake. And I must say, my EATSperience was good. The pancake was filled with shrimp, pork and vegetables. It was wrapped in fresh greens and dipped it in their delicious Tra Vinh sauce. I enjoyed getting my hands dirty for this sumptuous pancake!
Mr. Eats: Loved both because each had their own distinct flavor. The pork variety had more character because of its strong peppery flavor. The prawn was sweeter because of its natural flavor. If you are into fried spring rolls like me, you will surely love them both!
Mrs. Eats: I enjoyed both kinds, however, my personal favorite was the prawn spring rolls. Both spring rolls were filled with ingredients and were fried well. And the Tra Vinh sauce, it made these spring rolls taste even better.
Some refreshments to quench our thirst!
The iced tea was amazing! We had like 3-4 liters as a group because it was really really good. It just had the right level of sweetness and it was super refreshing. Perfect palette cleanser after munching on lots and lots of savory dishes. The iced coffee was equally great as the iced tea. We could smell its aroma as it was approaching our table. Our picks were the strong and the light variety.
Moving on to what we really came here for… The NOODLES! 😀
Mr. Eats: This noodle soup is called special for a reason and it lived up to my expectations. The egg noodle was PERFECT. It had the stringy bite that matched well with the super light yet flavorful broth. It’s a great fusion of Vietnamese and Chinese flavors in one big bowl filled with delicious toppings. If you are more on the conservative side, you will love this!
Mrs. Eats: Among the three noodle soups that were served to us, this is my personal favorite. It was comforting and the egg noodle matches this type of soup. The porkloin slice was tender and the fish balls tasted really good. The soup was not salty and the broth really tasted like it has been well prepared. I will definitely come back for this! And have it all to myself!
Mr. Eats: This is what I came here for! Look at those beautiful raw slices of beef getting cooked in the broth. Yum yum yum! I could live on its broth alone. That’s how tasty it was. Every slurp, every bite out of the noodles and beef just gave me goosebumps. This probably is the best Vietnamese noodles I have ever had.
Mrs. Eats: This is next on my favorite list. The broth was not salty too and it indeed tasted like it has been prepared for a long time. There were 16 spices used for this broth, Tra Vinh really knows how to make superb food! Aside from the broth, the beef balls were amazingly good too!
Mr. Eats: This is the beef noodle soup’s younger brother. A bit more on the spicy side of things but it was just right for me. It tasted different from the traditional beef broth because of the taste of shrimp paste. I love the combination of toppings and how they all absorbed the beefy and spicy broth. Yum yum yum!
Mrs. Eats: It looked really spicy, but the level of spiciness was surprisingly tolerable. It had a sweet taste on my first slurp the spicy flavor started to build as I savor every sip. Devouring to all the toppings of this soup made me want to try more of it. If you want something with a kick, this is for you.
Mr. Eats: After all the noodle soup, here comes the dry bbq pork noodle! The ultimate palette cleanser. It was like a noodle and salad dish altogether. Tasted really refreshing with all the fresh veggies. The addition of the bbq pork and fried veggie spring rolls was just a cherry on top of a great dish. Must try!
Mrs. Eats: The taste was as good as how it was presented. Vibrant colors from the components. And again, everything was fresh. The Tra Vinh sauce played a huge part in making this dish worth the raving.
Finally, it’s time for DESSERT! 😀
These desserts are made for the Philippines! Iced desserts with lots of color and flavor. We enjoyed them both because they were not too sweet and it had generous amount of jellies and beans. The jelly lychee even had fresh lychee! What a way to end an incredible Vietnamese feast!
We were so happy after our Tra Vinh EATSperience! The trip to Quezon City was so worth it. The food was really really AWESOME. The owner really took his time to explain each and every dish to us. He made us understand what the restaurant and Vietnamese cuisine were all about. We can really see the energy and passion that he has for his restaurant and with enough exposure, Filipinos will surely get to appreciate Tra Vinh and Vietnamese cuisine more. That’s it for this edition of EATSplorations! Till next time!
Unit 3, 109 NS Amoranto corner Cordillera Brgy. Maharlika, Quezon City
+632 742 1718
11am to 10pm (Mon-Sun)
Budget: 500-1000 php for two
Tra Vinh just a few steps away from this spot: