Related Post: Bawai, The Best Home Made Vietnamese I’ve Ever Tasted

Ba Noi’s is creating a buzz in the foodie community because it is probably the closest to authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Manila. It is authentic in terms of the imported ingredients used, their chef (who is Vietnamese) (it is confirmed that the pinoy chefs are the one cooking already), and the taste (which is yummy indeed). Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen in Tagaytay is still the best — for me, nothing can compare to their beef pho so far, but Ba Noi beats them in terms of accessibility.

In Vietnamese, “Bawai” means grandmother on the mother’s side, while “Ba Noi” refers to the grandmother on the father’s side. How coincidental could it be that two of the most authentic Vietnamese restaurants around are named after grandmothers?

I like Ba Noi’s attention to the branding details, which include a cool brand logonice restaurant facade, and good menu design (net food prices are included). It also has a unique educational table top on how to truly enjoy Vietnamese food, complete with photos (see above). For example, to enjoy the Shrimp and Pomelo Salad, you have to combine the shrimp cracker (as base) with all the different ingredients on top, including the sweet chili patis.

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The downside of the place is that the acoustics are really bad — I could literally listen to the conversations of the next table even if I tried to force myself not to eavesdrop. The cemented walls give it an aura of a hole-in-the-wall, but they also produce that chitter-chatter sound when everyone is talking. The waiters are lax and in black — a sign of bad luck for the Chinese (because they seem like they’re wearing funeral clothes, thus, giving bad energy to the restaurant). Why not use red instead, which is the color of Ba Noi’s anyway?

Ba Noi’s Menu:
Cover | Salad & Appetizers | Noodles | Beef & Pork | Chicken & Seafood | Vegetables & Rice | Dessert, Fresh Fruit Shake & Juices | Drinks, Coffee & Tea



Shrimp & Pomelo Salad (P175

Minnie Puno was the one who told us about Ba Noi’s, so we had high expectations. We ordered all our favorite Vietnamese food that we truly enjoyed at Bawai’s. With the first serving of Shrimp & Pomelo salad, we were already convinced of the resto’s yumminess. All the ingredients were prepared right — the lettuce and shrimps tasted fresh, the pomelo had the right kind of sweetness, the crackers had the right crispness, and the sweet patis was so good we were tempted to lick the plate clean.

Fresh Spring Roll (P165).

The wrap of the spring roll was a bit loose, so the ingredients inside wiggled a bit when we dipped the roll in the peanut sauce. The sauce was sweet, slightly diluted, and had little chunks of real peanuts. Overall, it tasted the same as Bawai’s but presented in an amateurish way.

Beef Noodle Soup (P225).

The beef pho met our expectations and had the right beef broth-y taste. It was full of flavor, but still light. However, it was delivered warm. It would have been nicer if it was hot. Bawai’s still has the best Beef Pho — but Ba Noi’s comes close.

I liked the educational table top that explains how to best enjoy pho:

First, you squeeze the lime on the noodles. Then, add the basil and bean sprouts. Sprinkle the fresh chili, depending on your taste. Lastly, add the black bean paste served in mini bowls. (We almost forgot the last step, if not for the table top.)

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken (P205).

This is dihya Joshua’s favorite. 🙂 The marinade penetrated through every part of the chicken, which is probably why even a toddler would like it so much. Joshua is a bit picky with food, but his palate knows what good food tastes like (as I would like to believe 🙂 ). My little boy ate most of the chicken — even if we liked it as much as he did.

Stir-fried Honey Spiced Beef with Fried Basil (P310).

This is the most expensive dish we ordered and our favorite in Ba Noi’s. 🙂 The beef cubes tasted like salpicao without the oil. I love how the Vietnamese have an extra step in enjoying their dish, such as wrapping the meat in basil and dipping it in a bit of pepper and salt with a dash of lemon. The fried basil was crisp and not oily at all. We loved it!

We love hanging out with Joshua because he is cute as ever. He enjoys having his photograph taken and likes to look at his pictures in the camera after. He always loves to hang out with his ahiya. 

Vietnamese Hot Coffee (P85).

We liked the Vietnamese coffee with its drip filter set-up and the condensed milk. Aidan wanted to help in mixing it and ended up eating the condensed milk on its own. Sadly, the coffee was served warm. By the time we mixed the milk in, our drink was already at room temperature.

Overall, Ba Noi easily beats all the pretentious Vietnamese restaurants in the Metro. I don’t mind the amateur staff and the amateur service because it really was supposed to be a hole-in-the-wall kind of set-up. I’m happy that I can now get my Vietnamese fix without having to go all the way to Tagaytay. 🙂

Ba Noi’s. The Fresh Flavors of Vietnam
G/F Greenbelt Mansions
106 Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati
Monday-Saturday 11am-9pm

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P.S. For Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen-lovers out there, check out Ba Noi’s and let me know what you think…