It’s way off the main road and open only for lunch and dinner three days of the week. But the gathering buzz on Bawai’s is proof that good news do travel fast. To paraphrase Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams”, if you cook good food, they will come. And visitors do hie off all the way here to dine. We visited one hot Sunday afternoon as part of a small contingent of Summit Ridge’s Tagaytay weekend getaway.
The location is actually in Silang, Cavite. To get there from the ridge, we head back to the rotonda and make a turn near the Aguinaldo highway and head through a smaller road, passing through hilly terrain planted to pineapple. We take another turn on a smaller road and stopped at a non-descript, two-storey house that looked nothing like a restaurant.
Coming in, we espy a garden at the back where an alfresco dining area beckoned under the shade of trees and a profusion of plants. We were ushered to the upstairs dining area instead, greeted by the pleasant aroma of something delicious simmering. The place feels more like a home than a restaurant, The dining area isn’t much bigger than those found in other ancestral houses, with several tables that can accommodate no more than a dozen diners at any one time. Well, the diners ahead of us seemed to be in a jovial mood — always a good omen in any eating place.
Cold Cuts Combo Banh Mi (P75)
Angeles City may be a chartered city independent of Pampanga since the 60s but it still shares the Kapampangan flair for cooking up delicious fare and perhaps more importantly, a contagious appetite for joyful eating. It’s a tall order to live down its naughty, steamy reputation but the city has another side that can satisfy the other senses. By that we mean the nose and the taste buds. Your Happyfoodies tagged along for a food trip of Angeles City and what we found pleasantly surprised us.
For starters, we found a piece of Vietnam along Jesus Street in the historic district near the Pamintuan Mansion — in Banh Mi Saigon. Who would’ve thought that you can find heavenly Banh Mi sandwiches and spring rolls in between a neighborhood gym and a sari-sari store? Owner Rex Soriano, recently repatriated from the U.S. after nearly a decade of working at Nobu in New York counted on his experience as a chef and the invaluable inputs of his Vietnamese mother-in-law and wife to come up with fare that begs for repeat visits.
Facade of Aquaknox Restaurant in Makati
The facade looks so much more welcoming with the clear floor-to-ceiling glass covered this time with bamboo slats in lieu of heavy drapes. Stepping inside, the interior is light and airy. The last time Happyfoodies was here was two years ago. A lot can happen in that span, in fact, a few of the restaurants we reviewed has sadly come and gone. Happily, Aquaknox has stayed on, reinventing itself along the way.
Ayam Penyet (SG$6)
Lucky Plaza is said to be dominated by the Filipino crowd, but in a hidden corner of this mall one can find a really good Indonesian restaurant called Resto Surabaya. It has simple interiors with earth colors and a comfortable dining area. The Ayam Penyet (Surabya style Fried Chicken) was tasty at every level from skin to meat, especially with a dip in the chili spice.
Cha Ca La Vong in Hanoi Vietnam
Imagine a restaurant with only one item in the menu. Hmmm, we even forgot if there was a menu at all. There is such a place – it’s Cha Ca La Vong and it’s in Hanoi. At a time when most eating establishments adopt “the more, the merrier” approach when it comes to food offerings, this restaurant in the Old Quarters of Hanoi takes simplicity to the other extreme. Who would argue with this formula when it’s over a hundred years old? That this institution is listed among the must-visit places in Vietnam gives us an incentive to try and see what’s the fuss is all about.