"Bawai, which is Vietnamese for grandmother, is a homey restaurant inside one of Tagaytay’s retirement communities. It’s actually the home of Vergilio & Yong Tatlonghari. Yong, a Vietnamese, settled in the Philippines after marrying her Filipino husband. A great cook, her home was always open to her children and grandchildren, who wanted to share their bawai’s fantastic Vietnamese meals. When strangers started showing up at their doorstep, they took that as a sign to open a portion of their home as a restaurant."
This is a place worth traveling for because of their scrumptious Vietnamese food! We discovered the place just days before our Tagaytay celebration via Anton of Our Awesome Planet and because we wanted to taste authentic Vietnamese food, we decided to include this on our anniversary itinerary on the last minute.
I got their contact number onlinr and made a lunch reservation for two. An old man answered the phone, probably Mr. Tatlonghari himself, and took my details but then later instructed me to just send in a text message so that he won't forget. After some hours, I got a reply with a sorry for not replying immediately and a confirmation for my reservation. Also included is a list of the menu and the driving direction to the restaurant. Since initially, we were supposed to use the public transport, I inquired for the commuting directions and immediately got a phone call from Mr. Tatlonghari. He then instructed me on where and what to ride. Now that's what you call great service! I felt like we are valued visitors and not just mere customers.
Finding Bawai's is a bit hard because they do not have signages along the highway. We had to make a U-turn because we drove past the entrance to the compound. All we had were maps and directions we got online.
It was a Sunday and the restaurant was packed with famished customers. We were excited to finally taste those yummy dishes we only had the chance to see in photos online but that excitement faded when a mix up with the reservation occurred. Our reservation was not listed! I tried to reason out with the gate staff and showed him my confirmation messages but to no avail. Okay, I was losing my cool and my interest when I called Mr. Tatlonghari about the situation. He then said sorry and called the restaurant (he was tending their other branch). It was a good he fixed it or else I would've wrecked havoc in the blogworld! *evil laugh*
Anyways, we were invited in and given a table for two. It turned out, our names were mixed up with another. There were two groups inside the converted sala, one with 15pax and another with 8pax. Upon ordering, another group of about 6 came and I guess that's just the maximum number the restaurant can accommodate. The others groups were too noisy talking so we got shy taking photos other than what was on our table. Our meal was cooked rather quickly despite the fact that they lost the list of my advanced orders.
|Complimentary Pandan Tea|
Since we were still full from our breakfast at Sonya's, we started off with just a plate of three pieces of Goi Cuon (Vietnamese fresh lumpia) with peanut sauce for the appetizer. One bite into the Goi Cuon and we know it’s freshly made. The shrimp is tender and seemed to be bursting out of its transparent wrap. The veggies crunchy and a tarragon leaf was a nice surprise. There's also a beef strip on the other side which provides that meaty taste.
|Goi Cuon (Vietnames Fresh Lumpia)|
Next comes our main dish, Pho Bo for RT and Bun Thang for me.
|RT's pick: Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)|
I don't know it tasted but RT said it was delicious. There's something to the broth that enhances its beefy flavor. The beef was also easy to chew.
|My Pick: Bun Thang (Seafood and Egg Noodle Soup|
I love everything seafood and this one is one of the best! I agree with RT that the broth has this special taste I can't figure out.
|My pick: Pandan Iced Tea|
Nothing better to sooth your thirst but a fresh pandan iced tea. It tasted a little bit like the famous sago't gulaman.
|RT's pick: Vietnamese Iced Coffee|
They used condensed milk that's why the milk stayed at the bottom.
|Bahn Da Lon|
Because of the mix up earlier, Bawai or Lola Yong was very apologetic and gave us two of these, on the house. I guess it's the Vietnamese version of our local sapin-sapin or maja blanca. This is made with pandan (green) and monggo beans (yellow). It is topped with coconut cream and a sprinkling of crushed peanuts.
What I really like about Bawai's, besides their good food, is that, whenever not busy, they will entertain you as their own guest. You need to reserve and order in advance since each meal is cooked by Bawai herself. I do hope it remains that way, and the food don't get commercialized like most Vietnamese restaurants in Manila. The secret to Bawai's food is authentic imported ingredients from Vietnam sent by Bawai's friends and relatives.
Because lola Yong herself cooks all the dishes, Bawai’s kitchen is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for lunch and dinner. Also, due to Bawai’s limited space, reservation is a must. For reservations, call 0920-9722924.
Bawai’s Vietnamese Kusina
Brgy. Bukal, Silang, Cavite
+63 920 972-2924
Click on the map to see the larger version.