Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016



Food is always a fascinating introduction to one's discovery of a place. Even if you're yet to visit a city in another country, it's already possible for you to have a whiff of its cuisine from a simple dish that represents it. Such is the case with my preconceived notions of Vietnam. As a Filipino who hasn't stepped foot in any of its cities and towns, I only have a glimpse of what its native dishes taste like with previous visits to Vietnamese-oriented restaurants in the Philippines. And, one dining spot in Quezon City that just opened this July fortunately offered me the chance to sample authentic street food from the S-shaped country without leaving Manila. Called Annam Noodle Bar, it's easily the best place to have orders of rice flour noodles (Pho), toasted baguettes (Banh Mi), oriental rolls and more.

Annam Noodle Bar is a delicious spawn of Singapore and Jakarta's Namnam Noodle Bar which its owner and Director, Chef Nam, founded in 2012. Friends who have dined at the latter already mused to me about the modern twist rendered in its old Vietnam dining interiors via the mix of industrial elements and communal tables. As part of the core concept, the same aesthetic can be had at Annam Noodle Bar in Eastwood, Libis, where a pulsating market scene is redone with a splash of gloss. There, everything's vibrant and truly iconic of the country.

Hanoi Pho Australian Wagyu Beef Slices
Vietnamese Coffee
Hoisin Sauce exclusively available at Annam Noodle Bar

No MSG Advocacy

What foodies can find comfort in knowing about this newly-opened restaurant is its advocacy for healthy ingredients. More than 90% -- 95% to be exact -- of its menu does not contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) which is something that's commonly used in other establishments to enhance the flavor in food. This means that dishes served at Annam are likely to be enriching rather than damaging to one's system. This is because MSG is known to cause muscle numbness, tightness, fatigue and flushing in sensitive tummies. Constant exposure to it even puts those who seem to have no problem with food in a threshold of sensitivity.

Hanoi Pho Silky!

My order of one of its Hanoi Pho options, a hefty bowl of Australian wagyu beef slices and silky rice noodles, proved to be just the right fix for a rainy night during my visit. Served medium rare, the beef was tender and tasted terrific with a dab of the restaurant's very own hoisin sauce, making it go down sweet and salty. For those who love anything spiced up, every table at the restaurant also has a chilli sauce which is exclusively produced for the brand.

Banh Mi Caramelised 5-Spice Pork Belly
Hanoi Pho Australian Wagyu Beef Slices

Banh Mi Fix

In stark contrast to the intense and filling broth of the noodle bowl, the restaurant's Banh Mi or toasted baguette was crisp and light. The savoury option I had was the Caramelised 5-Spice Pork Belly which was also stuffed with mayonnaise, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber and fresh cilantro. Since I have a minor aversion to spicy food, I had the hot chilli peppers removed upon ordering. Having the whole shebang sliced in half allowed me to see how the holes in the crumb appeared uneven, an indication of a good baguette!

Fresh Southern Rolls
Crispy Imperial Rolls
Mekong Fresh Young Coconut

Oriental Roll Indulgence and More

I also enjoyed Small Plates of the Crispy Imperial Rolls and the Fresh Southern Rolls which is a soft bundle of prawn, pork and fresh herbs that tasted divine with the creamy peanut sauce.

For a tropical complement to all my orders, I had a refreshing order of the fancy Mekong Fresh Young Coconut to drink all throughout the meal. I capped my dinner with a cup of the restaurant's strong Vietnamese Coffee which made use of blended coffee beans (medium dark roast) that underwent a wet processing method to bring out their clarity in nutty taste.

My overall dining experience at Annam Noodle Bar promised me of what it's like to be in Vietnam, authentic dishes and all. That is, if I'll ever get the chance to visit the country soon!

Annam Noodle Bar

Official Website of Namnam Noodle Bar
Official Website of Annam Noodle Bar

Address: Unit 1880-4 Ground Floor, 1880 Building, Eastwood Avenue, Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City, Philippines 1110
Hours of Operation: (Monday-Sunday) 10:00am - 11:00pm

More Photos Below:


  1. Looking at all these delicious goodies is making us hungry! We have a huge love for local culinary treasures.


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