The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

Ca Phe Saigon: Salad and spring roll favorites

Did I mention I was seeing someone who thoroughly misses Vietnamese food? We are always in the search for a good Vietnamese place in Metro Manila but so far, only Phat Pho has hit the spot for a person used to great pho.

We found Ca Phe Saigon almost by accident. His cousin had checked in the joint and it was near where we were at the time, so we dropped by. When we got there we almost thought we read the information wrong and that the place wasn’t open. It’s in a quiet, residential neighborhood in Marikina, and I loved that it was basically their garage converted into a restaurant. I know there’s much to be said about Instagram worthy places, but I’ve been to too many places that were all about the decor and forgot about the food.

This is most definitely a place that did not forget about the food. I’ve never been to Vietnam or can consider myself a Vietnamese food expert, but I loved their food.

Their Goi Bap Cai (cabbage salad) combines shredded cabbage, basil leaves, shrimp, pork, peanuts and dressed with sweet Vietnamese fish sauce is my favorite of the bunch. Fresh, crisp, crunchy, and light even with the pork, it is a salad I could eat every day.

Goi Cuon, their fresh rolls are filled with noodles, pork, shrimp, mint and served with peanut sauce. Three to an order, they’re pretty significant and it takes me a lot of willpower to not eat all of the order all at once.

Pho Bo Kho, their beef stew noodles is a little more interesting than their Pho (bo). I prefer this to the classic as the other dishes are already so tasty that it can overpower the simplicity of the pho.

I’ve been here three times and it is a testament to my hunger (and their good food) that I’ve not taken any decent photos of the food. Their prices are pretty amazing too. An order of the salad, pho bo kho, and Goi Cuon will set you back the same amount as if you bought one bowl of mediocre pho at one of those chain places. For my wallet, it’s a great thing.

Word to the wise, be a little patient as they prepare their food only when you’ve ordered it, so it may take your meal 15-20 minutes to get there. It’s worth the wait, I promise.

Will update this post as soon as I go back and take photos.

Try Ca Phe Saigon too:

Address: 14 Red Cedar Street, San Roque Marikina

Phone number: 0917 801 6411

Open: Monday-Sunday 11:00 am to 10:00 pm

Will set you back: Around 600 for two, 700 if you get their fun looking drinks

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