One of the things that made its lasting mark on me during our Vietnam trip a few years back is banh mi; a bread snack hawked along the sidewalks of Ho Chi Minh. Imagine this; French bread sliced in half and filled with all sorts of veggies, meat and cheese (Laughing Cow, at that), all for almost next to nothing. Never, in my wild imaginings that I would be mouth to mouth with this Vietnamese delight once again during our Pawikan Festival trip in Bataan.
|LOLENG’S SIMPLE STREET FACADE|
Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an is a humble non-descript eatery located at one of the narrow sidestreets of Barangay Binaritan in Morong. The place is not air-conditioned, the furnishing is very simple, and its floor, left unfinished. You’d hardly take a second look if not for its peculiar name and the number of people going in and out of its gate.
This Vietnamese eatery opened during the nineties as Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian refugees started to immigrate into the United States from Bataan’s Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC). Loleng, whom the restaurant was named after, was a former cook in the center, and had since learned the art of Vietnamese cuisine from the refugees seeking temporary asylum in the country during the Vietnam War.
|HU TIEU NOODLES WITH ITS SOUP ON A SEPARATE BOWL|
The end result is Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an, hu tieu being a noodle soup quite similar to pho, only with a golden brown pork broth usually topped with slices of meat, toasted garlic, beans sprouts, leeks and other leafy veggies. The an from Hu Tieu-an, I assume, comes from the Filipino way of indicating a place of happening via suffix, think lugaw-an.
|BUN CHA GIO?|
Besides Vietnamese dishes, the eatery also offers Filipino favorites like palabok, spaghetti, lumpiang shanghai, to name a few. But, really, why have these when you can try something much more unique? So, off we went, ordering one foreign-sounding Vietnamese food after another.
|BUN TIT NUONG, I THINK?|
Bun cha gio, Bun tit nuong, Bahn mi. Hu tieu special. Apologies if I could not remember which one was which as each dish started to overwhelm the next as they came along. All I can say was everything’s good. Not over-the-top this-is-almost-Vietnam good, but just right. For it’s price (and probably, the availability of legit Vietnamese ingredients in our country), you’d never really expect something that would swoosh you back to the streets of Saigon.
|BANH MI! I’M SURE!|
Me, I’m just happy with my bahn mi. They’re using some sort of soft monay loaf instead of the typical French bread, they don’t have any Laughing Cow, and the meat tastes different; but hey, we’re still in Bataan here, not Ho Chi Minh. A meal to bring back a few fond memories of Vietnam for fifty pesos isn’t that bad for me at all.
Loleng’s Hu Tieu-an
Address: Mayor's Street, Barangay Binaritan,
Contact Number: (0949) 565-7466
Open Hours: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM Everyday
Facebook: Click Here
GPS Coordinates Map: 14.681561, 120.268551
MY GRATITUDE GOES OUT TO OUR FRIENDS FROM BATAAN TOURISM FOR SPONSORING OUR MEAL