Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bona's Chaolong House and Restaurant

When I visited Puerto Princesa, the city was currently experiencing the rains and chilly winds of a typhoon. I couldn't imagine any other food more comforting than the hot soup and tangy taste of Puerto Princesa's version of Chaolong, a beef stew with rice noodles. The Vietnamese refugees who fled to the Philippines during the war in Vietnam greatly influenced in the creation of this hit. They opened restaurants in the city offering their native cuisine and was then either sold or given to their Filipino helpers after they returned to Vietnam or went to the US.

I read from Ivan Henares' blog that in Authentic Vietnamese cuisine, this is called Pho for Vietnamese Chaolong is rice porridge with pork innards. For the locals though, this is their Chaolong and I believe Bona's version already has a touch of Filipino for it tastes sweeter than how it's supposed to be. We know how Filipinos love sugar in everything, like sweet spaghetti.

Arriving from the airport feeling somewhat cold and hungry, I wanted to have a late lunch right away. Pretty sure that several Chaolong houses have sprouted in the city, I asked the tricycle driver to bring me to the best one and as I expected he drove me to Bona's. Checking out their menu, they don't offer a wide variety of dishes. It's noodles either added in a pork or beef stew and French bread to compliment it.

Prices in Bona's are affordable. I like their food too. The contrast produced by the aroma of   mint from the sweetness of the broth is nice. Adding the mung sprouts can be fun although I noticed that most of the locals don't even bother doing it, they eat the chaolong right away and if it's not just too shameful, I might just ask for their saucers of mint and sprouts. :D

Bona's place can be pretty busy in the afternoon. I had another snacks there after island hopping in Honda Bay and that day the place was really crowded. This is indeed the favorite Chaolong house of the locals. :) If you're traveling to Palawan, it would be a nice experiencing trying out Puerto Princesa's Chaolong - a Filipino adaptation of a foreign food.

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