PHOntastic Gastronomic Experience from Annam Noodle Bar

Our family is always on the lookout for good food. As much as possible, we make it a point to cap any family activity with a satisfying meal. Last Saturday was a little different. We actually started our day with a great food experience at Annam Noodle Bar - a restaurant that specializes in Vietnamese street food with a modern twist.

This is actually our family's first try of Vietnamese food. That is why we allowed ourselves to be guided on our food choices according to which are the best-selling. Feast your eyes on the food items we tasted for this adventure.


Appetizer choices are seen under the menu category "Small Plates". Price ranges from PHP 130 to PHP 250. 

Choices include:

Prawn and Sesame Crackers 
Vegetarian Southern Rolls, Fresh Herbs, Peanut Sauce
Green Papaya Salad, Beef Jerky, Fresh Herbs, Peanuts
Mekong Prawn Rolls
Crispy Imperial Rolls
Crispy Squid, Sriracha Mayonnaise

and our orders for the day

The best seller Fresh Southern Rolls with Prawn, Pork, Fresh Herbs, Peanut Sauce

and the Caramelized Chicken Wings, Shrimp Paste

The fresh rolls were gone in a flash. It gave a fitting intro to the freshness of ingredients used in every viand served throughout the meal. The sweet tangy flavor of the chicken wings as expected, was a big hit for my children.


My wife and I chose the much recommended Lemongrass-Ginger Iced Tea for our beverage. It was refreshingly cool and light. It was the perfect partner for the food we are eating.

My children opted to drink the Lychee-Pandan Iced Tea. This is a very good choice for the kids. The presentation literally includes pandan leaves and lychee pieces.

Banh Mi

These are toasted baguettes stuffed with savory meats, chicken pate, mayonnaise, hot chili peppers, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber, and fresh cilantro. Price ranges from PHP 230- 250. 

Banh Mi choices include:

Sauteed Lemongrass Pork, Cream Cheese
Caramelized 5-Spice Pork Belly
Fried Catfish with Spices
Chili Sambal Braised Beef 

and our orders 

Chili-Lemongrass Chicken, Egg Omelette, Chicken Floss

and the vegetarian version which is the Lemongrass Tofu, Egg Omelette, Braised Mushrooms

An order of banh mi can satifyingly serve 2. Every bite produces an interesting mix of the crunchy baguette, full flavor of the meat, and again the freshness of vegetables and herbs. 

Hanoi Pho

Hanoi Pho is easily the star of Annam Noodle Bar's menu. Hanoi is considered the birthplace of Vietnamese Pho which is a bowl of rice flour noodles with intense broth boiled over 24 hours, garnished with fresh herbs and spring onions. Price ranges from PHP 270-550.

You can choose among these choices:

Pho Australian Beef Steal Slices
Pho Vegetarian
Pho Australian Oxtail and Beef Balls
Pho Australian Wagyu Beef Slices

and what we ordered which are

Pho Australian Beef Combination

and the Pho Chicken

Annam Noodle Bar is certainly not exaggerating with its claim for a full-flavored pho (pronounced as "fuh"), minus the use of MSG. The rice noodles which are made in Singapore, are imported to maintain consistency. The pho is served in an extra big bowl which can serve 4 people.

Other Noodles

Annam Noodle Bar also offers other classic Vietnamese noodles recipes from Southern and Central Vietnam. These can either be served dry or with soup. Price ranges from PHP 320-380.

Here are the choices:

Spicy Braised Beef, Beef Balls Noodle
Spicy Hue Australian Beef Noodle
Saigon Fisherman;s Noodle Soup
Sauteed Lemongrass Pork Noodle
Quang Style Egg Noodle

and our order

Spicy Minced Pork, Pork Balls Noodle

This noodle dish is delightfully spicy. It is by itself filling for a customer dining alone and complete as it is served with soup. In hindsight, we would have preferred to order two dry noodle dishes instead of the pho as we didn't realize that one order of pho is more than enough for the four of us.

Viet Desserts

My children's choice for dessert was the Hanoi Hannah Sundae made up of mint choco vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. We were informed that their ice cream is specifically made for them. 

Other possible choices include:

Chilled Dried Longan, Lotus Seeds, Water Chestnut, Seaweed Dessert
Chilled 3 Colour Dessert
Crispy Fried Banana, Coconut Sauce
Saigon Sally Sundae

My wife and I chose to finish off our meal with the Viet coffee with condensed milk. The milk provides the right contrast to the perfectly brewed Viet coffee. Annam sells 3-in-1 coffee which comes in boxes of 22 sachets for those who would like to bring this excellent coffee taste.

Before we knew it, we were finished.

Our Verdict

From a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest, here is our verdict:

Flavor: 5
Price:  4
Ambiance: 5
Service: 4
Satiety: 5

1. The freshness of ingredients is a standout feature of all food offering. Immediate consumption is advisable to fully appreciate this advantage. Resistance to vegetables and herbs is decreased among kids due to the manner of presentation. 

2. While the lack of rice offering may make customers think that may not get fully satisfied with the meal,we can attest to the fact that the combination of the pho and banh mi is more than enough to serve as full meal. 

3. Food prices present value for money considering the food flavor, level of service, and relaxing ambiance that is conducive to eating.

4. Having only one branch can be a limitation especially for Vietnamese food lovers who live or work very far form the Eastwood City area. The good news is that the next branch is currently on the works.

5. Annam Noodle Bar does not claim to offer authentic traditional dishes but rather what it calls as trendy Vietnamese cuisine. It has repackaged old-world Vietnamese street food with a modern twist.

Will we visit them again? Sure we will, so we can try the other dishes until we have tried them all. It was truly a PHOntastic gastronomic experience for the whole family.

Check out the Annam Noodle Bar Facebook Page to get updates on their latest promos. 

Scooping Happiness at Baskin-Robbins Bonifacio High Street

To say that our family are certified ice cream lovers is an understatement. Eating ice cream is one of our simple sources of happiness. When we heard that Baskin-Robbins is scooping happiness via its newest branch at Bonifacio High Street, there was definitely nothing that could keep us from being part of the event.

Baskin-Robbins Bonifacio High Street

We were informed that this is the 14th branch of Baskin-Robbins to open in the Philippines. This ice cream specialty shop serves not only premium hard scoop ice cream but also customized ice cream cakes and a full range of frozen beverages. Clearly, this is every ice cream lover's piece of heaven on earth.

It seeks to serve its customers with an extensive flavor variety that you can actually enjoy a different flavor each day for 1 whole month without repeating a flavor. Since presentation also matters as much as the flavor, Baskin-Robbins ice cream treats are definitely exciting. The ice cream cakes come in a variety of designs and sizes which is just perfect for celebrating any occasion like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, weddings, graduations, or simply the need to satisfy ice cream cravings.

Store Opening Activities

When a new Baskin-Robbins store opens, the public can expect to be treated to fun and special promos. That is exactly what happened last October 1st. Guests and customers got to sample the awesome range of flavors for just PHP 31 per scoop. 

Not surprisingly, many customers lined up to avail of the promo. There was also the face painting booth for children, meet-and-greet opportunity with the Baskin-Robbins mascot, and a dance performance from the UP Dance Company. Of course, who can ignore the "Waffle Wonderland" where guests can customize their waffles in various shapes and colors and the "Fundae Sundae" booth designed for pure ice cream indulgence?

It was a fun afternoon for the whole family. Not only were we able to spend time together, we were also able to enjoy excellent ice cream. Even before we left, my son was obviously thinking of what flavor he will try on our next visit.

My children found this photo in the Baskin-Robbins Facebook Page which just left them wanting for more. 

If you still haven't, you've got to try it!

Let's Talk About Hospital Food

Getting well while in the hospital is supposed to be made possible by strict medical supervision, restful atmosphere, clean surroundings, and healthy food. Sick people are not exactly known to be eager eaters as appetite is commonly affected by sickness. Hospital nutritionists are therefore tasked to come up with food preparations that are not only in accordance with the advised diet but also encourage them to eat to make the convalescence period shorter.

Image Source

Patients who do not have any diet restrictions usually have an easier time accepting hospital food as nutritionists have more choices to work on. Hospital food have a widely-known reputation for being bland. This is because spices and artificial flavorings are kept to the minimum, if at all allowed.

Types of Hospital Diet

Many hospital patients are not able to tolerate the Regular Diet. Some will be given Liquid Diets which can consist of water, broth, clear juices, popsicles and gelatin. Others can be given the Soft Diet which includes food that can be mashed by a fork and easy to swallow. Restricted Diets can limit the amount of calories, fat, salt, or other substances, depending on doctor's orders. Therapeutic Diets are specifically prepared as part of the treatment of a disease or sickness. Nutritionists will have to be extra creative for these special diets. Photo below shows pulverized food molded to look like their real counterparts as shared by the image owner.

Image Source

Presentation of Hospital Food

Hospital food is brought to the patient's room in a compartmentalized tray or in plates and bowls, depending on the viand. In the recent hospitalization of my wife, I noticed a variation. Patients' food came in boxes as seen below.

Rice is wrapped while the viands were placed in separate paper containers with cover. Soup and dessert is also included. Liquid or powdered drinks are likewise included especially for breakfast.

This is actually a welcome change as we cannot help but think of the possibility of contracting any additional sickness while staying in the hospital. Although I know hospitals have disinfecting procedures in place for cleaning plates and utensils, these lunch boxes appear to be more hygienic. I'm also happy to note that many hospitals are now more conscious of the importance of food in treating patients.  

The Many Ways of Cooking Milkfish with Sarangani Bay Premium Bangus

Milkfish or Bangus has always been a popular choice among Filipinos when it comes to seafood. Well, it isn't the country's national fish for nothing. But because of issues like marine pollution and illegal fishing, it is becoming more and more difficult to find fresh quality seafood. Good thing that we have the "fresh frozen" option such as those offered by Sarangani Bay.

Sarangani Bay

Sarangani Bay is the most trusted and largest processor of premium quality bangus and other processed seafood products. It is also the country’s largest exporter of the said products. Synonymous to the brand name is Sarangani Bay, the marine sanctuary of the premium quality bangus which is located at Southern Mindanao. The clean and fresh water fish of Sarangani Bay is bred by the Alsons Aquaculture Corporation—the only integrated farm to market fish processing operations in the country.

Fresh Frozen
Fresh frozen is a way of commercially packing fish which makes it possible to lock in the freshness by freezing fresh caught harvest within a very short time after being caught. Commercially packaged frozen fish can taste as good as fresh fish. It’s not true that “fresh” fish is always better than frozen fish. 

Commercially packaged frozen fish can taste as good as fresh caught harvests because they are carefully “fresh frozen” within a very short time, locking in freshness and flavor. Often fresh fish is NOT fresh as it may have sat on insufficient ice for days before reaching the market. The best way to enjoy fresh frozen fish is to select brands sold by established seafood processors with a reputation for consistently excellent quality.

Sarangani Bay Premium Bangus Products

In our search for nutritious seafood options which are readily available, we came across Sarangani Bay Premium Bangus Products. They make it every easy to cook milkfish in many ways . There are numerous options to choose from including Marinated, Unseasoned, Frozen, and Cooked Bangus Products.

Here are some Sarangani Bay Premium Bangus Products we have already tried:

Baby Milkfish

We fried the baby milkfish and paired it off with achara. The size of the bangus is ideal for single serving. It does not require long cooking and is ready to eat in no time.

Marinated Baby Milkfish

If you prefer no-fuss eating, then marinated baby milkfish is the best choice. Pair off with plain rice and vinegar. With the new baby milkfish spicy variant, you don't need any other flavoring to a enjoy a meal that truly satisfies.

Smoked Milkfish

We baked the smoked milkfish and came up with a winning combination with bagoong rice, salted eggs, cucumber, and tomatoes. This was surprisingly a big hit to my kids but not a surprise at all with my wife and I.

Milkfish Belly

This is an all-time family favorite. Crispy milkfish belly cut into serving pieces, soaked in beaten egg and rolled in bread crumbs before frying, served with green salad and hard-boiled eggs has been served many times on our dining table before but we never get tired of it. 

Boneless Milkfish

If there is anything that discourages me most about eating milkfish, it is having to contend with fish-bones. It can make eating a lot more tedious than it should be especially for the children. That is why Sarangani Bay Boneless Milkfish is such a welcome option.

We can choose to pair it off with bread and soup when we don't feel like eating rice. We can serve it literally sizzling with butter sauce and mixed vegetables. The options are as unlimited as our imagination. Other Sarangani Bay must try-products include bangus sisig, boneless tocino, and boneless tapa. I will try it soon for a fish viand with broth.

The Crucial Test

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so they say. So when I send my children to school with this flaked bangus and white rice, and they bring me home an empty food container, asking if there is some more, then I know the food passed a crucial test. Sarangani Bay Premium Bangus just made it workable to include fish as a baon choice.  

Facts About Seafood

Seafood provides various health benefits due to the vitamins and minerals it contains such as iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin B1, folic acid, and especially the omega-3 fatty acids that is known to prevent heart diseases.The fat in seafood also combats other diseases such as
Arthritis, Asthma, Diabetes, Lupus, Prostate Tumors, and Breast Cancer. Apart from the nutrients seafood offers, it also helps to easily achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle because it has less calories and fat compared to chicken, pork, and beef.

Sarangani Bay Processes

To maintain the freshness of the fish products, Sarangani Bay practices the cold chain management that is critical in maintaining the premium quality they offer compared to other fish processors. Sarangani Bay is also a favorite in countries like the United States, Canada, Guam, Australia, China, and the Middle East. Quality control is seen from the processing plant to our kitchen.

#AMAtriciana Campaign to Help Collect Funds for People Affected by Earthquake in Central Italy


Last August 24, 2016, a powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Central Italy destroying countless properties and killing a number of people. One of the areas greatly affected by the earthquake is Amatrice with around 193 people confirmed dead. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach the remote areas. The scenic Town of Amatrice is a very popular destination for people trying to escape the summer heat due to its geographical location. Amatrice is also the birthplace of the spaghetti Amatriciana - a culinary delight well known for its tomato-based pasta sauce that includes pork jowl or cheek, olive oil, white wine, chili and an Italian cheese made from ewes' milk called pecorino cheese. The town of Amatrice holds an annual festival in honor of the traditional all'amatriciana spaghetti that attracts quite a number of people.
#AMAtriciana is an initiative launched by chefs in Italy and abroad to help collect funds needed for the areas of central Italy devastated by the recent powerful earthquake. Through their signature “spaghetti amatriciana”, the dish that has become the symbol of the Town of Amatrice, they are asking restaurateurs throughout the world to participate in person and help those who are in real need.
For every plate of “spaghetti amatriciana “ ordered in participating restaurants, 2 euros will be donated to the Italian Red Cross: one by the restaurateur and one by the customer.
Are you a RESTAURATEUR and want to participate? Here's how.
- Print the poster available at this link and display it in your restaurant

- Inform your customers, being as clear as possible about how donations will be handled and used.
- Collect all proceeds and make a credit transfer (or more than one transfer) using the IBAN of the Italian Red Cross indicated on the poster.
- IBAN: IT38R0760103000000000900050
for donatios: Associazione Italiana della Croce Rossa
- IBAN: IT40F0623003204000030631681
Beneficiariy: Associazione Italiana della Croce Rossa
Payment description: "Terremoto Centro Italia - amatriciana"
A map of participating restaurants is being prepared:
If you would like your restaurant to be included, send them a private message with the following details:
- Name of restaurant
- Address
- City/Town
- Region/State
- Photo of poster displayed in your restaurant as proof of participation

Here is the link to their facebook page -
Please note that this page is run by volunteers, and that will they will try to answer everyone.

This kind of initiative shows how food can be used to help people in need.

Jollibee Opens its First Store in Chicago, Illinois

Jollibee, the popular Filipino fast food outlet with about 750 stores in the Philippines as well as 80 stores internationally,  opened its first store in Skokie, Chicago, Illinois area in the United States.  The event was featured in the popular morning talk show of WCIU-TV 26 Chicago, You and Me.  Check out this clip!


The very first Jollibee outlet in the United States was opened in 1998 and is located in Daly City, California.  In total, Jollibee now has 33 stores in the United States with stores located in the following areas: 

California Area - 10 stores
Northern California 
  • Concord 
  • Daly City 
  • The Great Mall in Milipitas
  • 2 stores in Sacramento
  • San Bruno
  • San Jose
  • Stockton
  • Union City
  • Vallejo
Southern California - 12 stores
  • Amar
  • Anaheim
  • Beverly
  • Carson
  • Cerritos
  • Chino
  • Eagle Rock
  • Panorama
  • Rancho Cucamonga
  • Chula Vista
  • National City
  • Irvine    
Nevada - 2 stores
  • Maryland, Las Vegas
  • Village Square, Las Vegas  
  • Houston
  • South Center Mall , Tukwila
New York
  • Queens, New York 
New Jersey 
  • Danforth Avenue, in Jersey City  
  • South Plaza Drive, Virginia Beach
Hawaii - 4 stores
  • Ala Moana
  • Waipahu
  • Kalihi
  • Seafood City, Waipahu
Jollibee also has international stores located in Vietnam - 32 stores, Brunei - 11 stores, Jeddah - 7 stores and a store each in Qatar, Hong Kong, and Kuwait.

From its humble beginnings as an Ice Cream Parlor founded by Tony Tan and his family, Jollibee has grown to be an emerging global brand as a fastfood chain. It maintains a family-oriented approach in managing its personnel while focusing on traditional family values in marketing and promoting its brand. No wonder then that Jollibee is the first choice of Filipino families here and abroad. 

Jollibee Favorites:


Knorr Sinigang Recipes

Our family loves eating Sinigang. For most part of our lives, we have cooked it the traditional way. It is a good thing that my wife was invited to the 3rd Knorr Sarap ng #LutongNanay Event together with other mommy bloggers last August 12, 2016 held at The Cookery Place,BGC. 

She brought home four exciting Sinigang recipes which we are sharing here:

Knorr Sizzling Sinigang Recipe

  • 500 grams Beef Short ribs
  • 10 shallots or baby red onions
  • 12-15 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 strings French beans
  • 2 Knorr Beef Cubes
  • 1 ½ tbsp Knorr Sinigang Mix (add more if preferred)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp patis 
  • 2 tsp Knorr Liquid Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • Roux: 3 tbsp butter + 3 tbsp flour


1.Sear the short ribs in oil and butter until brown. Transfer the beef in a pressure cooker and add water only to cover the meat. Cook for 45 minutes or until meat is tender.

2.Remove meat and liquid from pressure cooker.

3.In a pot, add 6 cups of liquid from pressure cooker and combine with Knorr Sinigang Mix and Beef Cubes. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer. Season with patis and soy sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.

4.While sinigang broth is simmering, prepare the entire garnish. Deep fry shallots (unpeeled) and the garlic cloves (unpeeled) until crisp. Set aside.

5.Fry tomatoes until skin cracks. Set aside

6.Fry the chopped garlic until golden brown. Strain and set aside.

7.Sauté the French beans for a few minutes. Set aside.

8.Prepare the roux- in a skillet, add butter, when melted, add the flour. Cook for 1 minute.

9.Use the roux to thicken the sinigang broth. Add the roux at a time to the broth while mixing with a whisk.

10.Start plating. Add the beef, beans, tomatoes, garlic and shallots on your serving sizzling plate.

11.Pour the sinigang broth on top of the plated dish top with garlic chips. Best served with cooked rice.

Knorr Surf and Turf Sinigang Recipe

  • 1 L rice washing
  • 2 pcs onions, quartered
  • 2 pcs tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 pcs gabi, quartered
  • 1 pc green chili (sili pansigang)
  • 1⁄4 kg shrimp, trimmed
  • 1⁄4 kg Maya-maya, cut into serving pcs.
  • 1 pack Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok Original 20g
  • 1⁄4 pc radish, sliced
  • 4 pcs okra
  • 1 cup long beans or sitaw, sliced
  • 1⁄4 kg pork sukiyaki, sautéed 
  • 1 cup kangkong, sliced


1.Bring to boil rice washing in a pot with onions, tomatoes, gabi, and green chili until gabi is tender.

2.Add shrimp, maya-maya, and Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok Original. Simmer until cooked.

3.Add radish, okra, and long beans. Simmer for a minute then add pork sukiyaki and kangkong. Cover for a minute then serve.

Knorr Sinigang with Pakwan Recipe

  • 500 grams Pork Belly  3 inches x 1 inch slices
  • 3 tbsp Knorr Liquid Seasoning 
  • 2 tbsp 
vegetable oil
  • 1 liter water
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2
 onion, cut into 2 wedges
  • 3 pcs tomatoes, sliced into quarters
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only
  • 2 pcs fresh kaffir leaves (optional)
  • 200 grams gabi, sliced into cubes
  • 500 grams seedless watermelon, peeled & cut into 1inch cubes  (divided into 2 parts)
  • 1 22-gram pack Knorr Sinigang sa Gabi mix
  • 1 cube from Knorr Beef Cubes 
  • 2 long green chillies, sliced
  • 150 grams sitaw, cut into 7 cm lengths
  • 1 tbsp
 fish sauce, plus extra to taste
  • ¼ tsp 
freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 grams okra
  • 1 bunch
 water kangkong 
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Steamed rice, to serve
  • fish sauce to serve


1.Marinate the pork belly in Knorr Liquid Seasoning for at least 30 mins.

2.Place a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add the oil and, working in batches, cook the pork until evenly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3.Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and onions to the casserole. Add the tomatoes, ginger lemongrass, gabi and watermelon and cook for 2 minutes before returning the pork to the casserole. 

4.Add the water, Knorr Sinigang Mix and Knorr Beef Cube. Cook for a further 1–1½ hours until the pork is almost tender.

5.When the pork is tender. Remove the pork from the casserole and set aside. Strain the liquid and add the fish sauce, soy sauce and pepper to taste. 

6.Add the remaining watermelon, beans, and okra and cook for 20 minutes, before adding the water spinach and cooking for a further minute until all the vegetables are tender.

7.Serve with steamed white rice and fish sauce for dipping.

Knorr Sinigang na Liempo sa Sampaloc

  •  1 kilo liempo (pork belly), sliced in 2 inch cubes
  •  1 1/2 liter water
  •  2 (22 g) pack Knorr Sinigang na Gabi 
  •  1 bundle kangkong leaves 
  •  3 medium taro root (gabi), peeled and halved
  •  3 medium ripe tomato, halved
  •  2 medium yellow or white onion, quartered
  •  2 cups string beans (sitaw), cut in 2 inch length
  •  1 large Chinese eggplant (talong), sliced
  •  12 pieces okra
  •  3 to 4 pieces long green pepper (siling pansigang)
  •  Fish sauce (patis) to taste


1.Boil the water in a cooking pot.

2.Add the tomato and onion. Set the heat to medium and continue to boil for 15 minutes.

3.Add the pork belly and gabi. Continue to boil in low heat for 1 hour or until the pork gets tender. Add more water, if necessary.

4.Add the Knorr Sinigang na Gabi mix. Stir. 

5.Add the long green chili and boil for 3 minutes.

6.Stir-in the okra, string beans, and eggplant and cook for 5 minutes.

7.Add the kangkong and fish sauce. Stir. Cover and turn off the heat. Let it stay covered for 5 minutes.

8.Transfer to a serving bowl.

9.Serve with warm rice.

10.Share and enjoy!