Just a week ago, I had the chance of going up north of Quezon City to visit the Vietnamese restaurant, Tra Vinh, on a sponsored invite. If I were to be asked as to what my favorite restaurants are, Tra Vinh will be shortlisted to that.
This modern restaurant serves authentic Vietnamese dishes, and you would know that they specially prep everything right from their kitchen. You can actually tell from their dishes that they practice strict discipline into their cooking. They use fresh ingredients in their food items, and they take pride in going through traditional processes of preparing and cooking their dishes. Tra Vinh believes in the art of creating new food concepts so as to have every Juan enticed with Vietnamese cuisine.
For starters, we had their fresh spring rolls or goi cuon tom thit. This appetizer sums up how awesome the rest of the food choices are in their menu. The fresh spring rolls are enveloped with the goodness that is of greens, vermicelli, prawns, and delicious pork belly. Don’t forget to have those rolls religiously dipped into their peanut sauce! You’ll thank me later.
Since the Vietnamese are known for utilizing vegetables and fruits in their dishes, we had more of such during the entire course. We were served prawn pomelo and prawn mango salad. Both are refreshingly good and I loved them so much for their toppings.
Tra Vinh actually impressed us with their Vietnamese pancake or Ban Xeo, given its presentation, texture, and taste. This surprising food item takes you on a special gastronomic adventure. The flat and crispy pancake is enveloped into a layer of fresh iceberg lettuce, mustard greens, and different herbs.
The aforementioned items are all good, yet they aren’t exactly “the big stars” in their menu. We got to try out their main dishes, including their fried fish, seasoned in salt and pepper. I’d say that the onions and herbs complemented the taste of the fish well.
After that, we were served a plate of prawns. They were cooked just right, and definitely satisfied my palate, even if they were just simply seasoned with salt and pepper.
Another thing that was served to us is their Special Tra Vinh Soup. The name is apropos to its taste – it is indeed special! The bowl was filled to the brim with rich flavors of chicken and seafood broth, together with pork loin, prawns, squid, Singaporean fish balls, pork liver, mushroom, quail eggs, and veggies. They serve it together with rice or noodles. Ever wonder how all these ingredients go so well together? There is such a thing as “trying out new things,” and that is probably Tra Vinh’s secret. They are not afraid to try out new recipes to satisfy their customers. Ain’t it the coolest?
What arrived onto our table next are bowls of steaming hot pho and beef noodle soup. They were truly unforgettable, IMO. The flavors in it are overwhelming. Accompanying the rich flavors of the beef broth are shoulder tender, New Zealand rib eye, and Taiwanese beef balls and tripe. To top it all off, this dish is seasoned with 16 different kinds of herbs and spices.
Are you into spicy food? Say no more, fam! You will go wordpress crazy over Tra Vinh’s spicy noodle soup. Their special meat broth (apparently of three different kinds of meat), has 14 different kinds of herbs and spices, topped with New Zealand rib eye, prawns, squid, Taiwanese beef balls, Singaporean fish balls, and thick egg noodles.
If you haven’t tried eating a duck recipe, I highly recommend Tra Vinh’s most original dish, their braised duck noodle soup. The serving was about a quarter size, with mushroom, bok choy, and rice vermicelli, topped with garden fresh herbs.
As for their rice toppings, I am pretty sure that every Juan (notice the pun?) will go gaga over Tra Vinh’s grilled pork chop rice. The meat was perfectly marinated, and you will delightfully taste the rich flavors of herbs and spices in it. It was served together with fried egg, chicken, pork, crab, and meatloaf, and a special side serving of pork skin and pickled veggies.
Last, but not the least, we took the opportunity to try out their coffee jelly float since Vietnam is famous for its ca phe da, or Vietnamese coffee. This homemade concoction consists of Vietnamese coffee flavored jelly and ice cream. I’d say that the coffee jelly tastes great, while the coffee flavored ice cream could have been better if it had been more creamy.
This epic feast I had experienced in Tra Vinh, Banawe is definitely something I will always remember as a foodie. I hope that you also get to visit the place soon and enjoy their food.