If you’re looking for a fresh new take on the Vietnamese pho, try Annam Noodle Bar’s Hanoi-style pho, which recently opened in Eastwood City, Libis, QC.
The casual quick-service resto was launched in Singapore in 2012. Known as NamNam Noodle Bar in Singapore, Annam Noodle Bar Manila is the brand’s first foray in the country.
Annam’s chef Nam Nguyen said he was amazed at the freshness of local ingredients in the country’s public markets.
He pointed out: “We toured your public markets so I can have an accurate image of Filipino flavors, to see the origins of the Filipino palate. I was astonished at what we found there. The ingredients were so fresh and plentiful, things that definitely cannot be found in the markets of Singapore and Hong Kong today. You should all be very proud of that.”
“My discoveries allowed us to tweak the recipes of Annam’s menu slightly, to adjust it to the Filipino palate,” he added.
The restaurant offers Vietnamese noodle recipes from southern and central Vietnam. Its selection of pho comes in six flavors ranging from Pho Beef Steak Slices, the premium Wagyu Beef Slices, to Pho Oxtail and Beef Balls.
Each bowl of rice noodles is prepared by using broth that is boiled for at least 24 hours, then topped with herbs and spices sourced locally and abroad.
The noodles are al dente, which is not common for pho in the Philippine market.
“We use as much local ingredients as possible,” said Nguyen. “But there are rare ingredients available only in Vietnam, so we source it directly there.”
The repertoire of dishes does not end with pho. The Sauteed Lemongrass Pork Noodle (rice vermicelli with pork and fried spring rolls) and the Spicy Hue Beef Noodle (beef with noodles created using a spicy broth) are worth trying, too.
Apart from the noodles, French baguette-style sandwiches, inspired by Vietnam’s French colonial past, are offered. The banh mi makes for a perfect morning or afternoon merienda. Each baguette is baked daily and topped with chicken pate, mayonnaise, hot chili peppers, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber and fresh cilantro.
The banh mi Caramelised 5-Spice Pork Belly and the Sauteed Lemongrass Pork with Cream Cheese are our favorites.
Vegetarians won’t feel left out in Annam’s menu. A special vegetarian pho can be prepared, and all dishes in Annam are MSG-free. For dessert, there’s the Chilled 3 Colour Dessert or the Crispy Fried Banana with Coconut Sauce.
The restaurant’s interiors aim to evoke a nostalgic, Vietnamese street-dining setting, much like the setting of noodle houses in Manila.
“Annam represents what I think ought to be the future of casual dining in our country,” says Raymund Magdaluyo, Annam Philippines’ managing partner, “to serve food that’s great for the body in a quick and efficient way, but still have that great service and personal touch. We want to provide a vibe that’s appealing to the young and young at heart.”
Annam, Unit 1880-4, G/F 1880 Bldg., Eastwood Ave., Eastwood City, Libis. Follow Annam Noodle Bar on Facebook.