Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen is a Vietnamese restaurant in Uptown Parade Mall that feels homey and colorful. Other branch locations are found in White Plains and Tagaytay. From the moment you walk in the door, you can’t miss the heart of the place: an entire wall mural featuring contemporary Vietnamese art. The striking cement walls enveloping the rest of the space looks perfect for the ultimate urban interior design, with a contrast of chic and industrial charm.
Review of Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen (Uptown Parade Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig)
Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen didn’t seem particularly special at first glance, but it most certainly is, thanks to perfectly executed Vietnamese dishes that will make you feel like you’re sitting in a restaurant in Vietnam. At least that was how we felt like when we were there. The peace and tranquility inside added up to an energy we don’t usually find in many dining areas in BGC. Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen didn’t feel intimidating or stuffy. It’s a solid option when you want to hang out in a cool place and enjoy authentic and homemade Vietnamese food with friends and family.
Best eaten with nuts or peanut sauce as accompaniment, Goi Cuon (PhP 320) was served as well-constructed traditional Vietnamese fresh rolls with a nice textural play. There were vermicelli, vegetables, warm pork and shrimp inside and soft rice paper on the outside. If a summer roll and a spring roll had a baby, this would be it.
Fresh coconut sprouts, glazed pork, and steamed shrimp were combined for a light yet hearty salad with a good variety of textures and flavors, all dressed with punchy house vinaigrette. Bawai’s House Salad (PhP 295) had a great crunch and less intense heat that Thai papaya salads usually have.
Com Suon Cha (PhP 435) was presented with a platter of grilled pork belly glazed in caramel-lemongrass marinade and mushroom egg pie. The pork was juicy and moist with firm fat. It was fine but I’m a bigger fan of the pie, the crustless Vietnamese quiche suspending a bounty of savory ingredients.
Hu Tieu (PhP 370) consisted of pork bones and seafood broth that tasted pleasingly earthy. Flavor was not resting on MSG, but it was subdued and lacked a voluptuous mouthfeel. Compared to pho, hu tieu’s broth seemed lighter and on the sweet than savory side. The garden of fresh herbs added a vibrancy that made it desirable even in the summer heat. Pork belly and seafood turned out to be an interesting combination.
For desserts, we tried Bánh Da Lợn (PhP 80), yellow mung bean and pandan cake topped with coconut paste and sesame seeds. It’s a scrumptious treat no less, mildly sweet with a chewy, gelatinous, and sticky texture. We also shared Cha Bap (PhP 80) or Vietnamese sweet corn pudding. Marrying juicy corn with creamy coconut milk, it’s delectable, refreshing, and comforting. I prefer eating it chilled with a sprinkle of tasted sesame seeds. For drinks, we had Vietnamese iced milk coffee which they call Ca Phe Sua Da (PhP 130). Vietnam has various coffee but this one, specifically when condensed milk meets with local coffee, leaves a sweet taste in your mouth. Drinking it cold magnifies the sweet taste. Yum!
Price for Value:
Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen is a gem for lovers of Vietnamese food. The menu isn’t too fancy; food are set at reasonable prices. Pretty much the whole idea of Vietnamese food is about eating light and clean flavors and finding umami in each dish, and this restaurant does it right. Here, dishes are served with delicate and fresh ingredients, honoring the natural elements of food. To try them, you just have to go! 🙂