August 7, 2019

You Can't Get Anymore Aunthentic at So Mot Vietnamese Cuisine

I don’t know if you have noticed it or not, but I feel and believe that Vietnamese is one of the most underrated cuisines in the Philippine food scene. Many of us only know Vietnamese food because of pho, fresh spring rolls and banh mi; but it is way more than that. I admit I’m one of those people who’s not as familiar with it as it is rarely my go to food. But I just realized I am missing out on so much. I’ve tried Vietnamese food a couple of times and I can clearly remember that it was in Puerto Princesa was my first taste of this cuisine. But after that I believe I’ve never had that much of it back in Manila.

What makes Vietnamese food so special? Just like the Philippines, Vietnam is also a huge country and each region has their own versions of things but what’s distinct of this cuisine is that all the cuisine contains this brilliant balance of aromatics, heat, sweetness, sourness, and fish-sauciness. Their cuisine is also influenced by other neighboring countries and France as the French conquered Vietnam for years, thus, there is a lasting effect on the country, the people, the architecture, the land, and the flavors.

I visited a place that offers authentic Vietnamese cuisine a few days ago with my foodie friends at Madison Food Park in Kapitolyo, Pasig. We met the owners and I was initially talked to one of them in Filipino and he looked clueless. Only to find out that he and his other business partners are actually Vietnamese. Most of them are from Northern Vietnam, in and around Hanoi, which I have been dying to visit. They also know very little Tagalog and only speak Vietnamese and English.

So Mot is a Vietnamese term meaning "Number 1", which is the aim of the owners,to be come the number one restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine. So, almost all of the ingredients that they use for their offerings are imported from Vietnam. Though their banh mi’s are baked here in Manila, still by a Vietnamese baker. Thus, you know all you’re getting from this place is nothing short of authentic. We visited two of their stores, one in Madison Square and their stall inside Pioneer Center Supermarket. At the PC stall, they only offer quick bites while at the Madison Food Park, all the dishes are offered.

Here are the dishes that we tried:

Banh Mi Thit Ga – crispy baguette filled with grilled chicken, hoisin, cucumber, turnips, carrots and lettuce. Like I said, their breads are baked in the Philippines but almost all the ingredients are from Vietnam and are created by a Vietnamese baker.  I love how crispy the baguette was and there’s equal amounts of fillings. I liked this one better than the grilled pork.

Banh Mi Thit Heo – crispy baguette filled with grilled pork, hoisin, cucumber, turnips, carrots and lettuce.  I love how crispy the baguette was and there’s equal amounts of fillings.

Goi Cuon – otherwise known as Fresh Spring Rolls and is by far my favorite Vietnamese food of all! It’s healthy, it’s tasty and it’s fun to eat. This had lettuce, grilled pork, veggies and shrimps wrapped in a glassy rice paper and comes with a Vietnamese sauce that is sweet and sour. Although you can also ask for the peanut sauce and both are equally good tasting dips.

Nem Ran – also known as fried spring rolls. This is minced pork, glass noodles, veggies wrapped in rice paper and then deep fried.

photo c/o Carlo Tecson

Pho Bo – beef noodle soup with Vietnamese glass noodles, beef, broth and parsley. You can also add some bean sprouts, mint leaves and calamansi. You can also ask for their hoisin sauce and Vietnamese chili paste which was so spicy. I just added a little bit on my Pho but it was hot! I like their plain broth more than the one with chopped coriander (wan soy).

Mi Xao Ga – fried Vietnamese Hao Hao noodles with grilled chicken slices and veggies. At first, you would think this is like pancit bihon or pancit Lucban as it sure looks like it. But this Vietnamese noodles are made of potato flour and other starches making them taste a little sweeter. It’s very different from our local noodles. This is another favorite of mine next to fresh spring rolls.

Bun Cha Ca with Rice Noodles – grilled chopped fish made of Lapu Lapu with rice noodles topped with peanuts and drizzled with Vietnamese sauce. Looks simple but add some Vietnamese sauce to it and it's on another level.

Tra Chanh – calamansi green tea using Tra Xanh (organic green tea). I don’t know if they have Calamansi in Vietnam or what do they call it. I think they use lime instead and just used Calamansi to appeal to the Filipino palate. They use real tea leaves for this tea and has a very strong flavor that I like.

Ca Phe Nong and Ca Phe Da – a traditional Vietnamese coffee recipe: Ca Phe Nong (hot) and Ca Phe Da (cold) and made using medium to coarse ground dark roast Vietnamese-grown coffee with a small metal Vietnamese drip filter with water, ice and condensed milk. So Mot’s coffee is imprted all the way from Vietnam and this one is super strong and I love it! Kaya ka nitong ipaglaban! After we ate at So Mot, I went straight to work and man, I never had the slightest feeling of sleepiness. I love the sweet and nutty after-taste of this Vietnamese coffee.

In the coming weeks, So Mot Vietnamese cuisine will be launching their Vietnamese Platters that you can bring for potlucks, birthdays or any gatherings. The platters are: 20 pcs of Gói Cuòn (fresh spring rolls), 10 pcs of Nem Ran (fried spring rolls), Mi Xao (fried noodles), salad noodle, Bun Cha That (comes with 2 flavors: Bun Cha Thit (grilled chop meat) and Bun Cha Ça (grilled chopped fish) for only PHP 495. Don’t have time to go to So Mot? Order via Grab Food or Food Panda. Vietnamese food isn’t as colorful or aromatic unlike other cuisines but I’m telling you, don’t be fooled by what you see as all their dishes are packed full of flavor! I’m starting to get fond of it!

some of the platters
photo c/o Carlo Tecson

Madison Commons, 1 Brixton Street,
Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Contact Nos: 02 5016208
For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
So Mot Vietnamese Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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