Saigon Cafe Garden Resto — A Taste of Vietnam in Bacolod

Saigon Cafe Garden Resto address and operating hours.

I miss the unique taste of Vietnamese cuisine. It has been a decade since I have dined in a Vietnamese restaurant because it was simply not available where I live and so I couldn’t pass up the invitation by fellow-blogger, Rick, to try out the new restaurant in town called Saigon Cafe Garden Resto, located at Brgy. Bata, Bacolod City, near the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club.

We were a party of five and part-owner/manager Sylvia Gerangue let us sample six of their specialties and of course, their unique blend of Vietnamese iced coffee that was brewed before your eyes in cute little brewers.

Ahhh…it was a lovely evening of good food in a quaint garden setting with the company of wonderful people. What a great meal! 😀

Com Chien or Vietnamese Fried Rice topped with sliced grilled spare ribs. I especially loved that they topped this with the spare ribs because the pork had a unique taste that went to through the bones. I was happy to sample this first–it excited my taste buds for the remaining courses of the meal.
Specialty of the week features this Asian fusion dish called Thai Red Pork Curry.
Bo Kho or Vietnamese Beef Stew served with rice noodles. This is similar to our very own “bakareta”, but this one had the strong flavor and aroma of star anise. The Viets like their main courses served with rice noodles as much as Filipinos prefer steamed white rice.
Another Asian fusion specialty of the week — Malaysian dish called Nasi Ayam, served with sambal chili, aromatic rice, and broth. Even if this was not Vietnamese cuisine, I appreciated this much, especially when eaten with the aromatic rice. It was just perfect.
Bun Thit Nuong — a Vietnamese salad that features grilled pork, vegetables, rice noodles and lots of peanuts. My companions joked that “Bun Thit meets buntit”, referring to my delicate condition. The dressing is light but this is a lovely filling salad that can be a meal by itself because it has carbs (noodles), vegetables, and protein (grilled pork and peanuts).
Chaca Hanoi or grilled fish wrap. This was exciting to eat. This dish came with rice wrappers that had to be dipped in cold water to soften. Then you have to arrange small portions of these ingredients on the wrapper, season with the light soy and chili sauce, then roll to eat. Quite a bit messy to eat, especially if you soaked the wrapper to much, but it was a fiesta of flavors, nonetheless.
Our lovely, colorful, and wonderfully aromatic spread.
The eaters… hehehe There were five of us but we couldn’t finish everything. hahaha
To cap the night, we were served with their delicious and unique brew mixed with condensed milk. The thick liquid is then poured on a glass of ice. It can be diluted with water to make it lighter and less sweet, which I did. Since I am pregnant and would not want to get my baby wired, I just drank half and gave the rest to hubby. It was truly refreshing. I love the unique taste of the brewed coffee so I had to indulge.
On the outside, Saigon Cafe looks unassuming.
Inside is this quaint dining area.
Sylvia, who was trained in Vietnamese cuisine in Vietnam, was busy preparing our meal. She personally sees to the marketing, food preparation, and set up. She finished a three-month course that certified her as Vietnamese chef.

Story to follow: How to Eat Chaca Hanoi

I am very happy that a restaurant serving Vietnamese cuisine has opened here in Bacolod City. I do wish though that when they open their full service restaurant at North Drive in May 2013, Saigon Café Garden Resto will stick to a purely Vietnamese menu, or maybe include fusion cuisine that is cooked Vietnamese style. At present, I understand that after about only 3 months in the business, they are still in the process of experimenting with their menu to find out what will really make the market tick, but I was rather sad to learn that Pho Bo was not available the night we visited but rather found a Thai and a Malay dish.

When people will get used to the offerings, they will come back and look for a particular dish or taste. In my case, I always associate Vietnamese cuisine with big bowls of steaming noodle soup, rice noodle dishes, and wraps. That way, when people get a hankering for Vietnamese food and visit Saigon Café Garden Resto, they will not be disappointed to find dishes from other countries being served instead of the usual favorites. Just my two cents’ worth.

I really wish Saigon Café Garden Resto well, especially in their preparations for the opening of their new branch. More power!

Note: Saigon Cafe Garden Resto is only open from Wednesdays to Sundays. But if you are a group, you can also request to dine there on Mondays and Tuesdays. For now, they only accept cash payments, but don’t worry, prices are very affordable. 😀

11 Replies to “Saigon Cafe Garden Resto — A Taste of Vietnam in Bacolod”

  1. this is a great review Sig…and I agree with your observation that when they open to a bigger place they should first stay with the Vietnamese menu. Bacolod restaurant goers are very discerning and picky.

  2. Don’t forget, loads and loads of wansoy. I seem to have associated the taste of wansoy with Vietnamese noodles. 😀

  3. Excellent review!!! You got excellent pics too!! Now we have to go there and review for ourselves!!

    Love your blog!


    1. Thanks Martin! Thankfully, I have a new and better cam. I was always so sad with my food pics e. hahaha Thanks for the visit! 😀

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