First impressions of Bona’s Chaolong in Puerto Princesa

Categories Food
Beef stew noodles and medium sized noodles that's firm and filling
Beef stew noodles and medium sized noodles that’s firm and filling

A thin film of reddish oil covered the surface of my beef stew noodles, coloring the white lip of the bowl yellow, almost to the brim that I got my spoon and started taking in the warm broth, lower the soup level and have enough texture and volume on the surface good enough to photograph.

Thus, I had my first sip of the popular beef stew noodles at Bona’s Chaolong.

I love its sweetish soup with its familiar taste and aroma of what you expect from a pho. The beef was tender too, providing texture and the hand made noodles firm. I didn’t add the calamansi and only put a few stems of mung bean sprouts and a leaf of mint.

It was a good snack for a rather wet and cool afternoon, a cheap but filling merienda that attests to its popularity. While the lady at the counter recommended the buto-buto, I instead opted for the boneless beef stew.

As for the pork french bread, or bánh mì in the original, its good too, with the crisp and crunchy exterior and soft interior but the pork slices were too thin and there were just too much mayo and katsup included that it rather made for a messy eating.

I’m a bit confused though. Cháo lòng in the original is Vietnamese porridge topped with offal but in Puerto Princesa’s case, no such dish is being offered. Is it possible that what the Vietnamese boat people originally offered were porridge and pho as minor dishes but eventually, it was the latter that got popular with the Filipinos?

Is it possible that these diners retained the chao long name but offered noodles instead?

An order of beef stew noodles, pork french bread and a side dish of mung bean sprouts, calamansi and basil leaves
An order of beef stew noodles, pork french bread and a side dish of mung bean sprouts, calamansi and basil leaves
Cross section of the pork french bread
Cross section of the pork french bread. While I like the toasted french bread, I just didn’t like the generous amount of ketchup and mayo that were put inside.
The cheesy french bread, toasted
The cheesy french bread, toasted
Bona's Chaolong is teeming with diners during a wet afternoon
Bona’s Chaolong is teeming with diners during a wet afternoon
Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

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