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?