DAVAO

Chaolong in Davao

YES, that hot beef soup you see almost everywhere in Puerto Princesa City has found its way here, in a tiny space along Ma-a Road, so tiny you just might not be able to find it.

But find it you must, because I can rave non-stop about the chewiness of the homemade, handmade noodles.

Chaolong is from Vietnam but is distinctly Puerto. That is, Chaolong refers to any Vietnamese food when you’re in Vietnam. But when the so-called Vietnamese boatpeople fleeing the sufferings of the Vietnam War in the 1970s were given a place to stay in Puerto Princesa, they brought with them their cuisine and left a memory – Chaolong, but this time only referring beef noodle soup.

As it is but a memory, then from the beef noodle soup that Chaolong refers to in Puerto, it has evolved to cover not just beef but seafood and chicken as well, and the only distinguishing mark is the noodles.

The noodles at Basil ‘n Bowl Chaolong in Ma-a is the best, evuuuurrr. It beats all other noodles in town. The noodle soup goes with French bread which is as chewy as evuuuurrrr. Except that, since they just have a tiny, tiny space (so tiny that Edith R. of Philippine Star filled up the place. Nyahahahaha!), then they easily run out of bread as well. Last Saturday, we ate all their available bread to go with our beef, chicken, and seafood chaolong.

The place, Basil n’ Bowl is run by two ladies from Puerto Princesa who loves to eat and cook, except that they never had a restaurant in Puerto because it’s very expensive to run a restaurant there where vegetables and meat are priced so absurdly high.

Thus when they saw how shockingly fresh and affordable the farm goods are in Davao, they thought, why not? And so they opened Basil ‘n Bowl.

When we went there last Wednesday, they just reopened the day before. They were one day old. (They opened earlier but had to close when they went on a trip to Vietnam). We were gushing over the food, I forgot to ask their name.

By this time, you must be very curious and just want me to tell you where this is. Read very carefully...

Along Ma-a Road just before Sunny Point when you’re coming from the UM end of the road is a 20/20 gas station. Stop there and backtrack a few steps. At the corner of Fortune Village, which is right beside 20/20 gas station is a lotto outlet. Right beside the lotto outlet still along Ma-a Road is a sari-sari store, and right beside it is a tiny place with glass door and window. That’s it. Don’t mind that above the door is written “De Leon Store”. Just enter the glass door and chow down. Have fun!


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