Wednesday, September 25, 2019

First Bite: VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque & Hotpot

Korean barbecue is one of the hottest food trends these past few years. We’ve seen so many shops open here and there. I had no idea though that Vietnam also has something similar to this till I visited VBQ.

Hello, VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque & Hotpot.
VBQ is one of the newest spots to check out in Poblacion.
Its warm industrial interiors has that street vibe that transports you to the busy city center of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.
While waiting for the rest of my friends, I had a glass of Guyabano Lychee (PHP125).
I was surprised that it was served in a plastic container similar to those you get from milk tea shops. Though cute, I wish that they start using reusable containers and limit plastic cups to take out orders.
I found my drink to be extremely sweet especially with the sugar burst from the popping boba. I had to put two glasses of water for it to reach the level of sweetness I like. Turns out you can request for your drink to be less sweet. I was just not aware of it. (Perk though of having too sweet drinks is that you end up having two to three servings for the price of one!)
I liked VBQ House Blend Iced Tea (PHP125) more as it had that defined tea taste.
For starters, we had Fried Oyster Mushroom (PHP250), Banh Xeo (PHP250), Fresh Spring Rolls (PHP180) and Papaya Salad (PHP220).
The Fried Oyster Mushroom comes with house made peanut sauce and Nuoc Cham. I found the slightly spiced peanut sauce a bit off for the light dish but Nuoc Cham was perfect! I just wished that the oyster mushrooms were crispier. It would have been great too if it was lightly battered.
VBQ's Banh Xeo was different from the ones I've had before. Bright yellow fluid oozed out as soon as we sliced the Vietnamese pancake. I was a bit worried that it was egg yolk which could be a bit scary to eat raw. It turns out that it was batter making it totally safe.
I love the balance and contrast of textures of this dish. Crunchy yet soft and lightly flavored. But I still prefer my pancakes dry.
The Fresh Spring Rolls were also good though nothing extraordinary.
The Papaya Salad was your usual Asian salad. This is a must have if plan to order meats too as this also serves as a palate cleanser.
First time VBQ diners should grab a plate or two of Bun Thit Nuong (PHP290).
Also known as Obama Noodles after Anthony Bourdain brought Obama to a noodle shop in Vietnam, this deconstructed rice noodle bowl is nothing short of scrumptious. The grilled meat was charred to perfection and the fried spring roll, pork sausage and greens made this dish extra filling. Make sure to mix everything well and drizzle it with Nuoc Cham for that harmonious blend of flavors and textures.
We also had Suon Khia (PHP320) which was good too and would go great with rice.
I found the Steamed Local Shrimps (PHP580) a bit pricey. Better to skip this one if you have limited budget for your meal. But if you prefer to get a plate, make sure to enjoy it with the delectable Nuoc Cham!
VBQ offers a good variety of cooked dishes and raw meats for grilling with prices ranging from PHP120 to PHP490.
The meats, though marinated to a more herb-y sauce, tasted not very far from the other meats elsewhere. I liked that the list is rather extensive though which caters to everyone. It was also nice that the staff can do the grilling for you as I dislike grilling and having to deal with heat and smoke.
Do note that the place tends to be very smokey when full. I ended up tearing up when the place got packed with almost everyone grilling meats.

The place too is al fresco and could get a bit warm when crowded. Make sure to put on insect repellent too. I got bitten a few times while there.
Overall, VBQ is a refreshing take on Vietnamese cuisine. Though I couldn't say that it's authentic as it is quite different from the other Vietnamese restaurants I've tried in Manila and Vietnam, there are some dishes here I'd be willing to go back for. And plus points for having parking!

VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque & Hotpot is located at 4969 Guerrero Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

VBQ Vietnamese Barbeque Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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