Chao Long Noodles in Puerto Princesa City
When you are in Puerto Princesa City, a taste of the Vietnamese food popularly known here as “Chao Long” is a must.
Aside from local seafood delights, Puerto Princesa food scene is also well-known for its Vietnamese eateries managed and owned by Vietnamese nationals that offer a rice-based noodle soup called Chao Long.
Few Vietnamese nationals, especially those married to Filipinos, opted to stay in this city of Palawan, decided to integrate themselves in the province, socially and economically.
They make Vietnamese authentic noodles, bean sprouts, and French bread and offer it in the restaurants they manage and in some outlets in downtown Puerto Princesa.
As found in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) streets, the Vietnamese Chao Long is “scrummy” porridge laden with innards or lugaw bituka in Filipino. Chao Long is made of rice noodles in sweet broth and meat that can be garnished with bean sprouts and mint leaves.
Chao Long is flat, thin rice noodles in a sweet-savory broth with your preferred meats (beef, buto-buto or beef bones, pork), served with the requisite plate containing sprigs of mint and basil, raw bean sprouts, and a piece of kalamansi.
In Puerto Princesa, a regular bowl costs only P40, while the bigger bowl with more noodles and meat amounts to P45. One Chao Long is called “beef stew” – sweetish soup laden with thin strips of beef long-cooked in a spiced broth.
The spices achuete (annatto seeds), render the soup a bright orange hue and infuse it with a rich flavor. The other is the pork, plain beef, or “buto-buto” Chao Long, except that the soup is the clear broth.
The perfect pair to Chao Long is freshly baked French bread made into a sandwich. Pork special is the bestseller – the bread is sliced lengthwise, brushed with the beef stew sauce, laden with chopped grilled pork, and spread with a mayonnaise dollop.
Out of the 2,000 Vietnamese boat people or refugees who arrived in the Philippines, around 800 could find their way to the US, while the other 800 opted to go back to Vietnam.
It can be recalled that more than 40,000 “boat people” fled to the Philippines after the Communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975.