I can’t even begin to verbalize how much I love Vietnamese food. Of all the Asian cuisines, it is simply the best – other than Filipino, of course. So, imagine my delight when I found out I can get some banh mi in Bataan!THE PLACE
Located in the town of Morong, Loleng’s Hu Tieu-An has an interesting origin story. Its founder, Aling Loleng, used to work at the nearby Philippine Refugee Processing Center (now the Bataan Techno Park) where refugees from the Second Indochina War (aka Vietnam War) took temporary shelter in the 70s and 80s. Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese refugees stayed in the camp, some of whom became friends of Aling Loleng. They imparted to her recipes of some of their traditional dishes, and these stayed with Aling Loleng long after her friends had left.
Started in the 90s, Loleng’s Hu Tieu-An is located in a somewhat out-of-the-way residential street and wears the accouterments of a Filipino carinderia. It is a simple, non-AC eatery with red tables and plastic chairs. It looks nothing like Pho Hoa. But, as it were, we mustn't judge the book by its cover.
The eatery gets its name from its best-selling dish: Hu Tieu. A hearty soup that’s more Chinese than Vietnamese, to be honest, as evidenced by the more flavorful soup compared to pho. It’s still delicious, though. Tastes more like Filipino, but I’m not at all complaining. You can choose between Vietnamese rice noodles (Php50), or plain noodles for your Hu Tieu (Php35).
A Filipino version of the beloved Vietnamese sandwich banh mi is also served here in Loleng’s. Instead of the trademark French baguette, the banh mi (Php50) here is served in plain buns. The flavors are quite far off, but still very tasty.
There’s also my favorite Bun Cha Gio (Php50) – rice noodle salad topped with Vietnamese spring rolls. Its variation Bun Tit Nuong (Php50), with grilled pork, was likewise divine.
Loleng’s is a self-service eatery and everything here is efficient. There’s a mini sari-sari store as well as “short orders” of common Filipino snacks. Drinking water is also available over at the far corner. Serving time is reasonable, and there are plenty of seats. I’ve been told, however, the place can still get packed.
My lord, another reason I love Bataan. I would be in Loleng’s everyday if I live in Morong. I could eat their food all day everyday. It’s cheap. It’s delicious. And it’s a nice way to satiate a Vietnamese food craving. I miss bun cha gio – it’s the best thing in the world!
Mayor's Street, Barangay Binaritan, Morong, Bataan
Mondays to Sundays, 7AM to 9PM