Going south is a trek. It is far in distance and quite expensive as far as increasing prices of gasoline and toll fees are concerned. So for someone who lives there it is best to stay in the area and enjoy what it has to offer. As for people like me who are based in Makati, I try to maximize every visit whether it is for work or to spend time with loved ones. Having said that, anyone who likes the Alabang charm will be delighted to know that Town recently opened a new wing.
Most of the brand new additions to the Alabang Town Center list of brands are restaurants. One of those brands is Xoi Vietnamese Kitchen that is brought to you by the same people behind Aquaknox in Pasay Road in Makati. Servers clad in outfits reminiscent of Vietnamese locals, which is quite a nice touch, welcomed us. Once seated, I looked around and immediately felt relaxed. The entire inside seating area is quite small and I can imagine how noisy and crowded it can get once full. But we were lucky that even during peak lunch hour, only about half of the tables are filled so we can actually go about our meeting without having any problems of hearing each other properly.
I was quite excited to taste the food since I was leaving for Vietnam the next few days. This is a good way of practicing my palate although, of course, I always know that nothing beats eating food in its actual place of origin. Also, the past Lenten days I tried not to eat meat, and I know I will have as much choices in a Vietnamese restaurant than elsewhere.
Bo Bia Chay
We had the Bo Bia Chay (P100), a vegetarian roll with some egg in it, as an appetizer and it certainly did its job of making us look forward to our choices for main course.
Tom Rim Man
We decided to order some of their rice plate specialties along with a bowl of noodle soup. Sticking to my sacrifice, I did not succumb to any forbidden dish even if the menu photos and description were such temptations. I ordered the Tom Rim Man (P195), caramelized garlic shrimp and scallion. The shrimps were not as fresh as I wanted them to be, although I did taste a hint of its awesome flavor.
Suon Cot-Let Nuong
No one can blame me then if I stared longingly at the Suon Cot-Let Nuong (P175), grilled spicy pork chop, sitting across me. I was told that the meat was tender and the spicy flavor really stands out in a good way. Note to self: come back after lent and order this item that is apparently not to be missed.
Additional ingredients for Pho Chay
It was a good move to order one more dish of Pho Chay (P180), a purely vegetarian rice noodle soup, because this one really filled my tummy in a good way. For some reason I was able to mix in the additional ingredients prepared separately into the bowl. This is a rare occurrence for someone like me who only lifts utensils to put things into my mouth and not to experiment with food to come up with a tasty broth.
Overall, it was a fairly good dining experience. If you are in the area and you have the time, this place is worth a try. And if you take into consideration the price and the generous servings, then Xoi is definitely at an advantage.