A new restaurant in Salcedo Village lets you get creative and playful with your favorite Pinoy soups by letting you design your own sabaw, or rather–'sabao'.
The team behind Sabao Filipino Soup Bar (Mothership F&B Enterprise, which includes restaurateur Erwan Heussaff) call themselves the new wave of soup makers, putting our favorite hearty Filipino soups front and center. In this metro of ours teeming with bowls of Japanese ramen and a pretty good selection of Vietnamese pho, it's about time that an establishment takes our sabaw to a different level.
How does Sabao create its own delicious spin on our beloved broths like sinigang, tinola, and bulalo? First, all broths at this restaurant are made from scratch, simmered for sixteen hours, and are all natural — no artificial powdering and quick flavor fixes here, just how the Japanese create their slow-cooked authentic ramen. The next fun feature in this soup is now in the hands of the customer, where one can customize his or her broth similar to how one can load up a bowl of ramen — add your favorite ingredients.
How to Get Sabao in Three Steps:
1) Choose Your Favorite Soup: There are 5 Sabaws to choose from — Bulalo (P326), Tinola (P296), Sinigang (P324/with Glazed Pork Belly, P314/with Shrimp, P307/just Vegetables), Molo (P312/with Pork-Chicken, P307/with Vegetable), Binakol (P296)
2) Pick Your Starch on The Side (Or in Your Soup): There are three Noodles (Sotanghon, Canton, Misua at P50/order) and three kinds of Rice (Brown, Red, Garlic White Rice at P65/order). Dump them in your soup bowl –yes, rice included, you won't be judged. Rice swimming on Sinigang soup is one of my absolute comfort food favorites, as it is the way I eat it at home! Now at Sabao you can play around and even mix in noodles to your broth.
3) Add Toppings: Extras for your sabaw or bowls range from P30 to P90 per order, should you want more veggies or protein in your meal. Some toppings are Dahon ng Sibuyas (scallions, P30), Kang Kong (water spinach, P30), Crispy Bawang (garlic chips, P45), Piniritong Saging na Saba (fried saba, P45), Baboy (pork belly, P90), and Manok (chicken breast, P90).
Sip, Slurp, and Grab Other Bites
They currently offer one size for all their soups, and the bowl is just about as hefty as a standard ramen bowl — it's more than one's fill for a meal if the hunger is just average, or two orders of soup split by three friends can be your game plan (this way, you try out more broths in one visit). Your Sabaw isn't just a bowl of broth, it's already loaded with vegetables and your choice of meat or seafood. The Sinigang with Sampaloc Glazed Pork Belly (P324) was a stunner, with broth so flavorful I was questioning my decision of splitting a bowl with my companions. With broth lipsmackingly sour and pork belly so luscious, I just had to drop spoonfuls of Red Rice (P65) on my cup.
Another favorite sabaw is their chicken Binakol (P296), a local soup that's not as popular as the cool kids like Sinigang or Bulalo, but one must try Sabao's version of this. It is pretty much taking your Tinola broth and incorporating coconut juice, giving it a distinct sweetness that translates to happiness in every sip of it. We decided to be playful with this order and mix in Misua (P50), creating a Pinoy pho of sorts (and yes, it works!).
If you aren't seeking for the comfort of soup, Sabao still has you covered with other food: there are Noodles or Rice Bowls topped with Pork (P362), Chicken (P352), Shrimp (P364), Beef (P382), and Mochiko (P359) — an interesting spiced fried chicken with a crisp rice flour batter. They also have steamed and stuffed Bao (the 'bao' in the Sabao is my good guess), all at P98 per bao. Other sides to snack on or pair with your meal include Pan Seared Molo (P165), Mochiko Chicken (P165), and Beef Salpicao (P178). Three Filipino desserts available: Halo-Halo (P95), Leche Flan (P95), and Ice Candy (P63).
Visit Sabao Filipino Soup Bar at the ground floor of Signa Designer Residences, Valero corner Rufino Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati. It is located in between Bait's Seafood Kitchen and Sprout. The restaurant is open daily from 11am to 11pm. Like Sabao in Facebook (/SabaoSoupBar), follow on Instagram and Twitter (@SabaoSoupBar).