42 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday to Tuesday, Thursday to Friday), and 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Saturday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Tucked amid lush greenery, and with a layout that emphasizes lots of open space, Phat Buddha is a zen hideaway in White Plains. The peaceful vibe extends inside, with the décor kept to a few knickknacks owners Dale Liwanag and Fru Malijian have collected from their frequent visits to Vietnam, China, Taiwan, and other Asian countries, and the floor-to-ceiling glass that surrounds the place making it feel even more welcoming.
Despite the way it sounds, “phat” in Phat Buddha does not actually refer to Buddha’s famous rotund body. “Phat actually means Buddha, too, but in Vietnamese,” explains Fru. “So when you translate it, it’s ‘Buddha Buddha.’”
You can also buy Trung Nguyen coffee (P385) from the Phat Buddha shop
Not only is the name catchy; it’s also the right fit for the restaurant, which focuses on Vietnamese-Chinese cuisine. “When we visited Hanoi [in Vietnam], we noticed that the northernmost regions have a lot of Chinese influences,” shares Dale. “It’s something we wanted to explore here at Phat Buddha.”
The two are actually not new to Vietnamese cuisine. Aside from their frequent trips to the Southeast Asian country, Dale is also one of the owners of Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen. If Bawai’s keeps things simple and fresh, Dale, who also heads the kitchen, wants to explore something different for Phat Buddha. “We wanted bolder, heavier flavors here,” he shares.
Char Siu Roll
The Char Siu Roll (P335) is a perfect example. Dale takes the traditional Vietnamese fresh spring roll and adds chunks of pork belly
Braised Then Grilled Soy Pork Belly Ribs
Dale doesn’t hold back on flavoring the Braised Then Grilled Soy Pork Belly Ribs (P445), either. Dale and Fru used to own Smokin’ Cues in the same location, so it’s no surprise they know their barbecue. Braising the hefty cuts of pork belly in sweet soy sauce results in fork-tender
Beef, Meatballs & Vegetables Bun Bo Hue Hotpot
The Beef, Meatballs & Vegetables Bun Bo Hue Hotpot (P395) is the kind of bowl you’ll look for after a heavy rainstorm. Noodles, beef strips, mushroom meatballs, beef meatballs, cabbage, tomatoes, and mushrooms all swim in a light broth full of beefy goodness. We wouldn’t be surprised if we opened a dictionary and found this as the definition of comfort.
Yuanyang Coffee With Jasmine Tea
Phat Buddha doesn’t hold back with their serving sizes, so you’d be understandably full after a feast. Still, find the space for a cup of their Yuanyang Coffee With Jasmine Tea (P125/hot, P135/iced). Vietnamese coffee and jasmine tea leaves are steeped together in a drip coffee maker, then condensed milk is added to the blend. The result is sweet and creamy coffee, but with floral notes from the tea. It may not be your usual cuppa, but you might just find yourself looking for that unique blend again and again.
Dale and Fru share that once things have settled down at Phat Buddha, they plan to donate part of their earnings to CRIBS Foundation, which takes care of abandoned babies and abused girls. “Hopefully by December, we can send a donation, just in time for Christmas,” shares Fru. It’s just one more reason to pay this unassuming little restaurant a visit—that
Photos by Majoy Siason