Do you like Vietnamese food? Admittedly, I didn’t. It’s not because I don’t like their dishes per se, it’s just that I can count with my fingers how many times I’d been to a Vietnamese restaurant in Manila. It’s not as ubiquitous as Japanese or Chinese restaurants. It didn’t have a chance to grow on me.
Recently, I was invited to Chi Em Gai — a newly opened Vietnamese restaurant in Eton Centris, QC. This was the opportunity for me to rediscover Vietnamese food and find my liking for Vietnamese coffee — especially egg coffee!
Come check out Chi Em Gai with me in this feature.
Chi Em Gai
Chi Em Gai offers healthy Vietnamese food catered to Filipino taste. “Chi em gai” literally means sisters — the restaurant was founded by 2 sisters who love Vietnamese cuisine.
Location and ambiance
Chi Em Gai is located in Eton Centris (beside Assi Fresh). It’s a bit hidden and there were no signboards pointing to its location yet during my visit so it’s easy to get lost.
The interior has a modern look, with light and earth colors and a beautiful mural of 2 Vietnamese women. I love that it’s creative and easy to the eyes at the same time.
We tried the bestsellers at Chi Em Gai. As said above, this restaurant offers Vietnamese cuisine that’s close to original as possible, but the taste is also tweaked to suit Filipinos. Still, if you’ve visited Vietnam at one point, you’ll still appreciate the familiar flavors here at Chi Em Gai.
For starters, we had cha gio (fried spring rolls; P109), which comes with dark sauce and fish sauce. This tastes similar to lumpiang shanghai, but with more vegetables in the ingredients. If you’re looking for an appetizer which is good for sharing, this is a good choice to have.
We then had fresh spring rolls, which is one of their bestsellers. Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are basically veggies and vermicelli wrapped in rice paper, usually with a type of meat. Here you can choose among goi cuon (shrimp; P268), goi cuon thit heo (pork; P258) and goi cuon ga (chicken; P248). A plate comes with peanut sauce.
I love the light and freshness of the spring rolls. This is one of the dishes I would definitely recommend at Chi Em Gai.
For the noodles, we had pho bo (beef noodle soup; P149 good for 1 person). Vegetables and garnishes are served on a separate plate. This has a delicious, light-tasting broth and the beef slices are thin and tender. It’s also tastier than the last pho I tried, which temporarily made me swear off pho.
We also had dry noodles called bun thit nuong (noodles with grilled pork; P279). The noodles has a fish sauce dressing and you have to mix it together. As above, I love how this dish tastes so light. Filipinos will love the grilled pork which is similar to our pork liempo. One bowl is good for sharing.
We also had uc ga trong sot toi mat ong (chicken breast fillet in honey garlic sauce; P419). This is delicious especially when paired with rice, just make sure to scoop up enough sauce because that’s where the flavor is. (Somehow, it reminds me of hainanese chicken.)
The tom xau voi rau tron (stir-fried shrimps with vegetables; P479) is a crowd-pleaser — all of us liked it. There’s a generous serving of shrimps, the bean sprouts are fresh and crunchy and the fact that you’re eating vegetables makes it guilt free.
Lastly, we had xien thit lon (pork skewers; P269). I love the grilled, smoky flavor of the skewer and the meat is fat and juicy. For 3 sticks with huge pieces of pork meat, this is very sulit. We noticed though that each stick is not cooked evenly so the other end was a bit raw.
Let’s move on to the drinks, which I’m very excited about. Vietnam is famous for their delicious coffees, so of course we had to try it ourselves! The wait for the drinks was entertaining because we could watch how the drinks were being made.
We had ca phe trung (egg coffee; P139). For the uninitiated, egg coffee is made by beating up egg yolk and condensed milk for 10 minutes until it becomes an airy, creamy fluff and then pouring it on top of hot espresso or iced coffee. I so love this drink — the fluffy topping was so light and creamy. I would visit Chi Em Gai again in the future just to have this one.
Chi Em Gai also offers a cold version called egg coffee float. This is a new item in their menu because their Filipino customers kept asking for a cold glass of the egg coffee. This is good especially if you like sweets. as it has ice cream and chocolate drizzle on top.
Overall, I found a new liking to Vietnamese food thanks to Chi Em Gai. Sometimes I’d like to eat but want to have something light — in which case this is perfect for me. Also, as said above, their egg coffee is really good. You should try dining here when you’re around Quezon City.
About Chi Em Gai
Chi Em Gai is a Vietnamese restaurant. It offers ala carte, combo meals and group meals.
Address: Cluster 2, Retail 13, ETON Centris Walk EDSA, cor. Quezon Avenue, Quezon City (beside Assi Fresh)
Opening hours: 11AM to 11PM (daily) / 12AM to 4AM (except Mon-Sun)
Suggested budget for 2 people: P500-700
Disclaimer: Thanks Chi Em Gai for feeding me! As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have you been to Chi Em Gai? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!