The first time I visited Palawan last May 2014, one of the main food I was munching on was Chao Long – a Filipino-Vietnamese dish that has been made into one of Puerto Princesa’s local food because of its own Vietnamese community who came to Palawan to seek asylum after the Vietnam War in 1975.
Most of us know Palawan is a place where beautiful islands and good diving spots are just a banca ride away. The Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the New7Wonders for its ecotourism, is also found in this side of the world. So I am not going to talk about those things.
Like my previous post about how Palawan is one of the best places in the Philippines for traveling vegetarians, Chao Long is another must-eat when you come to this side of the country. I have gone to at least four places where Chao Long is being served in different ways.
Tip: Go for the least popular that you don’t get to read about online but has most locals in it.
We normally cook our own food however there are days that I felt like going around to find good bites. And since I was really curious about how Puerto Princesa’s Chaolong originated, I decided to visit the dwindling Vietnamese community.
Only a few Vietnamese from the original refugees are left after they have been allowed to go back to Vietnam while some chose to migrate to the US and other countries. Some of those who have stayed are those who have already made a living through local businesses, married with Filipinos and/or are already the second generation. One of them has opened his own Vietnamese – Filipino fusion restaurant in the city center.
This is why when we arrived in Viet Ville, it felt like a ghost town located just 5 kilometers away from the city center of Puerto Princesa or a little more than a kilometer away from Honda Bay.
When we arrived just after noon time, only one table was occupied by another group that we made friends with each other.
They have so much food to choose from that we almost had one kind of each. However, the server told us that they usually get their ingredients fresh so some of the food in the menu especially the seafood were not available by the time we got there.
The food didn’t disappoint us at all. It was what we were looking for – authentic Vietnamese cuisine in the beautiful forest island of Palawan. The menu is also much cheaper than most Vietnamese restaurants in the city.
How to get to Viet Ville: need to hire a tricycle which will cost you around P500-P600. Instead, take a jeepney from the city center that goes to Sta. Monica for only P25/per passenger unless you’re in a group tour with a van. Make sure to tell the driver to drop you off Viet Ville. Most of the time, they wouldn’t go further when all of the passengers have gone down.
Going back to the city: Walk a little over 500 meters, wait for a jeepney down the corner before heading towards Honda Bay Wharf. Or if you’re planning to go island hopping around Honda Bay, make Viet Ville a part of your itinerary!
Lastly, you’ll probably head to El Nido on your second day in Palawan, drop by Viet Ville for lunch before you head out of Palawan.
Sadly, Viet Ville doesn’t get much customers like other restaurants that have tied up with travel/tours agencies. But there’s a reason why this restaurant is still up and running – its good food, appreciation to the Filipinos who accepted them and its remnants of a once alive community far away from home.