Now that hubby is here for a vacation, we’ve been trying out different kinds of cuisine in different restaurants since he arrived. As such, i would be posting much about food and sharing my photos so here goes…

On this culinary journey, we visited Hugs and Kisses i, which is just my funny way to read XOi (pronounced soy) based on the universal acronym XO (meaning hugs and kisses).  Well, XOi is in fact, a vietnamese word meaning sticky rice and also the name of the newly opened restaurant at the mall. Its cozy ambiance is highlighted by the red walls printed with white flowers. The interior is contemporary and i love the native woven mats as placemats.


For starter, we ordered mon nuong dac biet which is actually a combination of satay, prawns sugarcane, crispy calamari and crispy rolls. My favorite among these are the crispy rolls, and their tangy, spicy and garlicky dipping sauce really complements it. The satay is also a favorite. Our waiter was kind enough to tell us how to eat them which is wrapping it in lettuce leaves before taking a really big bite.

mon nuong dac biet P300 (about $7.14)

dipping sauce

My son ordered the tom nuong voi mi toi which is grilled prawns served with garlic noodles. Prawns are tender and grilled to perfection.

tom nuong voi mi toi P285.00 (about $6.78)

I ordered pho bo which is rice noodles soup with beef brisket and raw sliced beef. Note: raw beef is so thinly sliced that the hot boiling soup really cooked it perfectly and it tastes good. I added the condiments that goes with it and it tasted even better.

pho bo P210.00 (about $5.00)

extra condiments for pho bo

Hubby ordered mi my tho which is egg noodles soup with shrimp, ground pork, and pork slices. This has a little hint of spiciness which packs in more flavor to the soup.

mi my tho P215.00 (about $5.12)

Craving for some veggies, he also ordered bok choy voi nam which is bok choy with mushroom and oyster sauce.

bok choy voi nam

My daughter ordered ganuong ngu vi huong which is grilled five spice chicken with herbs.

ganuong ngu vi huong P175.00 (about $4.16)

The highlight of this culinary adventure is the naked crab served with garlic noodles. The crab is cooked divinely. It is garlicky but sweet.  Most of all, since it was ‘naked’, it’s the more that we enjoyed every single bite, tasting the sweetness of the crab meat accompanied by the flavorful garlic noodles. This dish accounted for almost half of our bill. Being shelled and ready to eat, this makes it quite expensive.

cua rang muoi toi (price depends on weight of crab)

For dessert, we had the fried banana drizzled with chocolate syrup served with vanilla icing on top.

fried banana with ice cream and choco syrup

As a form of gratitude, the waiter handed us a P50.00 gift certificate which could be used on our next visit. Shall i visit it again? Yes, not only to make use of the gift certificate but also to try their other specialties.

xoi gift certificate

Watch out for our next foodtrip and join us in our quest of the best food in town …

banapple pies & cheesecakes

banapple pies & cheesecakes

Last weekend, family bonding time was spent eating at Banapple Pies & Cheesecakes, a newly opened restaurant at the mall.  It was lunchtime and as such we’re on queue #5 and waited for a while to be seated.  After several minutes, we were led to our table and immediately noticed the cute and colorful design of the table top that reminds me of sweet M&M’s.

cute table top design

The place is a little bit small with only a few seating capacity but i love the interior. There is a homey kind of feeling in it because of the lovely decorations adorning the wall as well as the beautiful lighting fixtures and chandeliers on the ceiling.

wall decoration

wall shelves with an assortment of cute and colorful decors

lighting fixtures

a close up view of the chandelier

Food is ordered at the cashier.  Good thing that while on queue i already listed our orders which made me save some time ordering our meals.

ceasar salad P120.00

baked rolled lasagna P180.00

baked rolled lasagna

baked cheesy penne pasta P185.00

panfried porkloin P180.00

hickory BBQ ribs P185.00

banana berry cake P120.00

I love the cheesy goodness of the baked rolled lasagna.  The hickory ribs are moist and meat is tender.  Serving portion is generous, their slice of cake is larger than those served in most coffee shops.  Price is reasonable since we are a group of 4 and i spent only P1,100.00.

racks restaurant

While my daughter was celebrating her birthday with her classmates in another restaurant, my son and I decided to try out the newly opened Racks Restaurant at the mall.

The interior is well-lighted, it’s clean and it has a homey touch into it because of the use of wall decors that we usually find in our homes.

racks restaurant southmall branch

racks restaurant southmall branch

racks restaurant southmall branch

The combination of wood and stone in its interior is brilliant. It made the place oozing with warmth and happiness.  The place is literally covered with lots of lighting and i love its overall brightness.

Now here comes the good part… food.

pink lemon cooler

house salad

The house salad tastes good.  I love the fruitiness taste of the dressing.  Crispy julienned apples, and the wonderful crunch of crushed pili nuts make it more appetizing.  I just find the 2 pieces of garlic bread not necessary.  I ended up not eating them at all.   Price P140.00 or about $3.30

pork ribs half rack

The pork ribs taste good but i find the meat a little bit dry.  No problem though, their home BBQ sauce will do the trick.  I’ve chosen corn and carrot and coleslaw as side dishes.  My bad, i should not have chosen coleslaw having already ordered their house salad.  Price P450.00 or about $10.60

angus beef

My son had angus beef with mashed potato and corn and carrot side dishes.  I managed to have a bite of the angus beef and the meat is tender and cooked nicely.  Price 595.00 or about $14.00