Have you bean here?

The first time I read about it was on Twitter. Thanks to a Saigon Warmer (Heat’s alternative basketball team) mate @tamkaizen , I discovered another good-value-for-money dining in Saigon!

So on my birthday, I decided to spend sort of intimate celebration with just my mum and my two kids at the Bean Store. I gave the address to the taxi driver and from Notre Dame Cathedral where we’d heard mass, it only took about 5 minutes to get to the place. It looked very simple on the exterior- a transparent glass with the label and through the glass door I could see through it three neatly outfitted service crew who welcomed us with warm smile and very good English!

The ground floor has the counter, the prominent kitchen (eating about 40% of the space), and the dining area which could cater to at least 12 people. The best thing about the kitchen is that you could see how food is prepared and boy talk about 5-star sanitation! Kitchen peeps do wear hair net, apron and gloves; clean towels, sanitizing liquids, and a number of tongs and spatulas for designated flavors or ingredients are explicitly available for viewing to give you confidence in the food they prepare. Having worked as Production Controller in my teens at Jollibee I should know what cleanliness and sanitation in the kitchen means.

At first we thought seating ourselves at the ground floor area was okay. On the wall are two boards where pictures of their main dishes, deserts and drinks are posted. That was kind of handy as my kids could easily spot what they wanted to try. So we ordered something familiar- takoyaki, a popular ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special pan. I used to snack on these when I was teaching in university so this one has some sentimental value. And I was glad The Bean Store gave justice to my first order- their takoyaki was deliciously flavored, adequately made with fresh veggies and spices. ‘YUM’ sad I and so did my little ones.

The eldest decided to explore the first floor (or second floor as we call it back home) so we went up with him. The stairs, I could say, are wide enough-contrary to narrow and steep ones in most Vietnamese cafes- so I needn’t help my kids in taking the steps. The space on this floor seems bigger, probably because the seats and tables used are rather minimalist but comfort was fortunately not sacrificed. The furniture are mostly made of light-colored hard wood and built with some transparent glasses. As a dad, my utmost concern was that there were no sharp edges or protruding nails, and they were strong enough to serve their purpose. ‘CHECK’ said I and so did my little ones.

Blame it on the boards, my juniors and I spotted another set of tantalizing food on the boards. So I raised my hand ( as I would do back home) and ordered for taiyaki, a Japanese fish-shaped cake. Kiddos couldn’t decide which flavor to get so asked for two-one of them was durian, a family favorite. ‘NUM’ said my little ones and so did I.

Blame it this time on my mood,  I ordered for more-this time, a ginger-flavored soya milk and their original flavor for my mum. The matriarch, sitting right next to the board of pictures, couldn’t resist the temptation of the mouth-watering chicken satay meal so she had it for lunch and I had the Spam Musubi- prepared like the Korean Kimbap, the dish originates from the Japanese in Hawaii . A few minutes later our food and drinks were served on our table and we feasted on them. ‘BURP’ said mum and so did I and my little ones.

Apart from the food, cleanliness and service, I think I should mention that the music is good at the Bean Store. Being a non-smoking dad, I also like it that the place is a nicotine-free area and I hope they will keep it that way. On top of Free WIFI, what made me happier was the price of their food. $16 for my mini-birthday bash was indeed GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY. ‘YEY’ said I and so did my pocket.

To date, I have visited the Bean Store three times already. @herdailydigest likes the place too although she prefers her coffee hot.