Ca Phe Saigon: More Than Just a Vietnamese Restaurant

I will never get tired of hearing inspirational stories first-hand. They are not only encouraging. The recipient of the story may conclude that our gracious God continues to work in the lives of others despite its mundaneness.

Similarly, we don't get to meet people everyday who are happy and triumphant even after their uncountable obstacles that may hinder them to see the glass half full. And I was delighted to meet Mr. Sonny and Mrs. Hynh Thi Huong (Mary Rose) Bonifacio, the owners of Ca Phe Saigon.

(L-R) Mr. Sonny Bonifacio with my parents

Mrs. Hynh Thi Huong (Mary Rose) Bonifacio who later exchanged pleasantries with us

Healthier Food Choices
After the evening service, my parents and I bravely explored the streets of San Roque, Marikina to try the Vietnamese dishes this hole-in-the-wall restaurant offered. I was personally magnetized to this particular place after reading a mixture of good and unpleasant reviews from Zomato. Even the rain did not hinder us from our intent!

Pomelo Salad P220. Chunks of sweet pomelo tossed in shredded cabbage and carrots topped with shrimp and lean pork

Spicy Tamarind Pork Ribs P270. Slow cooked fall off the bone tender pork ribs basted with tamarind sauce. Served with side salad and rice.

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup P160. Vietnamese beef pho noodles served with a side of sprouts and basil leaves.

Fresh Rolls P180. Rice noodles with lettuce, mint leaves, lean pork and shrimps all rolled up and served with peanut sauce.

Vietnamese Iced Tea (tamarind and winter melon) P60 per glass and Vietnamese Iced Coffee P100

Fresh basil served for your pho and other condiments at the back

Humble Beginnings
Mr. Sonny Bonifacio, the owner of Ca Phe Saigon took his chance to find his luck in Vietnam with only $100 in his pocket in 1965. For three months, he only ate one meal per day and eventually landed a job. As a Christian, he vowed to the heavens to help other individuals for a year to repay the goodness he had reaped. He worked hard. I remembered him saying, I was from Tondo. I don't want to die poor."

In 1968, Mrs. Hynh Thi Huong (Mary Rose) Bonifacio lived in the Philippines  after Mr. Sonny captured her heart and the rest is history. They have three admirable children. Their youngest is the brain behind Ca Phe Saigon who happens to be the owner Sweet Apple Creations. The cupcakes she baked were also sold in the restaurant that used to be the family's garage while the bakeshop is located on the other side of their house. Nonetheless, the entire place was very decent, clean, brightly lighted with amiable staff ever ready to answer our questions (regarding their food).

I was also surprised to receive a recycled notebook from Mr. Bonifacio. He shared to us that he used to be the supplier of National Bookstore and had a workshop, enabling his family to earn Php1.5M every year for more than a decade.

The recycled notebook: A thoughtful gesture that touched my heart

Ca Phe Saigon has been in business for more than three years now. I only wish them the best in this industry after meeting how genuine and pure the hearts of the owners were.

I enjoyed the pomelo salad. I could eat it for days without getting tired because of its simplicity and fresh ingredients. Their spicy tamarind pork was truly tender; the flavor and level of spiciness were just right. On the contrary, the iced tea (winter melon flavor) was way too sweet. It tasted like the alatiris fruit.

I am excited to try the other salads and fried noodles. More so, I was blessed to witness what hard work, steadfast faith in our Father and passion in life can do. Ca Phe Saigon is not merely a Vietnamese restaurant. My heart was touched after meeting the Bonifacios! I hope you get the chance to meet them soon.

Ca Phe Saigon Zomato link
Ca Phe Saigon Facebook page
Address: 14 Red Cedar St. New Marikina, San Roque Marikina City1800
Contact numbers: 02 6461438 | +63 9178016411


  1. It's always helpful to know a little about a restaurant when you're a first time visitor to an area. I've never seen a restaurant with pick your own bail before.

  2. That sounds like an awesome place to eat. The food there looks so good. I want to eat there sometime soon.

  3. The food here looks tasty. I've always liked Vietnamese food. That's a pretty notebook you received as well.

  4. I would love to try some Vietnamese food. I am up for trying anything international and all of this looks really good.

  5. I love Vietnamese food for the freshness and the combination of flavors! This sounds like the perfect place to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine. Definitely worth going to!

  6. Those pork ribs and that iced tea! What a beautiful flavor combo. I could lick the screen. ;)

  7. Can’t say I have ever tried this type of food. Being healthy is a big bonus

  8. I love the story about the beginning of the restaurant! I think that finding out the restaurant and owner makes the experience even better. That food looks amazing!

  9. When I was working at the local coffee shop, I met and friended a great guy that was Vietnamese. His family owned a restaurant, and that was my first taste of their cuisine. It was delicious! This place looks like a great place to dine!

  10. What an interesting place to go for food. I have to admit I've never tried Vietnamese, but I wouldn't say no to giving it a go.

  11. This sounds like a great place to eat with a great family running it. I love their inspirational story.

  12. I've never had Vietnamese food before but I'm sure it's great! I love trying new foods.

  13. I've never tried this place. Whenever I visit my sister in the Philippines , we eat at People's Palace in Greenbelt. They have the best pomelo salad and mango sticky rice. You should try it!

  14. I've always thought Asian food to be pretty healthy. American food is loaded with grease and pesticides. Other cultures seem to have it more together than us.

  15. Wow, I am amazed on how they started and their love story as well. Indeed such humble beginnings. I hope I can drop by given the chance to go there.

  16. This looks so yummy! There’s a new Vietnamese reasturant opened up by my house and I can’t wait to visit.

  17. You are so right, the Ca-phe-saigon is more than a restaurant. The story of its humble beginnings and the owner is so fascinating.

  18. I love Vietnamese foods but i always order the same thing :) Combo Beef Soup! The pomelo salad looks so refreshing and quite healthy.


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