Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls (summer rolls is named here) with light and crispy deep fried soft shell crab wrapped with vermicelli, vegetables and herbs were delicious. With four rolls, it was just the right portion size for a starter to whet the appetite, served with home-made fish sauce which was not overly salty and made the perfect dipping to add a zing on the palate.
<Goi cuon ca hoi - Salmon Fresh Summer Rolls>
Another fresh Vietnamese spring (summer) rolls dish was recommended. Once again 4 well-sliced small rice paper rolls with a generous serve of fresh chunky salmon was equally delicious, topped with long tail chive sticking out from the wrap that is truly represent an authentic style of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls presentation.
Four pieces of crispy soft mini pancakes made from rice flour were beautifully presented on a lettuce leaf in a bite-size that is simply appetizing. Topped with shrimps and a combination of yellow bean, mixed herbs, fish sauce and pickles to be well enjoyed and eaten by hand in one mouthful at a time. A must try!
Pho is a must-have when you dine in a Vietnamese restaurant. Hoi An’s pho comes with a choice of Angus beef tenderloin, organic chicken or tiger prawns. The soup is made with beef stock that has been boiled for at least 9 hours which was self-evident in the taste. The medium size noodle soup we opted seems a little less than expected and came along with 100g of thin sliced beef that was lightly blanched and well placed in the hot broth to have its “final cooking” from the heat of the soup by itself when it is brought to the table. This is a simple, yet much loved national dish that was very light in taste and tasty with a smooth texture of noodles to slurp. Despite the beef wasn’t as tender as we had hoped, but still tasty nonetheless. Worth the order still as it truly represents a classic taste of Vietnam.
Stuffed Banana Leaf with Seafood, Lemongrass, coriander, Tamarind Sauce, Rice Noodle>
Don’t let this long-winded name refrain you from ordering it. Akin to street food in its style, this starter is an absolute hit! The seafood was mixed to a paste form texture and pan-fried over banana leaf to extract the aroma while it was being cooked together. All the ingredients perfectly blended to create a seamless taste of ‘fish cake’ with aromatic herbs on the palate. Delicious at every bite and a quintessential taste of Vietnam and highly recommended!
<Bo kho kieu sai gon – Saigon Style Braised Australian Beef Cheek>
Slow braised Australian beef cheek is cooked with pearl onion and carrot reminiscent
of some French stewed dishes. Fresh Vietnamese basil leafs were added for its sweet-smelting aroma that gave a distinctive flavour to this dish. The beef cheek was utterly tender and melts easily in the mouth and well accompanied with a bowl of fragrant Vietnamese jasmine rice as well as a large slice of garlic French baguette. We couldn’t fault this dish and we made short work of it and it was so good that before you knew it, it was all gone. A beef lover’s delight and simply divine!
Big size chunky prawns are served with a rather overpowering tamarind sauce, a small dip is recommended to your liking as the crunchy deep-fried prawns are best to enjoy by themselves from the marinade. Sometimes less is more!
Wok-Fried Sea Bream, Curry Sauce, Baby Eggplant, Fresh Basil>
The rich, thick and aromatic curry sauce was perfectly judged, being unctuous and piquant, but not too overpowering to allow the fish to still shine through as the main ingredient. It smelled so good before we even tasted it. This thick cut chunky sea bream was lightly battered and deep fried before being cooked with the milky curry sauce for a different complexity on the palate in this generous portion. This is a wonderful dish with a great combination of flavours not only from its vibrant color presentation and the taste is to “dine” for. While not exactly a quintessential Vietnamese dish, it is a hit with us!
When it comes to stir-fried noodles dishes, this new add-on certainly has its added value to delight your palate. Four generous huge scallops that were stirred fried with the Vietnamese pho in high heat wok that generates the smoky wok flavours that was quite delicious. Another way to enjoy this comfort food with an elevation is to pour over the curry sauce from the previous dish which compliments each other quite well.
<Ngu nam xao toi voi dau hao - Five Types of Sauteed Mushrooms,
Garlic in Oyster Sauce>
A light palate vegetarian cleanser with a mélange of assorted mushroom flavours lightly stir-fried with oyster sauce that is simply enjoyable.
<Bun thit nuong - Vermicelli with Char-Grilled Chicken, Prawn Cake,
Crispy Spring Roll, Mixed Herbs, Fish Sauce>
Bun is like a noodle salad that can be served with a variation of meat like beef, chicken, pork, seafood etc and served with a large portion of homemade herbs fish sauce - where fish sauce is the soul ingredient in most Vietnamese cooking and dishes, tossed well and enjoy every condiments bit by bit. This dish was beautifully cooked with some quintessential lemongrass char-grilled flavours from the chicken as well as the prawn cake aka prawn lollipop wrapped on a juicy sugar cane stick. The crispy spring roll didn’t disappoint either.
Banana Ginger Syrup, Coconut Pandan Sauce with Pandan Ice Cream>
Yummy is the only word to describe this flavorsome dessert. It may sound rich and yet came in the right portion with a firm and milky texture Pandan ice cream which nonetheless is absolutely homemade. What a great dessert to finish the evening with and more than just a palate cleanser with a sweet sensation. So organically refreshing, as it is filled with raw aromatics of the pandan flavour that we enjoyed to the full!