Hoi An Shangri-La Dubai - Age-old Recipes That Bring Vietnamese Flavours To Life

ith age-old recipes that contain the brilliant balance of yin and yang from its heritage cooking method, Hoi An in Shangri-La Dubai stands the test of time by delivering the all-time-favorite Vietnamese cuisines that please all palates. mylifestylenews writes.

It is always a delight to go back to Hoi An, Shangri-La’s signature Vietnamese restaurant, especially in the Dubai establishment. The restaurant's new add-on to its interior welcomes you with the traditional perfect circular cone nón lá (leaf hat) that is appliqued to the entrance walkway light burnt-orange wall to create a certain atmosphere of Vietnam, adorned with the black iron tall gates slanted along the hallway and old framed photos of Hoi An’s historical architecture.

From winning noodle soups to French influenced gastronomy that is passed down over generations, Vietnamese food makes it deliciously obvious to be considered one of the most well-liked comfort foods not only to its own natives, but Asian as well as the westerner alike. As with other Asian cuisines, there are lots of pungent and natural fragrant herbs and ingredients used in cooking, its aromatics, heat, sweet and salty, sourness, the cooling and the warming, the fresh and the fermented together with its soul ingredient in Vietnamese food - nouc mam - the fish-sauce that mainly used in most cooking that brings the Vietnamese flavours to life.

More traditional hand painted colored lanterns with different flora and fauna motifs and even sceneries from the heritage town of Hoi An are hung all over the ceiling in the restaurant that certainly brightens the entire dining room with a more festive mood of the already blissful atmosphere.
The food in Hoi An is generally easy to please, especially from its almost never ending long listed menu with various best-shots from its most well-liked street food inspired dishes as well as plentiful of classic dishes to savour and to explore.
<Hoi An’s Signature Tasting Platter >
This is a great way to open the palate and try a variety of different flavours and this Chef selected platter is composed of 6 appetizers accompanied by Nuoc cham dipping sauce and Tuong Ot chili sauce: Lemongrass and shrimp lollipop on sugar-cane served with chili and tamarind sauce freshly delivered to open your appetite. The seafood spring roll is crisply deep-fried with subtle flavours; the stuffed banana leaf with seafood, lemongrass, coriander, tamarind sauce, rice noodles is moist and beautifully done with a distinctive flavour to please; the duck foie-gras sausage with plum sauce and peanut is no doubt the highlight of the platter selection which is simply divine; the Vietnamese banh khot mini shrimp pancakes with rice flour yellow bean, mix herbs, fish sauce and pickles is warm and delicious on all counts; the salmon roll with hoisin sauce may be a little too strong in taste that takes away the flavour of the salmon but yet still quite tasty and enjoyable. Apparently the selection of appetizers may vary each day depending on the Chef. Don’t miss out on this platter!

<Banh Khot>
We encored this dish from the platter selection by ordering a full plate. The pancakes were very soft and the springy shrimp done just so, with the mixed herbs, fish sauce and pickles adding an exotic touch to the palate. Absolute perfection!

<Traditional Pho Rau Vietnam>
This national dish of Vietnam hits one of the highest orders in any Vietnamese restaurant visit no matter where, as in Hoi an, it is to no exception. A very tasty noodle soup with excellent quality Angus beef tenderloin used as well as fresh herbs, leaf vegetables and the soup stock was redolent of herbs, beef stock and other yummy flavours that made this unmissable!

<Grilled Corn-Fed Chicken Leg>
This chicken is marinated with honey and lemon and is served with assorted vegetables. The char-grilled chicken was so tender and flavoursome and the sauce is deliberately salty, so don’t have too much, but it really adds a kick on the palate.

<Braised Beef Cheek>
This dish is textbook copy in execution, perfectly slow braised and tender beef cheeks that melts easily in the mouth together with pearl onion and carrot reminiscent of some French stewed dishes which adds that extra dimension. Fresh Vietnamese basil leafs were added for its sweet-smelling aroma that gave a distinctive to die for flavour to this dish, accompanied by a large slice of garlic French baguette to help you whet up the rich and tasty gravy.

<Bun Thit Nuong>
This dry noodle dish is a multi-composite of ingredients – vermicelli with char-grilled chicken, prawn cake, crispy spring roll, mixed herbs and fish sauce. On arrival at the table, you must mix everything up well to create a balanced dish by pouring the entire bowl of the intense Nuoc cham fish sauce, otherwise some ingredients will come to the fore more than others. As it happens, all the components having a voice that is delightful and at the same time utterly delicious!
<Grilled Salmon>
This dish was executed well but not exactly quintessentially Vietnamese in flavour , more French influenced instead. However, it will not disappoint if you want a fish dish that is more neutral in flavour and will satisfy those palates that want a comfort dish. The thinly fried salmon fish skin that sits on top of the fish as garnish is another highlight!

<Beef Tenderloin>
This is the most perfect tenderloins we have had in a long time. The grilled Australian beef tenderloin comes with sweet potato puree, asparagus and tasty black truffle sauce. Another dish that may not be classic Vietnamese, but if this is your thing, you will linger over this scrumptious and tender meat. Just don’t overdo the sauce, as it is quite salty and the beef meat speaks on its own. It is a perfect ten dish that still relates to its own culture!

<Duck Leg Confit>
The slow-cooked duck leg with Vietnamese five-spice is another winner from the Hoi An menu. It is a classic Asian way in handling a good duck dish in a unique yet traditional style. Smokey in flavour with extremely tender meat that exudes the slow-cooked technique and the five-spice add that other dimension to the meat flavour. It is definitely influenced by the French confit canard tradition and we absolutely loved it.

<Fried Rice with XO Sauce>
While rice is an essential need in most Asian meals and Hoi An fried rice with XO sauce is the most perfect fried rice we have had in a long while. Fluffy light rice have been stir-fried with the right amount of oil used to reduce greasiness and wrapped over by the lotus leaf that delivers a subtle flavour that is heavenly. A simple dish done well!

<Eggplant with Tofu>
A complex and rich stir-fired flavour in rich dark sauce and presented on a heavy stone bowl that supposedly is to give a sizzling effect. Unfortunately it came lukewarm and so not at its optimum temperature to enjoy.
Yes, we had eaten too much, as too many dishes were untried from our previous visit, but desserts still needed tasting, so we opted for contrasting flavours. The Chocomisu is a chocolate take on Tiramisu of course, but with the caramel Bavaroise added a more decadent take which was moreish.

<Coconut & Lemon>
The Coconut & Lemon was a lemon cigar on a sable biscuit with popping candy and a light and refreshing dessert with layers of divine tropical flavours.

Once again, an evening of well executed and delicious food that cannot fail to please any picky palate, unless you are a stranger to Vietnamese food that needs further guidance or even tutorial. These dishes do not scream at your palate with spicy and out of control flavours. There is a delicacy to many of the dishes that allow ingredients to unfold on your palate and Hoi An has to be the standout of Vietnamese restaurants in Dubai. For Shangri-La standard, it is eminently affordable and the ambience is second to none.

The prompt service from the front of house team is truly an asset to Hoi An. Angel and April run the place like their private dining room and never forget regular guests. They always want to know how the evening is progressing and is there anything that needs their attention. They have infectious personalities that make the evening flow smoothly with a touch of cheeky humour at times that breaks the ice of formalities. Hoi An delivers a memorable dining experience that makes you want to come back and the menu is extensive enough to bring Vietnamese flavours to life and worthy of repeat visits. So, why wait!

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4/5
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Service: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
Experience: 4.5/5

Fried Rice with XO Sauce
Beef Tenderloin

Sheikh Zayed Road,
P.O. Box 75880
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 4 405 2703
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.

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