Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nha Trang

It's always good to catch up with the girls as they are generally quite sensible. I must be getting old too as these days I actually prefer moderate drinking and some good food. The days of getting tanked with no food and drinking tequila at 3am are over. Well at least not on a week night.

By 9pm and 4 glasses of wine later I was more than happy when they suggested a Vietnamese restaurant nearby. The place was still packed when we got there! We had to wait briefly for about 10 mins for the smooching couple to leave, but it was fun practicing our get-a-room venomous stare.

By the time we sat down we were more than hungry. We picked a number of items from the reasonably big menu and our arrived quickly.

Our spring rolls arrived piping hot. I was going to use the lattice to wrap it up but then it was so crispy and fresh I decided to just pop it in my mouth. I love Vietnamese spring rolls because of the herbs and the glass noodle fillings. Somehow everything works so perfectly together. I hate Chinese ones as they have too much gooey carrot and taro, the Thai ones are OK but sometimes too much prawns. Yes I am picky.

One can never have Vietnamese without having the beef pho. Truth be told I don't really know what the authentic version should taste like but I can definitely tell the tasty ones from the blah versions. We were extremely happy with this one as it was simply delicious! The rich beef flavour was just bursting out of the broth.
The noodles were cooked to perfection.
Next came the grilled meatball rolls. They looked a little different than what I expected but we gave them a try anyway. There was just way too much rice noodles (and not much of any other things) in the rolls. To sum things up they were rather boring. And what do they mean by meatball? I didn't really find anything remotely like meat let alone meatballs. We'd rather save our stomach quota for other tastier options.

Next we had the shrimp mousse on sugar cane. By now you've probably noticed that in each of the picture a food grabbing hand keeps appearing. Despite my protests my friend V insisted that my shots need some action in order to make things appear more desirable. Did she take a marketing class in the 1970s? Anyhow back to the shrimp mousse. The shrimp tasted rightfully shrimp-y and the texture not too plastic-ky. Yummy! I never understand the role of the sugar cane as it doesn't seem to add any taste to the dish?
The steamed rice cakes were a lot tastier than the meatball rolls. The meat, mushroom and carrot fillings were well seasoned and not soggy at all. Most rice cakes would fall apart after a bite but this one was nice and firm.
The vermicelli cake with grilled beef was delicious. One complaint: too much rather tasteless noodles, not enough beef.
The night's winner was the beef curry for sure. The beef was heavenly delicious and tender and the curry sauce itself was out of this world. Why can't I make curry sauce like this at home?

My husband (who arrived almost at the end of our meal) ordered the deep fried soft shell crab and he said it was OK. I am never a big fan of soft shell crab as there's never enough meat. He loved his beef pho too.
The Saigon export went down pretty easy, even though I'm not a big beer fan. Dinner for 4 came to almost HK$500. Not bad for such a scrumptious meal!

Nha Trang

88-90 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2581-9992

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