The weather in Hanoi, Vietnam was pleasant that time with an average daily temperature of around 25 °C. However, the haze was really getting on my nerves, ruining my mood to a great extent as I really wanted to go around mostly by foot. Not far from the Temple of Literature, one of the major attractions in the city, is a restaurant run by KOTO (Know One, Teach One), an Australian-Vietnamese charity for underprivileged youth.
KOTO Combo 105,000₫ (~S$6.45)
Fried Spring Rolls - Taste: 8.5/10
Fresh Spring Rolls - Taste: 7/10
Beef and Vegetable Wrap - Taste: 8/10
Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaves - Taste: 8/10
Out of the four items on the platter, I enjoyed the deep-fried triangular snacks best due to its crispy exterior and moist interior. The beef and vegetable wraps were good too, especially due to the fact that the rice paper was enjoyably chewy. The beef wrapped in betel leaves was pretty juicy, while the fresh spring rolls were just alright without being special.
Vietnamese Seafood Soup 75,000₫ (~S$4.60)
I truly enjoyed the soup, even though it could be served hotter. The clean sweetness of the seafood items - fish, squid and shrimps - was thoroughly infused into the soup, which also had a slightly sour taste that freshened me up. Scattered on top were various herbs for an added aroma.
Rice Vermicelli with Pork Patties 125,000₫ (~S$7.65)
Known to be one of the signature dishes of the capital city, the springy rice vermicelli came with a bowl of highly flavourful broth, which I believe was there just to dip the former into it and not to be drunk entirely. The grilled pork balls were quite meaty, although one of them had a part that was burnt till black.
Beef in Bamboo 165,000₫ (~S$10.10)
A few beef chunks were cooked in two separate bamboo containers. While they turned out to be pretty juicy, I noticed that some parts could be less chewy. Besides that, the shredded coconuts were a bit stale. The accompanying mixed salad on a bed of crispy dumpling skin was nicely sweet and sour, topped with crunchy peanuts.
Matcha Cake 60,000₫ (~S$3.70)
The only reason the label 'Japanese' is attached to this review is the fact that I ordered the cake infused with Japanese green tea for dessert. Truth be told, the expected aroma was hardly detectable, even though the cake had an appropriate level of sweetness. The plate was decorated slightly with bitter melted chocolate.
Blushing Santa 70,000₫ (~S$4.30)
The mocktail was a concoction of apple and watermelon juice, with the former being stronger in terms of aroma. On top of that, honey was also added to smooth the flavours together, along with mint leaves that lent a cool sensation on the tongue.
Even though the food wasn't exemplary, service was warm. The restaurant would be happy to call a reliable cab company for you as well at the end of the meal. Pika's advice: If not for the food, go for the cause by dining in this not-for-profit restaurant! :)
When I went to the Temple of Literature before the lunch, I witnessed a group of graduating university students, getting ready to throw their mortarboards.
Another picture worth sharing is the golden turtle inside the temple.
KOTO Van Mieu
59 Van Mieu
(Daily: 8.00am - 10.00pm)
*Prices quoted are nett prices.
Have a nice meal,