After a long day of visiting most of the attractions and landmarks in the old quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam, we were determined to find a particular vegetarian restaurant in the region. Alas, the effort turned out to be futile. However, keeping our chins up, we made a detour, walking further down to discover another famous restaurant that serves a huge array of authentic Vietnamese food.
For someone indecisive like me, I was totally overwhelmed by the huge menu handed to me as soon as I sat down. When the food arrived, it was Melon's turn to be overwhelmed. Haha...
Steamed Tapioca Cake with Pork and Shrimp 52,000₫ (~S$3.15)
The steamed tapioca cake was so sticky that it was pretty challenging to pick it up from the plate. Surprisingly, it wasn't sticky on the teeth at all. Beneath the pleasant chewiness of the skin lied just a small bit of pork, as well as a crunchy shrimp that provided a contrast in texture. Served on the side was sweet and salty dipping sauce.
Vietnamese Fried Pancake with Shrimp and Pork 58,000₫ (~S$3.55)
The first time I tried bánh xèo was sometime in March this year at Phố Tâm Anh here in Chinatown Point. While the one I had in Hanoi was enjoyably crispy, it didn't quite have the turmeric aroma I was looking for. Served alongside it was a bunch of fresh herbs and rice paper, together with sweet and sour fish sauce.
By taking a closer look, I discovered that there was just a little bit of pork and at most three shrimps inside. Having said that, the filling was moist and juicy.
Beef Noodle Soup with Pig Leg in Hue Style 52,000₫ (~S$3.15)
Apart from the fact that the noodle was pretty springy, the comfortingly warm soup was mildly sweet and savoury without being laden with MSG. Meat lovers would relish the beef slices, chicken ham and gelatin-rich pig trotter. A dash of lime and a little bit of chili, which I recall to be quite fiery, made it even better.
Steamed Broken Rice Served with Grilled Pork Chop, Shredded Pork Skin and Egg Cake 58,000₫ (~S$3.55)
A famous dish which can be found in many Vietnamese restaurants in Singapore, the dish consisting of cooked fractured rice grains . I found the pork chop to be a tad dry, but the egg cake was enjoyably moist and airy. It was interesting to have the shredded pork skin which was mixed with a kind of powder akin to kinako (Japanese soybean flour).
Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Garlic 65,000₫ (~S$3.95)
For a boost of dietary fibres, we decided to order a dish of stir-fried cauliflower, which apparently featured a bit of broccoli as well. Truth be told, it was executed well, having such a heady aroma of garlic that really aroused my appetite.
Jelly, Water Chestnut Tapioca Pearls and Coconut Milk 25,000₫ (~S$1.55)
The dinner ended on a sweet note (pun intended). The sweetness level was just right, balanced by the savoury coconut milk which was neither too thick nor overly thin. It was really enjoyable to eat all the colourful bits and the earthy mashed mung beans.
For such a busy restaurant, service was pretty warm and efficient. Outside the capital city, there is also a branch in Ho Chi Minh City. Pika's advice: If you're not sure what to order, you may want to walk around and see the various stalls where the dishes are prepared live.
Quan An Ngon
18 Phan Boi Chau
(Daily: 11.00am - 11.00pm)
*Prices quoted are nett prices.
Have a nice meal,