After completion of the official work stuff, it was time for lunch and then to the airport for our flight back to KL .To ensure that we do not miss our flight (were they so anxious to get rid of us ?) our hosts chose a restaurant not very far away from the airport. Vuon Pho restaurant was next door to a stadium and judging from the big and noisy lunch crowd, this was a rather popular place for meals.
First up was salad – coconut whatcallit and bamboo shoot salad . the only item of the online menu for salad with the word coconut is Gỏi Gân Bò Đọt Dừa , Google Translate as ‘ Near the burner Coconut Salad’ < whatever that means ! The main ingredient of the salad was fresh bamboo shoot and I am not sure which part of the coconut um..from the hosts explanation, something like the core (?) of the coconut stem, initially I could not tell one from the other, but later found that the coconut thingy had a bit of crunchiness to it whereas the bamboo shoots were softer and taste wise, both were rather bland. But supported by the light sweet and sour gravy ( fish sauce, lemon juice and others), roasted peanuts, pork slices and prawns, this dish was very much like the Thai stype mango salad – minus the spiciness. Yummyy..this was good…Banana leave grilled tofu (Đậu Hũ chiên giòn) …. this was the only item on our lunch table that I can be very sure of naming correctly from the online menu - soft tofu wrapped in banana leave and grilled, the aroma of the grilled banana leaves were absorbed into the tofu and made the tofu rather aromatic and smokey-ish , the tofu were supposed to be dipped into a cincalok- ish sauce ( fermented tiny prawns) , the cincalok sauce was very pungent and a bit over salty. I saw the agony in my mat salleh colleague’s eyes when he tried the cincalok, and the uncertainness of should he spit or swallow the cincalok stained tofu…..ah..priceless. ; )The various dips served with our meals : clockwise : fish sauce ( the clear yellowish sauce ) , salt and grounded pepper, rock salt and peppercorns , Vietnamese cincalokSeafood spring rolls Chả Giò Hải sản – fried popiah loorr…with seafood for filings, as my usual mantra- deep fried stuff are usually delicious , these were tooCockles in sweet and sour sauce, this was the first time I had cockles cooked this way as usually only the more glamourous la-la are cooked in such a way. The cockles were fresh and juicy and the sticky gooey gravy works well with the mollusk. Searching from the online menu , I wonder if this dish is : Sò Huyết cháy Tỏi , translated by Google to be rather vampire-ishly > Blood flow to cockle , Coo…gross or what ?Grilled fish – I am not sure what kind of fish this was but I think it was like a catfish thingy. The grilled fish was fresh , (the waiter came by with the live fish in a plastic bag as evidence before it was killed) but the meat was tasteless. The fish was suppose to be dipped into the rock salt and peppercorns , and wow…it totally changed the flavour of the fish from bland to ROCKSTAR, no wonder wars were fought over spice.. and Beckham married Victoria.Deep fried ribs , this taste like nam-yu ( fermented beanpaste) ribs, the meat was tender but the taste were a bit overpowering for my likingFish hot pot – as per earlier day experience where the spare-parts of the chicken were made into another dish -soup, the fish shared the same fate…spare part of the fish that we had earlier were made into soup.. There were bamboo shoots and tomatoes in the sour soup with the fish head, fish bones, fish fins, etc . The sourness of the sour soup can be from the tiny sour belimbing , asam gelugor, sour leaves or processed sour –rice. we soaked our rice with the soup and oh..it was gorgeous..i think I am liking the sour soup very muchie…Overall, an enjoyable meal…Location :
Address: Phan Dinh Giot A2, P2, Q. Tan Binh Dist. HCM (Within the Military Zone 7 Stadium).
Telephone: 08.39975010 – Fax: 08.39975010 Địa chỉ: A2 Phan Đình Giót, P2, Q. Tân Bình, TP. HCM ( Trong khuôn viên sân vận động Quân khu 7). Điện thoại:08.39975010 – Fax: 08.39975010