Friday, January 11, 2013

Saigon Recipe

Every time we drove on Sukhumvit soi 49, we noticed that a new Vietnamese restaurant was going to open in new complex with large shop-houses where some of the shop-houses have already been transformed into other restaurants.  We are always looking for a good Vietnamese restaurant in the area, so we were eager to try it out.  The new restaurant is called Saigon Recipe.

The restaurant has two dinning areas on two floors.  We ate upstairs on the mezzanine because the ground floor was full.  The decor is the stereo-typical 'Vietnamese' restaurant you find anywhere.  Very colourful lamps from Hoi-an,  photos of Vietnamese scenery, Vietnamese artifacts, etc. etc.  Wooden tables & chairs with very colourful pillows.  Its very easy going and comfortable.

The owner is a pretty & friendly Vietnamese woman who helped to explain the menu to us.  So we already could tell that the food would be authentic.

The appetizer was Bahn Nam (50 baht) and Banh It (50 baht).  Bahn nam is 'flat rice dumplings stuffed with minced pork & mushrooms and Banh It is 'stuffed glutine rice flour balls'.  We actually wanted to order the 'mixed style dumpling platter' but they ran out of 'small steamed rice cakes'.

The flat rice dumplings and the rice flour balls are somewhat plain tasting until you add the nuoc-mam sauce.  The dumplings and the rice flour balls soaked up the sauce and they do become so much better.  As you can imaging; the texture of the dumplings and flour balls were sticky, gooey and chewy...sounds strange but they were not bad at all.      

The next dish was Goi Co Hu Dua (220 baht).  The palm heart salad with shrimp & pork was made of very fresh ingredients, presented well and was a good portion.  Lots of colour and textures and it had a good balance of flavours from all the ingredients...very nice.

The next dish was Cha Gio Chien (140 baht).  The deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with pork was deep-fried to a golden brown and small enough so to be stuffed into a lettuce leaf with other condiments.  Those little spring rolls were big in taste when it was rolled with rice noodles, mint, lettuce and dipped into the much textures and flavours exploding in the mouth.  

The next dish was Goi Bo Tron Rau Muong (220 baht).  The sauteed beef salad with morning glory was made of good quality beef.  The beef was tender and the morning glory added more colour and texture.  The balance of sweet, sour, tangy, acidic and spicy was all in one dish...nicely done.

The next dish was Chao Tom (220 baht).  The charcoaled shrimp cake wrapped on sugarcane can be boring on its own; but when assembled with the rice paper, rice noodle, lettuce, mint, raw banana & cucumber...a world of freshness and flavours jump at you.  A little work assembling the shrimp cake but so worth it.

The next dish was Goi Cuon (100 baht).  The fresh salad spring rolls with shrimp & pork was fresh, moist and nice bite portion.  I actually can eat goi cuon everyday for its freshness and for sure healthiness.

The next dish was Bo Cuon La Lot (160 baht).  Charcoaled betel leaves stuffed with minced beef is a small bite sized thing; but when done well, so much taste comes from it.  And when you assemble it with rice paper and other fresh condiments...just lovely.

The last dish was Bun Gio Hue (160 baht).  We ended our meal with a soup from central Vietnam.  It was soothing, warming and hearty.  The broth was flavourful and the loads of goodies in one bowl made it even more tasty.  Such a nice way to end a meal.

For dessert; it was a Banh Flan (40 baht).  A very French influenced dessert.  I remember my aunts and grandmother always making this dessert.  I have no idea why every Vietnamese makes this dessert but it one of my favourites.  Smooth, soft, velvety and sweet rolled into so nice.

Overall;  a nice and comfortable Vietnamese restaurant.  A very friendly and helpful owner and very attentive staff.  The food is good and prices are somewhat reasonable.  My only complaint is that the menu has a very limited selection (there are some Thai dishes as well); I have been to Saigon Recipe twice and I have had already practically everything on the menu.

Another complaint is that Vietnamese food has so much variety of dishes; so I was a bit disappointed that the menu at Saigon Recipe consist of the 'typical' and 'expected' dishes in Vietnamese restaurants in town...fresh & fried spring rolls, shrimp on sugarcane, Vietnamese crepe, etc.

There is no more reason for me to keep going to Saigon Recipe if they do not try new & different things.  For example how about Cahn-chu (tamarind sour soup), Boh kho (beef stew) or even Thit ko (caramalized pork) so many dishes to make and prove to everyone in Bangkok that Vietnamese food is more exciting, hearty & complex.

Address:  46/5 Piman 49 #B3, Sukhumvit soi 49
Phone #:  02-662-6212

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