Thursday, December 31

Peach Garden @Thomson Plaza

After not having Chinese food for a couple of weeks, Jeffrey and I decided to indulge in some good Chinese dimsum! We've heard pretty good reviews about the dimsum served at Peach Garden so we decided to pay that restaurant a visit.

Although we went during peak hours, we managed to secure a table without having to wait too long. It's times like this that I appreciate going out with Jeffrey alone as opposed to being in the company of my extremely large family because I was hungry and I wanted food!

This outlet definitely has a more informal setting compared to the restaurant at OCBC building. Personally, I prefer the more informal setting for lunch because it makes me feel more relaxed.

Complimentary peanuts. I love this kind of big peanuts! =) I finished the entire dish on my own.

Since we've never had dimsum at Peach Garden before, we weren't familiar with their ordering system. For those who reminisce the old days when dimsum is ordered and served when the dimsum trolley comes to your table, you'll love Peach Garden because that's exactly how it's done! Surprisingly, there were only two trolleys of steamed food and one trolley of fried food being pushed around, which in my opinion is way too little for a restaurant that's packed with hungry patrons like me! Perhaps they should have more trolleys moving about during peak hours because we had to wait pretty long for the trolleys to come by.

Another thing about Peach Garden is that they've a rather mysterious pricing system. The reason why I say that it's mysterious is because I've no idea how much each item costs! If I'm not wrong, the different dimsums are categorized under four categories: small ($3.30), medium ($3.60), large ($3.90) and special ($4.20). I have no idea which dimsum comes under which category because the waitress simply served whatever wee ordered then she put stamps on our table's dimsum sheet without telling us much each dish costs. In any case, Jeffrey and I agreed that Peach Garden's dimsum are a little more expensive than Crystal Jade's but the quality of their dimsums are about the same. I guess your personal preference becomes the deciding factor as to whether you'd dine at Peach Garden or Crystal Jade. Alright, enough rambling.. shall post photos of what we had that day! (:

Har gao (shrimp dumplings). They were pretty average. Personally I prefer the ones served at Crystal Jade because the prawns are more succulent.

Shrimp and chives dumplings. This was much better than expected, perhaps the chives gave the dumplings more taste.

Siew mai (shrimp and meat dumpling).

Chee chong fun with roasted pork filling. It's less salty and less flavourful than Crystal Jade's, so perhaps you'd like to try their famous cheechongfun with scallops instead.

Xiao long bao. It's only average so don't order this if you want to save space for other dishes.

Gluttinous rice and condiments wrapped in leaves. I actually enjoyed this quite a bit because the gluttinous rice to condiments proportion was just right =)

Pan-fried carrot cake. We were utterly shocked when we saw these three measly pieces of carrot cake because we expected them to be much larger! They were a tad disappointing because we thought that they would taste much better than others we've tried but they were just slightly above average.

My favourite dish: custard buns! (: I never expected the custard to ooze out so beautifully. I'm pretty sure that there was saltedegg egg yolk in the custard mixture because the taste was quite strong. I think the saltedegg egg yolk accentuates the sweetness of custard by providing a subtle saltiness to it. Absolutely divine.

Last but not least, we ordered a plate of egg tarts which weren't spectacularly good but they're light enough so people who are nearly full to the brim should be able to find enough space for one final egg tart (:

On the whole, the food wasn't as good as we expected it to be and the service was pretty slow. I guess it'll be better to dine there on a weekday when the staff aren't so busy. I'll return again some time in the near future, but probably on a weekday (:

Wednesday, December 30

Quan An Ngon

If you only have the time and budget for ONE good meal in Saigon, I would recommend Quan An Ngon. Personally, I feel that a meal at Quan An Ngon will make your trip to Saigon complete =) We'd trouble locating this restaurant because they shifted to a new location! Thankfully we managed to find their new outlet because it isn't too far away from their original location.

The restaurant is non-airconditioned so it can get a little warm during hot days. The high ceilings and numerous turbo-fans help are effective in helping to keep the place slightly cooler. Quan An Ngon serves a wide range of street food which you can pick and choose either from the menu or by ordering them from the food alley.

As we were seated on the 2nd level, we didn't have the chance to visit the food alley so we ordered straight from the menu.

Fried spring roll with sweet and sour sauce. Although the spring rolls were fried, they didn't have a very oily after-taste. The skin wasn't very thick so we tasted more of the condiments than the skin, which was great! =)

Rice flour spring rolls. The rolls here tasted slightly better than the ones we had before because their ingredients are much fresher. I loved the sauce that came along with these spring rolls =)

A plate of stir-fried mixed vegetables.

Tofu cubes covered with saltedegg egg yolk. Sinfully good! Gives a new twist to the conventional fried tofu with sauce.

Seafood noodle soup. The soup base was mouthwateringly delicious! I'm usually not a big fan of soup base but this one was exceptionally good! Do try it when you're there!

Roasted chicken with rice. Not too sure what it tastes like because I didn't try it but Jeffrey says that it's fantastic (:

Che Suong Xa Hot Luu! Wow I actually wrote down the name of this dessert because it's their must-try dessert! It's the first dessert on their dessert page so be sure to look out for it! Essentially, it is their rendition of chendol and it's a superb dessert to end off your meal! Not cloyingly sweet nor too milky. Try it! =)

As this restaurant is very popular, I'd advise you to go earlier to ensure that you'll get a table! Bon appetit!

160 Pasteur Road


Alright that's the very last of my Saigon food posts. Will go back to blogging about local food! (:

Mon Hue

After a long day of sightseeing, we were pretty tired and didn't want to travel far for a meal so we were very thankful when we discovered that Mon Hue was located pretty close to where we stayed! (:

This restaurant is located along a relatively busy street but we managed to find it eventually, thanks to its big and bright restaurant sign!

As the restaurant's name suggests, Hue cuisine is served at Mon Hue. As I've neither been to Hue nor tasted Hue cuisine before, I was pretty excited about trying out their food! Like Restaurant 13 and Ngoc Suong, Mon Hue's menu is also very extensive and there are English descriptions to help non-Vietnamese choose our dishes.

The interior decoration of the restaurant is very pleasant and homely. I love how every cup and bowl has a small hole in it! (: Very aesthetically pleasing.

Complimentary sticky sweet cakes. We wanted to eat them for dessert but they were removed because our table became too cluttered so we never got a chance to taste them!

Little petri-dishes of rice cakes. The rice cake tasted like plain cheechong fun! You're supposed to scrape the rice cake out and eat it with the given toppings. The toppings include grated carrot, spring onions, crunchy things that tasted like unsalted popcorn and a bit of oil. It's a rather bland dish but it's an extremely delightful starter to have.

Their variation of rice paper spring rolls with shrimps. I thought that it was relatively easier to eat this plate of spring rolls since they were cut up into pieces. They tasted pretty similar to the usual Vietnamese rice paper rolls except that there wasn't the usual black sauce with peanuts to dip the rolls in. I much prefer the sweet black sauce with peanuts to the red shrimp sauce as seen in the above photo.

Rice flour roll stuffed with shrimps. This is essentially cheechongfun with shrimps inside. Surprisingly, it was pretty tasteless when eaten alone, which is probably why they provided sauce for us to dip these rolls into. I liked this dish a lot (:

Grilled shrimp paste on bamboo shoots. This was recommended to us by the waitress and we didn't regret ordering it! It's awesome! (: The meat was juicy and tender and I loved biting it off the bamboo shoots. There are other kinds of grilled meat on bamboo shoots which I think you should try as well (:

I think this pile of raw vegetables came with one of our dishes but I'm not sure which. In any case, I didn't touch them because I was busy eating the other wonderfully cooked dishes on the table.

Last but not least, we ordered seafood with mixed vegetables fried rice. We were pretty surprised that the rice was yellow in colour but somehow it didn't taste like pineapple rice. In any case, this plate of fried rice was pretty average so may be you can order more of their recommended dishes and skip this instead.

I'd recommend this place to people who prefer to sample a variety of Vietnamese food instead of having just one main course. It's a great place for treating your tastebuds to an adventure!

98D Nguyen Trai (Limmies: near your hotel)

Ngoc Suong

If you are a seafood lover, Ngoc Suong is probably THE restaurant that you should visit when you're in Saigon. It is located pretty near the War Remnants Museum so you can pop by this restaurant for lunch/ dinner after your visit to the afore-mentioned museum.

Ngoc Suong provides a wide range of affordable seafood dishes so it's really a dining haven for seafood lovers. This restaurant is one of the few restaurants that has air conditioning so rest assure that you'll be dining in comfort (:

Apart from ordering coke, we also ordered orange juice and coconut juice because we were simply too thirsty!

Coconut juice which wasn't cold so it wasn't as refreshing as I wanted it to be.

Because the crabmeat and asparagus soup at Restaurant 13 left us with a positive impression, we decided to order this soup again at Ngoc Suong. Ngoc Suong's soup had more condiments but the soup base wasn't as thick or flavourful.

The highlight of our meal was these two fried stuffed crabmeat rolls. They were SO tasty that we were tempted to order more! The crispy skin complemented the delicious crabmeat by giving it a light, crunchy taste. It's one of their featured items and definitely a must-try when you dine there!

A basket of stirfried mixed vegetables. Unlike other restaurants that simply place the vegetables on a plate, Ngoc Suong actually serves them in a basket! The basket is pretty sturdy because it softened but didn't crumble even after absorbing the vegetable sauce. I liked the fact that they really used a mix of vegetables for this dish.

Fried seafood noodles. As you can see from the photo, they were very generous with their seafood! The noodles were unusually fine and they were cooked just nice - neither too undercooked nor too soggy.

It'd be better to gather more people to visit Ngoc Suong because it would mean that you can order more seafood dishes! (: Be sure to order their featured dishes and you will not be disappointed!

172H Nguyen Dinh Chieu, District 3
17 Le Quy Don (as listed on the cover of the menu)

Tuesday, December 29

Restaurant 13 & Kem Bach Dang

If you're looking for a place to have reunion dinner or a meal to catch up with friends, I think Restaurant 13 is a good choice. It is a relatively small restaurant that sits about 20-30 people so it tends to get very crowded during meal times. Apparently it's a famous restaurants that many tourists go to sample and savour a variety of good Vietnamese food. The thing I like most about Restaurant 13 is its rather homely atmosphere. Their menu is extremely extensive so you'll definitely be spoilt for choice.

How the restaurant looks like from outside. It's one of the many shophouses along the street so it doesn't really stand out. Just look for the big red 13!

For starters, we had crab meat and asparagus soup. There weren't many bits of crab meat and neither were there a lot of asparagus but it was eggy and flavourful (:

Rice paper spring roll (or what GT will call "Vietnamese popiah"). Each roll contains white rice noodle, shrimps/ prawns and vegetables. There's this particular vegetable that we dislike because it kind of spoils the entire spring roll. It's overpowering and it spoils the otherwise perfect sidedish =( Sorry we can't pinpoint what the vegetable is, otherwise you can ask them to leave it out. Also, this dish isn't really called "rice paper spring roll", it has a fancier name which I can't remember for nuts so I guess you just have to read the dish descriptors and order whatever you like (:

I am pretty sure I ordered stir-fried french beans but this is what they gave us. I thought french beans were the ones that look like long beans? Thankfully, this vegetable dish was very well cooked so we'd no complaints.

Their variation of chicken rice which is actually plain rice with some chicken. I was hoping that they would serve the fragrant chicken rice that is served in Singapore but unfortunately we had to make do with plain rice.

Because we didn't feel like eating dessert at Restaurant 13, we made our way to Kem Bach Dang icecream shop, which is quite near Restaurant 13, for some icecream!

I tried their coconut icecream because it was recommended by a friend. I expected it to be mindblowingly good but it was only average. In fact, the coconut flavour was so subtle that I couldn't really detect it.

Jeffrey opted for chocolate icecream but somehow it came with chocolate sauce and the works, which he didn't really appreciate. I helped him finish his dessert because he didn't quite like it and the chocolate icecream was slightly below average. Perhaps we should have chosen an icecream combo or something else.

Alright, shall end off here (: Will contine with Saigon posts tomorrow.


Restaurant 13 - 15 Ngo Duc Ke

Kem Bach Dang - Nguyen Hue Street (opposite Saigon Centre).

Pho 24

The following posts are written specially for my family members because they will be going to Saigon over the CNY break. Hopefully one of them will be diligent enough to record the addresses of the following addresses so that they will be able to show the address to their taxi drivers! =)

Before I went to Vietnam, the only dish that I could associate with Vietnamese cuisine is Pho. It's essentially rice noodle in soup and it can be found pretty easily in Saigon. When we first arrived at Saigon, we didn't know where to dine at but thankfully there was a Pho 24 outlet near our hotel!

Essentially, Pho 24 is a chain of restaurants that specialises in fast-food-like Pho. The service is brisk, the price is reasonably cheap and the quality is pretty average. In short, Pho 24 is a good place to dine at if you've a budget to keep to or if you're extremely hungry and have no time to look for nice restaurants to eat at.

I chose to order their special fruit shake (which I think contains strawberries, honey and I forgot what else) and it was surprisingly good! (: The shake was thick and fruity! A delightful drink to have on a hot day.

Condiments which we could add to our bowls of pho.

Chicken Pho.
Beef Pho. Personally, I prefer the beef pho because the broth is more tasty. If you are torn between the beef or chicken pho, choose the beef!

Caramel custard. We each had one of this for dessert. It's essentially a custard flavoured pudding and it's not too sweet so it's quite nice. I think my brother will like this though it's definitely not as wobbly as his Hokkaido milk pudding at Sushi Tei.

271 Pham Ngu Lao (it should be quite near your hotel)

Other Pho places that are near your hotel which you may want to try:
Pho Quynh - 323 Pham Ngu Lao (order pho bo kho)
Pho 2000 - 1-3 Phana Chu Trinh (near Ben Thanh Market)