Vietnamese Taste – Vietnamese Street’s Best

Vietnamese food for me is within the top 5 of my favourite cuisines. I have visited Vietnam on 6 occasions and I have never found a restaurant here in Ipoh that quite fits the bill in terms of the authenticity of taste and quality. I am happy to report that I have found such a Vietnamese restaurant in Ipoh – guess the name . . . Vietnamese Taste – Vietnamese Street’s Best.

SeeFoon ‘Revisits’ Vietnam

My friends all laugh when I say I love a particular cuisine as they all know that as a Foodie or the Food Diva as some of them call me, I love ALL cuisines. Except for certain bizarre food items as presented by TV hosts like Andrew Zimmern and Sonny Side in their highly entertaining TV shows.

Vietnamese food for me is within the top 5 of my favourite cuisines. I have visited Vietnam on 6 occasions and I have never found a restaurant here in Ipoh that quite fits the bill in terms of the authenticity of taste and quality.

Vietnamese Taste Vietnamese Street's in Ipoh
Vietnamese Taste Vietnamese Street’s in Ipoh

I am happy to report that I have found such a Vietnamese restaurant in Ipoh – guess the name . . . Vietnamese Taste – Vietnamese Street’s Best.

The restaurant is brand new, with a charming attempt at creating a Vietnamese ambience with hats (called nón lá or leaf hat) on one wall masquerading as lamps and big murals of Vietnamese dishes on the other wall. A make-belief pushcart serves as a cashier’s desk and the menu is well illustrated with photos of the dishes on offer.

Mojito and Suo Toui Coffee at Vietnamese Street’s Best Ipoh
Mojito and Suo Toui Coffee at Vietnamese Street’s Best Ipoh

The Vietnamese as most people know are famous for their coffees and in this restaurant, these live up to their reputation. Their drip coffee takes a bit of time RM5.90 (to drip through) so order that first and their Mojito and Suo Toui Coffee at RM6.90, creamy and delicious even for a non-sweet palate like mine.

Vietnamese Street's Best Banh Xeo in Ipoh
Vietnamese Street’s Best Banh Xeo in Ipoh

Then on to the dishes. Being the “wide-eyed, stomach narrow” (my grandma’s favourite admonition) child that I was and still am, I ordered up a storm. Starting with the Banh Xeo, the typical Vietnamese pancake that is filled with prawns and spring onions, this one was crispy on arrival which is a sign of a good Banh Xeo and served with lettuce and a dipping sauce. You wrap a piece of the pancake in the lettuce leaf, dip in sauce and voila, a mouthful of crispy freshness, RM19.90.

  • Vietnamese Street's Best Goui Cuon
  • Vietnamese Street's Best Goui Cuon or Vietnamese Spring Roll

Their Goui Cuon or Summer Spring Roll, wrapped in paper-thin rice wrappers had a big prawn, bean noodles, wrapped in lettuce, then the rice paper. I would have preferred a fish sauce dip but the peanut sauce that accompanied this was liked by my fellow diners, RM6.90. The fried version had minced chicken in it with the requisite fish sauce dip which I liked, RM5.90.

Com Ga Quay or Lemongrass Chicken Chop Rice, chicken chop perfumed with lemongrass, juicy and tender inside, served with a fried egg and the de rigueur fish sauce. A meal in itself, RM17.90.

Vietnamese Street's Best Pho noodle Ipoh
Vietnamese Street’s Best Pho noodle Ipoh

The last two ubiquitous dishes that Vietnamese street cuisine is known for is done very well here. Pho that umami beef soup served with slurpy rice noodles is one of the most well known. You can choose whether you want raw sliced beef brisket, beef balls or all three; beef stew and there is even chicken Pho. Ranging in price from RM11.90 to RM17.90, this is one bowl of deliciousness that is irresistible. Served with extra herbs and garnitures.

Vietnamese Taste Vietnamese Street's Best Banh Mi
Vietnamese Taste Vietnamese Street’s Best Banh Mi

And then there is Banh Mi, which is a ‘move over Subway’ dish taking the western world by storm. My personal test of a good Banh Mi is the baguette itself. Is the crust crunchy? And is the inside soft? Here at Vietnamese Street’s Best, it is a resounding Yes! On both counts and the filling is good too. Julienned carrots, cucumber, meat floss, egg, Vietnamese chicken sausage, and topped with cut chillies and coriander, you’ll need a big mouth to bite into it. We ordered the special at RM11.90 but they also have a fish fillet, RM9.90, a double egg, RM8.80, and grilled chicken at RM12.90.

There are also set lunches with rice dishes, more noodles and a rice-wrap platter with smoked duck. An extensive menu indeed. I have made myself a promise to explore further.

VIETNAMESE TASTE – VIETNAMESE STREET’S BEST

Address:
No. 8 Block C, Persiaran Greentown 4,
Greentown Avenue(2.82km), 30450 Ipoh.

Business hours: 11am-9pm 24/7
Manager N.K. Liow: 017 475 0513
Reservations: 05 210 8013

Vietnamese Taste Ipoh Garden
No. 67 Medan Ipoh 1A,
Medan Ipoh Bestari, 31400 Ipoh.

Dim Sum Yuen

SeeFoon Enjoys Dim Sum in Peace and Quiet

Dim Sum Yuen, latest morning breakfast spot

How often do we get to have any Chinese meal in peace and quiet? Not often enough I say. Somehow the Chinese in groups, especially those speaking in Cantonese, when confined within tiled walls exacerbated by tiled floors, manage to reach decibel levels that border on deafening. And I am one of the guilty ones contributing to the noise level as my main spoken dialect is Cantonese.

With 9 tones compared to the 4 in Mandarin and more cacophonous by nature, and since most Chinese spoken in Ipoh is Cantonese, Chinese and especially dim sum restaurants are noisy. Not one of the places you would go for a cosy tête-à-tête.

But I found a quiet haven in Dim Sum Yuen.

Ipoh Breakfast at Dim Sum Yuen
And they steam their dim sum in square wooden boxes instead of the common bamboo baskets or in some eateries, plastic ones.

A recent change in ownership and management with a complete facelift of the premises of the old Kao Lee and just a stone’s throw from the Echo office, I have been meaning to check it out when to my delight, I received an invitation to lunch from my lawyer friend William Balasingham who has made this his new fave place. William’s reason? The tables are well spaced out and you’re not elbow-to-bum with the next person and you can actually talk and be heard!

We were quite a crowd that day and could therefore order a lot of different goodies. But being the diehard foodie that I am, I had to make sure I didn’t miss out on any item and hence went back a second time with my tribe.

One stand out feature of Dim Sum Yuen is their creative presentation of some of their offerings, as in the case of their water chestnut jelly, which for the cafe crowd, is certainly Instagram worthy (see pic). Most of their dim sum offerings are priced between RM4.50-RM5.50 with a few dishes using prawns like the Hong Kong Prawn roll going up to RM6.50. But in general, the average savoury plate starts at RM4.50 with desserts being slightly lower.

Dim sum is dim sum wherever you eat it. What sets one eatery from another is the quality, the range of items, and the specials. And each one has their specials. In Dim Sum Yuen’s case, the notable ones aside from their chef’s skill with pastry (see the pumpkin – with date paste; and piglets – one with red beans and other with an interesting corn custard) is their “Lo” or soya sauce series.

Everything of the pig’s innards from the ear (divinely tender, with a thin layer of fat lining both sides of the cartilage), stomach, large and small intestines are available here, paired with similarly braised tofu or boiled egg. A veritable offal haven. They also have the braised chicken in the same sauce as well which you can order whole or in a chicken rice set. And let’s not forget the braised chicken feet.

Boon Tong Gao at Dim Sum Yuen

Another unusual dim sum offering which is one of their signatures is the Har Gao served in individual small bowls in a clear soup. A cross between a “Boon Tong Gao” and the traditional Har Gao, the soup is umami and the Har Gao filling of prawns was fresh. I must also mention their Hor Yip Fan or glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf, umami and cooked to perfection.

Desserts are another item to rave over. Aside from the painstaking decorative art involved in their presentation, as in the aforementioned water chestnut jelly of two birds sitting in their birdcage, the pumpkin lookalike is filled with bean paste, not overly sweet and a delightful mouthful. Their fried sesame balls are crisp; their oozy salted egg custard pao to dream about and their jellies like wolfberry and osmanthus refreshing and soothing.

Piglet Pao

Do go and browse their very extensive menu. You won’t regret it. And enjoy your meal in relative peacefulness.

Hotpot Restaurant Moon Flower

Actually, the word “Big” doesn’t do justice to the hotpot they serve at Restaurant Moon Flower on a slip road off Jalan Kuala Kangsar. “Humongous” comes close, as the pot is easily 16in in diameter and that is just for the “small” version.

Restoran Moon Flower Jalan Kuala Kangsar ipoh

I had gone the first time to have dinner with four persons including my Foodie Kaki Ginla Chew; and Jan Ching, the co-proprietor told me that the hotpot was way too big for us and to come back with at least eight people.

So we settled for the small dishes as recommended by Jan. As we waited for the rest of the food to arrive, we had a plate of fried salmon fish skin coated with salted egg which was perfect for our cocktails, RM25.

The first dish to arrive was Steamed Lala with Baby Shark. This was piping hot and straight from the steamer, the baby shark pieces juicy and redolent with ginger which took away any chances of there being any fishiness. The broth from the steaming is most slurp-worthy, RM55.

braised pig's trotters
braised pig’s trotters @ RM43 / RM88

Next came a tureen of braised pig’s trotters, the meat well infused with the sauce and the skin velvety, gliding down my throat like well-oiled panna cotta. The added chicken feet lent extra gelatine to the sauce and to go the whole collagen route, ask for pig’s tendons to be added. Hints of dried cuttlefish brought the whole dish to a new level, making this, one of the must-order dishes here. RM43 without tendon/RM88 with tendon.

lard rice
Lard Rice @ RM6

To go with the dishes, instead of plain rice which is the norm, they offer the most swoon-worthy lard rice. This childhood staple, when Mum or Grandma didn’t have time to cook, is so deceptively simple, yet dear to so many Chinese hearts, is simply hot rice with a raw egg in the middle and flavour supplied by the fresh lard, soya sauce and topped with crispy, crunchy lardons. Heaven in a bowl, RM6.

Japanese fried Ramen
Japanese fried Ramen @ RM10

We finished that first meal with Japanese Ramen, fried with cabbage, scallions, bean sprouts, prawns and pork and topped with, what else . . . to give flavour to any dish . . . more lardons!! RM10 per portion.

hotpot @ Restoran Moon Flower Ipoh
Hotpot @ Restoran Moon Flower Ipoh

As we were too few in numbers to try their signature dish the first time around, I soon gathered my foodie group for lunch a few weeks later where we ordered their ‘Soon Tak Big Bowl Fish’, a huge flat-bottomed hotpot served on a portable gas burner with everything already in so there is no necessity for cooking your own goodies. Just fish for them.

Chef Ah Sang is generous with the ingredients. In addition to choosing your own fish from a choice of grouper, patin, bak sou gong (catfish), shark, sang yu (snakehead), or hong mei (red tail), fishing in the yummilicious broth will produce noodles made from fish meat, squid, large prawns, tomatoes, fish maw, taro, shiitake mushrooms and ham choy or pickled cabbage. A cornucopia of deliciousness.

Depending on the seasonal price of the whole fish chosen, the prices for the Big Pot begin at RM138 for 8-10 people: ample if you order other dishes, going up to RM308 for the more pricey fish and will easily feed 12 pax.

big squid

Other dishes to order include their big squid (wong kai lon) with paku vegetables in a mildly spicy style. Seasonal price as squid prices vary. Similarly for the large prawns cooked in an Indonesian style, slightly spicy with a hint of santan.

Restaurant Moon Flower is definitely going to be my ‘go-to’ restaurant in the future. Go with a minimum of five people, order just the “small” big pot and a bowl or two of lard rice to share and come out RM30 lighter in your wallet if you split the cost but much heavier in gourmet satisfaction.

Address:

RESTAURANT MOON FLOWER

Proprietors: Deric Leong 012 672 8767 and Jan Ching 012 568 3382
60/62 Laluan Tawas Damai
Anjung Tawas Impian, 30010 Ipoh.
http://fb.me/MoonFlowerRestaurant

Business hours: 11am-3pm and 5pm-10.30pm
Closed: first Monday and Tuesday of the month.

Original article published at : https://www.ipohecho.com.my/v4/article/2019/09/01/on-ipoh-food-restaurant-moon-flower