Monday, March 05, 2007

Saigon Village, Jln Imbi - Vietnamese food

Considering the fact that lemongrass is used a lot in vietnamese cuisine, I should be a big fan. But, in reality, I must admit that I am not very exposed to vietnamese food, having sampled it only 3 times in my life. My ignorance stems from the fact that I have yet to collide into a vietnamese restaurant that makes my senses tingle, but it could very well be a case of the chicken and the egg. Unfortunately, if I don't consciously look out for one, then it's quite unlikely that the mountain will come to Mu....on second thoughts, scrap that. All we need is another Rosnah/TV3 incident.

So as far as food blogs go, once upon a time, Barbie and I found ourselves in a situation where we were sick of eating chinese food for lunch, and coupled with the fact that we found a parking space 10 metres away from Saigon Village, we knew it was our destiny to have our Friday lunch at this restaurant. I suppose, in all honesty, it was the parking space that predominantly dictated our decision; it would be a lie to say we were sick of eating chinese food. Laziness does cause one to make new discoveries.

Saigon Village

The restaurant looks like it has been around for ages, as I've noticed it everytime I take the turn around Jalan Imbi towards Soo Kee (Sang Har Meen). About 5 tables were occupied when we entered the place. Most of the diners were huddled in quiet conversations. The restaurant was running a lunch special (RM8.90) consisting of a main rice or noodle dish from a long selection of dishes, a bowl of soup and a chinese/vietnamese tea. With only less than an hour to go, we agreed to order the lunch hour special.

Noodles with spring rolls and lemongrass chicken

Barbie's order of rice vermicelli with spring rolls and lemongrass chicken came with a bowl of sweet sauce which is supposed to be poured over the noodles. A sprinkling of peanuts stirred together with the rest of the ingredients (including bean sprouts and sliced cucumbers) reminds me of a refreshing salad made of crunchy ingredients. According to Barbie, the sweetness of the vegetables enhanced the flavour of the dish, which would otherwise have been rather bland.

Duck curry noodles

I like duck, and was immediately drawn to the picture of the duck curry noodles on the menu. The waiter recommended this dish too, so I ordered it. This dish was generously topped with sliced roast duck which had just been added to the bowl of noodles; the meat had yet to fully absorb the flavours of the curry resulting in a delicate balance of flavours, both from the duck and from the lemongrass flavoured curry. The curry was, in my opinion, rather thin, but to its credit, it was more drinkable than a thick, coconut milk-laced curry. A substantial amount of ladies fingers and cucumbers were added to this bowl of noodles. I didn't care much for the vermicelli which was bland, and I thought the vegetables were too raw, but I certainly enjoyed the tender flesh of the roast duck and wolfed down every piece.

Soup

The accompanying bowl of soup (which tasted very much like hot and spicy szechuan soup) was nondescript.

Probably not a place I'd be in a hurry to introduce my friends to.

Saigon Village Restaurant

No. 45, Jalan Barat

Off Jalan Imbi

55100 KL

Tel: 03-2142 6296

17 comments:

wmw said...

Wow! You're right! The duck slices look good! I absolutely love duck, I get my fix from Klang.

Jackson said...

RM 8.90 for lunch set wt soup nd drinks was absolutely cheap!! The rice vermicelli with lemongrass chicken looks so good! From the picture, i can even imagine hw crispy the spring roll are!!! Yum yum!

KampungboyCitygal said...

The lunch set pretty reasonable..what about their ala carte items?

tigerfish said...

A szechuan soup in a viet restaurant? That's not very authentic. But the curry noodles looks good. Does the okra/ladys finger go well with the duck?

boo_licious said...

heard abt this place, the pricing seems very reasonable but somehow when I'm at the imbi area, it's hawker food for me though.

Tummythoz said...

Seen this many times too but have not ventured in as no one I knew been there. Barbie's dish looks real interesting.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

wmw: where in Klang do you get ur duck fix? Mum & dad live in Klang and I go there every couple of weeks, so maybe I can recommend a new place to them, eh?

jackson: yeah, the lunch special is pretty decent. Plus there's aircon too, so no need to sweat it out while eating!

kampungboycitygal: the pricing for the rest of the items is around the RM10 range as well.

tigerfish: yeah, we were quite miffed about the soup. The almost raw ladies fingers didn't jive with the duck curry. But maybe it's a matter of perception as well, as I'm used to seeing ladies fingers in fish curry rather than meat curry.

boo_licious: the hawker selection is awesome there, which makes me wonder why they would open a vietnamese restaurant in the midst of food paradise. Hoping for a spillover, perhaps...

tummythoz: exactly! most ppl would have seen it, but not many would consider eating there with so many popular choices nearby. Barbie's dish is...hmmm...healthy!

fatboybakes said...

actually, can use abraham oso, the more acceptable substitute that will be less likely to trigger off any discplinary action. if abraham wont go to the mountain...

i love the bo phoa in australia. somehow, i havent tasted anything close here. i guess that they have a large vietnamese population helps in ensuring quality.

Precious Pea said...

I agree with fatboybakes! Too much disappointment with the Vietnamese food here that I decided to give up for good. Melbourne's vietnamese food a must try!!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

fbb: I think another acceptable substitute is Buddha. Hmm..why do all three references have to be in the religious context?!

fbb & precious pea: will take note of ur suggestion next time I go to Oz. Or Vietnam. Whichever comes earlier.

wmw said...

San Francisco has great Vietnamese food too! Oh, read this for my duck post...
http://ugwug.blogspot.com/2006/12/see-show-eat-duck-have-desserts.html

Or call me when you make a trip to Klang, can take you there...(can also go look for Jackson together! Hee Hee..)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

wmw: everywhere but Malaysia, huh? lol.
My teenage years were spent in Klang, but all these places sound alien to me. Looks like I need u to show me around..so shy la...yah, and can look for Jackson too...woohoo..

jason said...

I had once Vietnamese cuisine which dated back at around 3 years ago at Taipan. I think the dishes were ok but my friend who studied and live in the US b4 said that the food here is nothing compared to those he had in US.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

jason: lol, as I mentioned to wmw, everywhere but in Malaysia, huh? :-) Taipan...gotta check it out...must call my USJ kaki to find out. Thx!

fatboybakes said...

ooh, ooh, actually i heard vietnamese food in vietnam isnt all that great, coz like for the beef noodle, dunno which roadside buffalo they killed wor. ie, the local produce not de so good, so oztraylia is better apparently. i'll let you know soon enuff, i'll be attending a friends 40th birthday in vietnam in MAY.

jason said...

Lyrical Lemongrass: You're welcome but I doubt it's still on the track. Anyway, no harm trying. Happy hunting!

FBB: Roadside buffalo?? No guar...

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

jason ar, fbb will be lucky if he just gets a roadside buffalo when he attends his friend's 40th bday party. Who knows, he may be chewing on the neighbour's cat's ears in a bed of taugeh, drizzled with lemongrass sauce.
Seriously tho, folks, on my next trip to London, I'm going to hunt down some good vietnamese food. Got any recommendations?