Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Vietnamese Food - Luxury vs Budget

Within these two weeks, we have had quite a bit of Vietnamese food and it was really amusing to compare the two versions - luxury and budget. I honestly don't claim to be an expert in Vietnamese food since I have never visited Vietnam before so this is purely from a layman's point of view.

Bong Sen @ KLCC

My luxury experience was at Bong Sen - a French Vietnamese restaurant located on the fourth floor of KLCC. Splashie Boy ate here a few times with friends or for work hence he decided to take me to try it out when I visited him at KLCC for lunch last week. I am not sure why they call themselves a French Vietnamese place when the food they serve seems to plain old Vietnamese food to me - assorted rolls, noodles, caramel chicken and etc.

We had the assorted platter of appetizers that came with different varieties of rolls (steamed, deep fried and paper), minced prawns with lemon grass and sugar cane plus some meatballs in a tomatoey sauce. The platter is actually for four people but you can size it down to suit two people (RM18++ for two people). I liked the meatballs - very tasty stuff plus the steamed rice rolls which had a bit of minced meat inside. They serve this platter with a dark brown peanut sauce and the dipping sauce with chillies.

Since Splashie Boy has been here before, he knew what to order which was the dried vermicelli noodles that came with deep fried spring rolls, chicken pieces, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage and peanuts on top of white vermicelli noodles (RM14.90++). You are given a dipping sauce to go with it and you pour it over the noodles according to how wet or dry you like it. They also have a beef version which Splashie Boy said was much better than the chicken one.

I had the Hue Beef Noodles (RM16.90++) which was exactly like a pho (beef noodles) with a touch of spicy chillies to get your tongue wagging. The noodles were chock full of beef balls, slices of beef and a kinda meat patty. You are given bean sprouts and onions to add into your noodles.

I thought the Noodle Salad which Splashie Boy had looked good even though I did not manage to eat any. I wasn't too impressed with the Beef Noodles which I found bland but I liked the steamed rolls and meatballs from the platter. This place is a definite one off indulgence due to it's prices and I thought it was so-so. Not really a place I would recommend as an excellent Vietnamese place to try out. One thing they have going for them is they took excellent pictures of their food so you get to choose what you want just by flicking through their album.

Bong Sen
Lot 416, Level 4, Suria KLCC
KL City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 03 - 2164 6313

Vinh City Enterprise @ BB Plaza

Yesterday we decided to do a bit of computer shopping at Low Yatt down town. We weren't too keen to eat any Hong Kong food even though the cafes dot the area around there and were scratching our heads on what to try out. Then I remembered reading Babe in the City's recommendation for a Vietnamese outlet in Bukit Bintang so I dragged Splashie Boy there.

It was an excellent choice - the outlet operates out of the BB Plaza's Food Court located at the Lower Ground Floor next to Johnny's Steamboat and Rasa Utara. They have pictures of the food to show you what each dish is all about - lots of different kinds of fried rice, noodles and rolls.

I ordered the Noodle Salad - the same one that Splashie Boy had in Bong Sen. It was a real steal at RM4.80+ and came with one deep fried spring roll which was cut up, pieces of grilled chicken, peanuts, shredded vegetables and white rice noodles. The sauce they give you was full of chillies including the fiery little chilli padi (bird eye's chilli) so you can really feel the heat in the sauce. I thought it was excellent stuff even though a bit spicy.

Splashie Boy was tempted to order his Pineapple Fried Rice but I suggested he should try the Ginger Beef Fried Rice(RM5+) instead since he likes beef. He found it just too spicy so I had to switch my Noodle Salad with him so I ate his fried rice which was excellent. It had a lovely "wok hei" i.e. the smell of the wok, fluffy rice grains and the ginger shreds and beef added extra oomph to it all.

This place was a real gem like what Babe said and I definitely will come back to eat here as the prices are so reasonable plus most importantly the food is really tasty. The food here tends to have more fire compared to the other Vietnamese outlets though so if you are not use to lots of chillies like Splashie Boy, I suggest you need to tell them to spice it down a bit.

Vinh City Enterprise
BB Plaza Food Court
Lower Ground Floor, BB Plaza
Opening hours: 11 am to 8.30 pm
(To get there, take the escalator opposite the Theme shoe shop on the Ground Floor. Alternatively look for signs to Johnny's Steamboat)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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glutton rabbit said...

Wah, Vietnamese food. Everything sounds and look delicious. I only tried Veitnamese food once in my life. I had coconut fried rice, served inside a coconut shell (tempurung)...

Babe_KL said...

boo_licious, i'm glad you find the gem in BBP. bong sen paled in comparison and i think it's overly priced for the mediocre taste (in my opinion lah)

boo_licious said...

rabbit - nowadays a lot of viet joints as more and more vietnamese staying here.

babe - not much choice in KLCC though!!

SkyJuice said...

Boo, I agree with your review on Bong Sen. Been there once when it was just opened. The food sucked.

rokh said...

boo, i tried the one at BB and found it although reasonably priced, but lack the ones i have in vietnam kitchen. do try out the noodle salad at vietnam kitchen, bout rm9+ but really worth it.

boo_licious said...

rokh - really? wow, viet kitchen must be very good. Must really make an effort to go eat it one day.

skyjuice - any recommendations for makan in KLCC? running out of places already.

Epicureo said...

Found a great vietnamese place in The Curve,Damansara Perdana.It is tucked cozily behind Thai Express and next to Charms.The name is Pho Hoah.Not much variety but really yummy beef noodles.The steamboat was excellent too.Their vietnamese coffee is aunthentic and strong in taste - friend said it was like a double shot of expresso...heavenly high.The price is much more reasonable than Bong Sen and the portions are big enough.

jelly said...

i tried there before, but the springroll is really not my style =/

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