Monday, November 29, 2010

Savoring Saigon: Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine

When: November 24, 2010

Prior to our HCMC getaway, I've been browsing travel guides for gastronomic adventures in the city. I was totally hooked to the travellers-slash-foodies' recommendations that I almost suffered from Vietnamese cuisine info overload. We made sure that we sampled authentic Vietnamese food since it's predominantly vegetarian owing to the Buddhist values. And since my family are certified veggie lovers, we definitely made the most logical choice to go food tripping. 

On our last day in HCMC, we had our lunch at Lemongrass, a seemingly hip but homey resto that serves Vietnamese cuisine. We were seated comfortably at the 2nd floor and the crew were all friendly and polite. We noticed that we were the only Asians dining in the resto. Most of them are Europeans who are trying out the ubiquitous phở.

The menu

Wacky folks

Papa & his guava juice (49,000 VND or Php 110.20)

In Vietnam, one will never get disappointed with fruit juices. One little sip and you can immediately tell it was made from fresh fruit hence very refreshing.

Dragon fruit juice (49, 000 VND or Php 110.20) and iced tea (10,000 VND or Php 22.50)

Their iced tea was more of cold herbal tea. If you're used to sweet iced tea, then this one's not for you.

Complimentary prawn crackers

In less than ten minutes, our orders arrived piping hot! Just looking at the pictures now made me oh-so hungry.

BF's pick: Grilled skewer seafood with satay (99,000 VND or Php 222.65)

Steamed rice in a big bowl (19,000 VND or Php 42.75)

My order: rice-vermicelli with sauteed beef and onion (89,000 VND or Php 200.16)

This was the best Vietnamese meal I've had! This dish is to die for! The beef strips were very tender and flavorful and the vegetables on the side are so fresh and crunchy. The sauce is similar to our fish sauce (patis) with sugar and chili bits. Try sprinkling some sauce to the noodles to fully enjoy the complete burst of flavors in your mouth.

Mama's order: rice-vermicelli soup with fish (69,000 VND or Php 155.18)

Note that this dish has the same garnishes as phở: cilantro, basil, lime, bean sprouts, onions and peppers.

Papa's order: fried rice with seafood in clay pot (119,000 VND or Php 267.63)

One hungry tummy indeed
Post-lunch pics

After settling our bill, BF and I stayed for a while for some camwhoring. My folks went out to buy some Communist T-shirts as souvenirs just outside the resto. Ho Chi Minh is a city that surely tantalizes one's taste buds. You'll never run out of choices whether you love Chinese, Italian or French cuisine because the city is filled with bustling restos ranging from budget to splurge categories. Lemongrass, for instance, is classified by Wikitravel as mid-range.

4 Nguyen Thiep Street
Ho Chi Minh City
(near Saigon Opera House in Dong Khoi)

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