Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tempting Nyonya food in Saigon

I have been to Malaysia few times, I have a friend who took me around, treated me to different amazing food, he surely mentioned about Halal, but I probably didn't pay much attention or that word quickly blew with the wind from my mind...until last night, when another friend suggested me to go to Halal restaurant in Saigon on Đông Du street, in very short distance from Sheraton.

              The old Chinese street in Penang (?), where the Nyonya cuisine is originated.  

It's small, quite cozy place with a lot of paintings on one wall and on another - a huge photo of an old Chinese street, could be somewhere in Penang (Malaysia) as the cuisine Nyonya originated from the Chinese community living in that region.

My friend ordered a curry laksa, I first tried laksa in KL. I even tried to cook laksa back home, when I got with me a pack of this famous noodles soup ingredients. Won't tell you how was my Laksa but here in this Nyonya place - it was awesome. It's so tasty, the soup itself is so rich in flavors and colors - coconut based curry soup, fish, chicken, shrimp, cockle, sweet, spicy...indescribable combination of tastes.

                   Famous curry laksa, soup is extremely tasty, rich in flavors and quite spicy. 

But we failed to order the 7th on the list of top 50 world's most delicious foods (by CNN Go in 2011) - Assam laksa. Seeing a poster at the entrance, we asked the waitress, she said "Today, we don't have!".Ok, another time then.

My order was my favorite fried noodles - Char Koey Teow. It was very good and according to my friend, who is not Malaysian, but spending a lot of time and eating a lot of food in Malaysia - the best Char Koey Teow in town from this restaurant! Ok, I trust him, but I would love to try it somewhere else despite the choice is not really big in Saigon for Malay food.

               Popular Char Koey Teow - stir-frying noodles with shrimps, clams, egg, bean sprouts...

                 It's more like hủ tiếu (he fen), large & white rice noodles, very popular in Saigon...

            but here thicker and what I like the most it's not oily, 

                   Nasi Lemak - Malaysia's national dish, rice steamed with coconut cream, served with... 
                  chicken curry, special side dishes as salad, fried anchovies, roasted peanut and ... 

Don't be surprised why only two of us and we order so many dishes, we actually came back to this place next day, as I need to get some more photos, try another things, with another friend, who surprisingly can't not eat any spicy food at all. And, kidding me, he used to be a chef! And the best from here, always spicy! 
                   ...the special shrimp paste (?), it's good to mix it with rice. 

                   Char Hor Fun - stir-frying wide rice noodles with fish, shrimp, veggies ...

                   but looks very watery and that could be my biggest dislike to this dish! 

                  Mee Goreng - another stir-frying noodles and very spicy, but it's good. 

Anyway, we just order what we knew from my friend's experience and what 's familiar to us, I'm sure there is much more exotic Malay flavors in that menu that we didn't discover yet. Malaysia street food has been selected as one of the best in the world.

Back to my first question - what does it mean Halal ? It means "denoting or relating to meat prepared as prescribed by Muslim law" and the restaurant should get a certificate for that, according to some source ( I have no idea - trusted or not!) in the Internet, very few restaurants in Saigon has that certificate, to serve Halal food, even D' Nyonya, at 56 Đông Du, not on the list. But by some how this place seems one of the top choices among Malaysian expatriates in Saigon. So if you miss Malay flavors or want to try a new thing, D'Nyonya could be a right place for that. I'm sure you will keep coming back.  

For your reference: Price varies from 75,000 to 90,000 VND per dish.



  1. Jenni from Canada10:20 am, March 26, 2013

    I really enjoyed this blog entry as I love Malaysian food. Did you try any desserts at that Malaysian Restaurant? If you have never tried it before, you should try Ais Kacang (I'm not sure if the restaurant you went to has it though). It's a Malaysian dessert made of shaved ice and various other toppings (like palm seed, red beans and grass jelly) with condensed milk drizzled on it. It's my favourite Malaysian dessert. So delicious!

    1. Hello Jenni, thanks for reading my blog and for your tip too. I didn't try as in the menu - all in Malay, but I saw the picture of your dessert somewhere else in the net. Will definitely try next time. Thank you!


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