Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mixed Rice and Gelato, Baria-Vungtau, Vietnam

Most breakfast places in Vungtau sell rice or noodle sets, but as I was hungering for something with more bite (read as more meat), I decided to walk around the town abit and see what else they had to offer. That was when I stumbled on this little queue. A mixed rice stall doing brisk business by packing a lot of lunch takeaways for people on their way to work. There were also numerous pre-packed bags of warm desserts to go.

Not knowing what was their specialty, we basically just requested for some of their "best dishes". An assortment was presented to us. The beef salad, soup and pork ribs were not bad but the winner in this assortment was the fried chicken with the tangy chilli sauce.

As such, we decided to order another serve of the fried chicken plus some grilled pork chops and deep-fried beancurd. All of them were pretty delicious but the chicken still took the cake. After this substantially savory and proteinaceous meal, I needed something sweet to finish it off but as the weather was rather warm, I had little interest in the pre-packed soup desserts and decided to scout around the town for something else, something cold.

That's when we chanced upon this gelato joint. After a brief chat with the owner we were informed that she had learnt her ice-cream making skills from a "Vietnamese master gelato maker" who migrated to Italy years ago where he honed his art. Interestingly enough, the flavors which made use of artificial syrups were more costly than the ones using natural fruits; she explained that the syrups were imported from Italy and therefore cost more. Needless to say, we chose the ones with natural fruits!

In order to taste a large variety of all their flavors (all seemed pretty good), we opted for their kem (ice-cream) special. Upon first taste, a refreshing burst of flavors surrounded my palate. These were really very good, from the top of my head, the flavors were jackfruit, durian, chocolate, strawberry, pandan, corn and taro. All of which were done very nicely indeed.

In addition to the gelatos we also ordered an ice-chocolate and a banh flan. The ice-chocolate, which I thought would be a drink turned out to be exactly what it was translated to be, some chocolate ice-cream and chocolate syrup on crushed ice! The banh flan however, was fantastic. Banh flan is basically creme caramel but there are quite a few variants in Vietnam. This cafe tops of the sweet and rich caramel with rich espresso coffee (instead of the caramel sauce) creating a bitter-sweet contrast which was just super.



Anonymous said...

Bloody orrsome mate!

Good gelato is a god-send!!!

Any sorbets purveyed?

Lord Dianabol

D said...

Nope, no sorbets. I'm not usually a sorbet person though, it requires pretty special circumstances and conditions for me to crave a sorbet.