Friday, January 19, 2007

Quan An Ngon, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Quan An Ngon (loosely translated as "delicious") is a pretty trendy eatary which has a dining concept that is quite unique in Vietnam. It aims to deliver street-food in a clean and comfortable dining setting. The perimeter of this predominantly open-air restaurant is lined with various stalls cooking popular Vietnamese dishes. You order from the menu and the waiter will place your orders with the various stalls and serve the food to you when it's done. It's a good place to introduce friends and guests to a wide range of Vietnamese foods under one roof and the fare here is very decent as well.

Ordered a serve of banh cuon just for comparison's sake. The one at Ben Thanh Market is still slightly better because the rice skin is softer and thinner but this one comes pretty close.

Banh Xeo is a Vietnamese savory pancake. It actually reminds me abit of thosai.

The thin crisp shell encases shrimp, minced pork and bean sprouts. This is eaten with basil leaves and a sweet fish sauce. Very tasty.

I can't remember the name of this but it uses a similar batter to the banh xeo so I'm going to call them mini banh xeos for now haha. This tastes pretty ok, it doesn't have the shrimp or minced pork like the larger banh xeo and the batter is slightly thicker making it more like a savory cake.

Bun chao tom is minced prawn meat wrapped around a sugar cane stick and grilled over a charcoal fire. It's commonly serve with these vermicelli sheets. The sweetness of the sugar cane slightly permeates the savory prawn meat making this rather delectable indeed.

Deep fried squid, this isn't really Vietnamese and comes with a very generic bottled chilli sauce but it was fried, crispy and tasty, so I still loved it anway.

Fresh springrolls eaten with a thickened sweet fish sauce with crushed nuts. A refreshing snack on a hot humid day.

Goi du du tom thit again. The raw papaya salad here tasted fresher than the one I had. A pity the serve was rather small.

The sea snails here are alot larger than the ones at the street stall but the sauce although fragrant was a tad bit too sweet for my liking.

I don't even know if this is a Vietnamese dish but I'm a sucker for grilled meats on sticks, so when I saw these pork kebabs, inevitably it appeared on my table.

Crab cooked in tamarind sauce. The crab was very fresh and the sweetness of the flesh prevailed but the sauce was ridiculously tart making this quite a waste of good crab.

The warm desserts in Vietnam seem to share some things in common, namely coconut cream and ginger. This is similar to the glutinous rice ball dessert available in Singapore but it was served with a ginger syrup and a dash of coconut cream. Ginger haters will loathe this but I actually found this rather nice.

Even the sweet soybean curd is served with ginger.

Glutinous rice and green beans served with more coconut cream and ginger syrup.

This is the taro version of this popular dessert.

I'll definitely pop by Quan An Ngon again when I'm next in Ho Chi Minh. Sure it isn't hardcore street-style dining and the prices are comparatively more dear but its convenient eating concept and the decent quality of the fare served is good enough to warrant a second trip.



Lord Dianabol said...

The crab looks good, but such a pity with the tamarind...

I miss good mud crab :o(

But it's lobster season here :oD

cruel-intentions said...

nv knew tt vietnamese crusine has so much varieties!!

i thought their food are v.healthy but it seems like there are quite alot of fried ones ard..

have u tried their sandwiches btw?? those selling on the roadsides..

D said...

lady dianabol: lobster.. man i miss a good fresh lobster.

cruel-intentions: I think that most people are familiar with the fresh springrolls and pho. In general I do think that most Vietnamese foods are pretty healthy, maybe it's just me who goes out of the way to find the unhealthier fried versions haha. Ahh yes, the baguette sub-style sandwiches known as bánh mì. Coincidentally, in my next few posts, I'm going to do a post on bánh mì baked in a wood fired oven! Stay tuned.