Since I last blogged by Ngu Vien at 40 Ky Dong street in District 3 I’ve returned three or four times and had delivery to Pieman towers the same amount. I’m still working through their voluminous menu, but I thought it might be useful to round up a few new found faves. First up is the chap above, Chinh Nuong La Chanh (Grilled eel with lemon juice) 75,000VD. It’s simply slices of fresh eel (they have live eels in the aquarium near the entrance) grilled to spectacular succulence with the heavy scent of lemon juice and charred lemon leaves. The flesh is soft, just avoid the central bone as it can cause a nasty clunk mid munch if you’re not careful. There’s a salty, lemon dip too – just in case you haven’t had enough citrus. Eat simply with rice.
In the green corner is this sauteed stunna, Bo xoi xao toi (Sauteed spinach with garlic) 18,000VD. They use really fresh spinach here and with the garlic punch it’s a vegetarian virtuoso performance from the boys at Ngu Vien. Again, scoff this fella with plain rice, well I do, you do what you want. The other veggie of choice in Vietnam, Rau Muong xao toi (Morning glory with garlic) is equally super, but a bit more work in the toothpick department apres stuffing.
Carnivores who have a penchant for carpaccio will find the Bo Tai Chanh (Rare beef in lemon juice) 35,000VD of interest. Loaded with lemony fizz and garnished with raw onion and strings of red pepper, it’s a ‘rare’ treat. I’m a little wary when it comes to raw dishes in Saigon, but this has never caused any ‘consequences’ even when delivered to Pieman towers. The heavy duty use of lemon does make this an ulcer unfriendly platter, but if you’re not suffering, this is a blinder. Highly recommended.
Last up for this edition of noodlepie meets Ngu Vien (we’ll be back for more, don’t you worry) is Canh Mung Tui (Malabar nightshade soup) 25,000VD. As I mentioned a few days ago, I’m a big Canh fan, although the spinach in this one is a bit glutinous and gloppy. Like scoffin’ a slug. It’s earthy stuff and there’s plenty of greens in there to keep you regular. However, I’m still ploughing through their Canh menu as I don’t think I’ve hit their sweet soup spot yet. Any tips, lemme know. Dinner for two with drinks came to 185,000VD, about $12. View the business card and in Vietnamese.