17 June 2015

50 Flavours of Vietnam Brunch in Hoi An, Shangri-La Hotel

With a wide selection of different cuisines available in Dubai, it’s embarrassing to admit that although I’ve tasted a lot of Asian dishes, I’ve never thought to try Vietnamese food. Fortunately, I had the opportunity last Friday when I won a chance to try the 50 Flavours of Vietnam brunch menu in Hoi An, Shangri-La Hotel with my family. How awesome is that?! ☺
We arrived at the restaurant at around 12:50pm and I gave my name to one of the servers whose name, coincidentally, was Pham (get it?). As she led us to our table, I couldn’t help admiring the decors, especially the colorful lanterns.

Aren't they pretty?!

Lovely table decor
Once we were seated, she gave us a copy of their menu (which had a lot of items) and explained that we would be served all or most of them but in small portions (tapas style)…and if there were any in particular that we liked, we just had to tell them and they would give us more. In short, it was a sit-down unlimited brunch. We didn’t have to stand up anymore and walk around; instead, they brought the food to us. Nice!

As we waited for our appetizers, Pham gave Caila and Sophie a small gift-wrapped package each which they excitedly opened right away.
She was in one of her moods, thus the non-smiling face
Soon the first few plates were served and we all dug in hungrily. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep track of all of them, so I’m not 100% sure if all the names I’ve mentioned are correct. But I swear they were all delicious!
Nem Rau Chien Gion (deep fried vegetable spring rolls with sweet chili sauce)
and Cha Ca (deep fried breaded fish cakes)
Vit Cuon La Lot (grilled duck foie gras sausages wrapped in pepper leaves),
Tom Chien Gion (crispy coconut prawns), and Cha Cua (crab cakes)
Nom Du Du (green papaya salad)
Xiu Mai
Tom Chien (wok-fried golden garlic prawns) and
Nem Hai San Chien Gion (deep fried spring rolls wrapped with rice noodles)
Goi Cuon Tom Ga (Vietnamese rice paper rolls with chicken, shrimp, and herbs)
The girls especially loved the Cha Ca, so we asked for another plate of the same. It was cleared within minutes, so we asked for another plate with more pieces. They really enjoyed that dish!

We also had Pho Bo Viet Nam, which is a traditional Vietnamese soup that was a bit spicy, but delicious nonetheless.
 I thought Hot Pot was only served in Chinese restaurants, but apparently they have these in Vietnam too, so we also had the chance to have this that day. We were given several plates of different seafood, meat, vegetables, and noodles to mix in.

I generally don’t like Hot Pot, but I actually enjoyed this in particular. It was so tasty, I kept refilling my bowl for more!

Once we’d had enough, Pham then gave us the mains
Bo Xiao Tieu Den (seared black Angus beef tenderloin with black pepper sauce)
Ca Nuong La Sen (oven-baked stripped sea bass galangal)
Tom Rim Cot Dua (pan-fried sweet water prawns with spicy sambal sauce)
Com Rang Hoi An (fried rice with organic chicken and shrimp)
Just like the dishes we had earlier, we enjoyed every bite of whatever we were served. Seriously, there was nothing we didn’t like!

And to top off our meal, we each enjoyed a bowl of dessert:
Kem Soai Nuoc Cot Dua (chilled mango soup with coconut milk and ice cream)
It looked weird, but it tasted great! And since she really likes mangoes, Caila devoured her bowl…and then mine…with gusto.
By the time we had had our fill, Sophie had conked out in my arms. It was almost 4pm and way past her afternoon naptime.
I don’t think I have to tell you that we had a hearty meal that day. It’s obvious with the way I kept raving about practically everything, right? To think it’s considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide, I feel I missed a lot by not trying these specialties from the Land of the Rising Dragon sooner.

It’s a good thing we had the chance to try them out that day because according to Pham, since Ramadan is coming up, they will be closed during the day…thus, their brunch won’t be available for one month.

But don’t let that stop you. They’ll still be open in the evenings and you can order pretty much the same dishes from their menu...in bigger portions, of course! ☺

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