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Viet Cuisine Restaurant -Good place to dine out in Hanoi

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Samantha09's picture
Joined: 25-May-09
Posts: 1

Mon An Viet fires up traditional cuisine
Anna Peeples treats herself to an evening of tasty, classic Vietnamese food served up with a modern twist.
On a Friday or Saturday night in Ha Noi, if you feel like being where the action is at, there is only one place to go – the Old Quarter. Families tour their kids around. Teenagers and young adults cruise the streets on their motorbikes. Tourists wander around wide-eyed taking in the hub-bub around them. Cyclos troll for customers. Vendors sell all manner of things. Taxis try to alternately run you over and get your business. And Hoan Kiem Lake is only a short walk away, where you can end your evening either making out (snogging) on a park bench or shaking your hips to some techno music at the local aerobics class. The Old Quarter is truly a special place in a special city.
Last Saturday night, armed with that great feeling that comes with knowing you don’t have to work the next day, my friend and I set out for the Mon An Viet (Viet Cuisine) Restaurant.
Upon pulling up the restaurant, our initial impression was that it looked warm and cosy inside, with muted yellows on the walls and soft lighting inviting us in. Stepping into the entryway, we noticed a large bulletin board filled with comment cards giving positive reviews of the restaurant. That they even had customers fill out these cards seemed like a good sign in a country where customer service and feedback does not seem to be as valued as it could be.
Inside, the wait staff welcomed us, and we joined several tables filled with families and couples on the ground floor of the restaurant. It was clean and pleasant. After being seated, we noticed the walls were tastefully decorated with some beautiful paintings.
The drink menu had a wide variety of choices, from your typical juices and shakes to all kinds of hard alcohol and cocktails. We were in the mood for wine, so we ordered one glass of the house red and one house white (were no other wine choices). If we could go back in time and do it over again, both of us would have tried a cocktail or a fruit juice instead, as that seemed to be a bigger focus on the menu, likely for good reason.
Lemon fresh: The grilled chicken with lemon leaves was tender and juicy.
Feel the burn: The Mon An Viet beef dish was a fun treat for the table – nothing like watching your food on fire.
The manager had chosen a set-menu for the evening, to highlight some of their Vietnamese cuisine (menu also includes a lot of Western dishes). First, we were served their Crab and Asparagus Soup, which had generous portions of crab and was perfectly peppered. This warmed us up nicely for our favourite dish of the night, another appetiser called Viet Cuisine Spring Rolls. The spring rolls had deliciously cooked fish, garnished with some mayonnaise and fennel all wrapped up in thin rice paper and served with dipping sauce. It was so good!
The main course included the dishes Grilled Chicken with Lemon Leaves, Mon An Viet Beef, Stir-fried Morning Glory and, of course, rice. The grilled chicken was cooked in oyster sauce, which gave it a nice salty flavour to combine with the hint of lemon. It looked like it might have been dry, but it was actually quite tender when you bit into it. The morning glory was standard. The Mon An Viet Beef was by far the most interesting dish of the night, however. It included cubes of beef, onions, and green peppers in a plum sauce. The whole thing was wrapped in tin foil and had been only partially cooked before being brought to the table. It had been placed on wire grill on top of a bowl filled with salt and alcohol. The waitress lit the salt and alcohol on fire – I am generally a fan of controlled fire, and was happy to have that fun surprise at the table to spice things up. After three-four minutes, it was cooked through, and we ate it fresh and hot.
To complete the meal, we were served Lotus Seeds Sweet Pudding. This is not a dish I am typically a fan of, but here they got it just right and I really enjoyed it. The lotus seeds were thoroughly cooked, yet not mushy; the sauce was sweet, but not too sweet. My friend had coffee with hot, fresh milk, and I had Vietnamese tea.
All in all, we were very satisfied with our meal, and the prices were quite reasonable for what we got. Flipping through the rest of the menu, there seemed to be items to please all crowds including those who want Western or Vietnamese cuisine and those looking to eat vegetarian. A fun service Mon An Viet offers is cooking classes daily at 9am and 4pm. In the classes, students go to the Hang Be Market with the chef and then learn to make four different dishes for a price of $29 per person. — VNS

billybui119's picture
Joined: 10-Jan-09
Posts: 3


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