Authentic Vietnamese Food @ Bahn Mi Cafe, Bandar Puteri Puchong

When it comes to ethnic cuisine, there are a couple of hard and fast rules in identifying if a restaurant serves authentic food.

  • If the servers / staff are mostly from that ethnic group; and
  • If a large proportion of their customers are also from that ethnic group.

Banh Mi Cafe in Bandar Puteri Puchong is one of these places, and it is one of my fam’s go-to spots whenever we’re craving authentic Vietnamese chow.

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The resto has undergone some renovation since our last visit; the dining area is much more spacious now and they’ve even made a couple of raised wooden ‘gazebos’ indoors. The corner for imported Vietnamese snacks and sundry (noodles, sauces, paste, etc.) has also been upgraded. The open outdoor seating is now covered, which provides some shade from the heat in the daytime.

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Fans of Vietnamese food will recognise some firm favourites from their menu: banh mi, pork belly stew, spring rolls, shaking beef, lemongrass chicken and grilled pork chops (above), served with soup, pickled vegetables, rice and an egg/meat pate. Portions are hearty, and the grilled pork has a nice, sweet flavour.

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Another dish I recommend trying is the lemongrass chicken with fried rice. Lemongrass is a popular herb used in many Vietnamese dishes, and the flavour permeates throughout the tender, juicy whole fried chicken thigh.

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I tend to order the same dishes whenever I visit (namely banh mi). This time around, I got the pho (beef noodle soup) but requested for no beansprouts.

The noodles are nice and silky, and there are generous portions of thinly sliced beef within. I can see why people like pho coz it has a very herb-y, refreshing taste (especially for those who like basil) – but I don’t think I will be ordering this again. Nothing against the pho – it’s just my personal preference.

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Service is fast, and most of the servers speak Mandarin as well as Vietnamese. Prices have increased since the beginning of the year, but they are still within the reasonable range.

BANH MI CAFE

No.1, Jalan Puteri 7/10,Bandar Puteri Puchong,47100 Puchong, Selangor.

Tel : 603-8060 0127

Opening hours: 1030am – 10pm (daily)

Food Review: Saigon Memoir, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Aside from hotpot and dimsum places, Puchong is best known for its Vietnamese restaurants. The Moo is a big fan of Vietnamese cuisine, and we usually go to this cafe called Banh Mi for our fix, but decided to try a new place over the weekend called Saigon Memoir, in Bandar Puteri Puchong.

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The restaurant boasts a bright and cheerful look, with Vietnamese hats gracing the facade and a small herb garden at the front. The inside is a nice blend of modern and traditional , with lanterns dangling from the ceiling and black and white framed photos of everyday Vietnamese life. The cool blue walls and dim lights make for a cosy setup.

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One qualm I did have about the place was the seating arrangement. The tables were squashed so tightly together, the waitresses actually had problems maneuvering and getting the dish to the tables in the middle lol.

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In the mood for meat, so I had the Sizzling Beef Sandwich (RM18.90). The dish was served with baguette, fried egg, ham slices, veggies and herbs. You can stuff the baguette with meat – sort of like a DIY Banh Mi. The baguette’s crispy texture went well with the tender, flavourful slices of beef, and the bread was perfect for dipping into the peppery meat sauce.

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Heaven in a roll! It was filling but didn’t feel too heavy afterwards.

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Pops and the Bro both had the Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Rice (RM15.90), which came with a humongous chicken thigh. Loved the smoky, slightly charred exterior and the juicy chicken which was cooked to perfection – albeit, the lemongrass flavour was not very pronounced.

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Moo’s Mien Ga (chicken glass noodle soup) was chock full of herbs and veggies. Did not try this because I abhor the taste of beansprouts :’D

We did have to wait awhile for the lemongrass chicken because they cook it to order, but service was otherwise fast, efficient and friendly. Food felt authentic and tasted good, and while prices are above average, the huge portions more than make up for it.

  • Food: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Ambience: 3.5/5
  • Price: Average RM13+ onwards for mains

SAIGON MEMOIR 

29, Jalan Puteri 4/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Business hours: 10AM – 10PM (Daily)

Phone: 018-287 6065

Review: Pho Street, IOI Mall Puchong

The Moo and I were in IOI Mall Puchong for a spot of shopping recently, and we stopped for lunch at Pho Street, a restaurant specialising in Vietnamese cuisine. It was not too packed and we were led to our table and served promptly.

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Blue and white + wood seems to be the theme around here. I liked the traditional-looking lamp shades they had on the ceiling.

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One side of the resto featured a painting of a giant panda being wheeled by a tricycle lol.

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I know the place is called Pho Street, but we were both craving for rice and went for the chicken/rice dishes instead. Moo had the Lemongrass Chicken Chop Rice, which came with a small side of salad and pickled vegetables. Portions were generous: a huge mound or rice with a thick slab of chicken thigh. The chicken tasted fresh and was tender and juicy, but sadly, it was overpowered by the sweetness of the lemongrass sauce and became quite cloying to eat after the first few bites.

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Same thing with my Turmeric Chicken Chop, which, if you can believe it, was even sweeter than the Lemongrass one. I know Vietnamese cuisine tends to be on the sweet side, but it was definitely overpowering. Would I say the food was bad? Nah, but it wasn’t great either and I wouldn’t deign to order this again. Perhaps the Banh Mi (sandwiches) or a bowl of Pho next time.

**Dining out is so exp these days – our meal was RM15.90 each plus 10% service charge and 6% service tax for a whopping 16% (!) 

PHO STREET 

Level 2, Food Street, IOI Mall, 23, Lebuhraya Damansara – Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium – The Hottest Pop-Up Dining Joint in Penang Now Extended Til July 2018!

What can you do with an old, disused saw mill?

You turn it into the hottest, most happening food spot in town.

At least, that’s what the folks at The Steamship Merchants have done with Swallow @ The Saw Emporium, located at Gat Lebuh Macallum in Georgetown, Penang.

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Open since November 2017, Swallow is a multi-concept culinary and lifestyle pop-up event, housed on the first level of a 1950-built art-deco industrial heritage building.

Swallow, The Saw Emporium @ Macallum Road, Penang, Malaysia - 2017 - Kian Contract Malaysia (134)

Make your way from the carpark to the Courtyard and through the original sawmill, lined with timber, tools and saw blades along a walkway. A repurposed 5-metre-long timbre table in the al fresco Courtyard seats 24 on stools from Kian Furniture.

Ultra. Instagrammable.  

Though, it’s really the food and lifestyle offerings that draws the crowd – and they’ve got brand spanking new concepts, new hours, updated food menus and upcoming kitchen takeovers. Originally scheduled to end in early 2018, response has been so encouraging that they’ve extended it until July 2018! 

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New to Swallow is Pho Viet, a Vietnamese café-restaurant committed to serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine with healthy, fresh ingredients. Feast on authentic dishes, from banh mi sandwiches and barbecued meats to fresh and fried spring rolls and steamed banana cakes.

Embers Braised Pork Belly Rice

Mainstay dining partners return with updated menus and well-loved favourites. Leading the charge is Embers BBQ Grill, a fully-flamed and fired-up Asian interpretation of the classic All-American steakhouse. Expect slow roasts and smokey meats marinated in herbs and condiments typically found in Asian kitchens, cooked over a glowing charcoal fire. The  menu also showcases savoury snacks for sharing such as Luncheon Meat Fries and Happy Like Duck Nachos, as well as more substantial items like the Taiwanese Pork Rice.

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For tantalising Thai dishes, head to WhatSaeb แซบ Boat Noodles. The word saeb is an Isan/North-eastern Thai word for delicious, and Whatsaeb certainly delivers with panache with its authentic Thai boat noodles, served in dainty bowls that easily stack up – because one is never enough. As part of their updated menu, the pop-up now offers Pad Thai Nong Khai and Larb Moo Tod (fried pork and herb meatballs) as well.

Teppei Syokudo Eat

Not to be missed is Teppei Syokudo, the flagship of the award winning Teppei Japanese Restaurant from Singapore. Famous for its great value omakase set dinners in Singapore, Malaysian guests will be able to tuck into its expanded rice bowl offerings, with hot-sellers like Unagi Tamago Don, Katsu Curry Don and Mentaiko Rice.

Swallow Bottled Cocktails

Food is not the only thing that Swallow brings to the table, as they carry their own brand of bottled cocktails, now available via the DaVinci Gourmet Cocktail Bar. Meanwhile, beer lovers will not want to miss out on TAPS Beer Bar, a pure craft beer bar with outlets in Kuala Lumpur, as they continue to expand their craft beer and cider bottles with weekly specials in limited quantities.

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Qwenchers Logo Embedded

Those who prefer something non-alcoholic (like yours truly) can quench their thirst at the Qwenchers Juice Bar, where one will find everything from coffee to tea and cocktails, prepared using only the best and freshest natural ingredients coupled with unique homemade recipes. Alternatively, hop on over to Norm, where its baristas-cum-bartenders present to diners skyscraping waffles, signature tiramisu and specialty coffees from 9AM, whilst infusing limited-edition cocktails via Noct from dusk until midnight.

Weekend takeovers and quarter long pop-ups with partners such as SOi 55 modern Thai, Yin’s Sourdough Pizza, Three Food Truck & Wham ensure that every visit will be a different experience to Swallow. Friday evenings from 9PM – midnight are a great time to chill, as the venue showcases local artistes, musicians and songbirds.

Swallow, The Saw Emporium @ Macallum Road, Penang, Malaysia - 2017 - Kian Contract Malaysia (62)

From April 2018, Swallow opens from Wednesdays to Sundays and Public Holidays from 11 am to 12 midnight or until the last guest leaves. The Saw Emporium is available for private event bookings and corporate event reservations with customized menus including non-Swallow days on Mondays and Tuesdays, subject to availability via enquiries@steamships.co

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium
1 Gat Lebuh Macallum, George Town 10300, Penang

 

*Photos courtesy of Steamships.co