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)

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

Banh Mi Vietnamese Cafe, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been caught up with a lot of things and haven’t had time to blog. *sad face* There are so many backlogged entries! ;___; I’ll try to put them up soon before I forget.

Anyway, here’s a quick one on my recent visit to a local Vietnamese cafe near my place called Banh Mi. Yep, like the bun. Suggested to me by colleagues who have been to the place. Goes to show that you can live in a city and not know everything..

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The cafe is housed in a double storey building and was packed on a Saturday afternoon – but service was fairly fast and efficient. The tables have a call button so you can ring the waiters. Since it was a really hot day, I got cold and refreshing sweet tea. It had a bit of the ‘Hacks’ flavour to it so might not be everyone’s cup of tea (hahahaha I’m so lame) but I enjoyed the taste.

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Mi had lemongrass frog with rice. Served in a claypot, the sauce was packed with flavour, and the lemongrass gave it a strong aroma. Quite salty, but the meat was soft and tender.

If you’ve never had frog, it tastes like chicken. I’m not kidding. Smoother, tender-er chicken.

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Pops and I had their signature pork banh mi. For those who don’t know, Banh Mi or Vietnamese sandwich is a popular staple and can be found all over Vietnam. It refers to generic breads of all kinds, but the one that we know here is the kind that uses a hard, crusty baguette. Since Vietnam was once under French rule, a lot of French influences can be found merged with the local Asian-style cuisine. The inside of the Banh Mi was stuffed with carrots, turnip, cucumber slices, ham slices and bits of roast pork with a nice balance of lean and fat.

Besides pork there are loads of other options available too like fish, chicken, ham, etc.

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I think if you’re an older person, Banh Mi might not be the best dish for you. The crust is hard! And it flakes everywhere so you get a messy table 😛

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Rounding the meal off with something sweet – pudding with coffee. The coffee’s bitter taste offset the sweet flavour of the caramel-ly pudding.

You know how they say if a place is packed with locals, then the resto is authentic? Well we saw loads of Vietnamese at the cafe, so rest assured you’re getting some pretty awesome food. Wait can be long though esp when the place is packed.

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

Tel : 603-8060 0127

Opening hours: 1030am – 10pm (daily)

Banh Mi @ Vietnam Dien Hem, Bandar Puteri Puchong

The first time I had banh mi was from a street stall in Hanoi, Vietnam. I’ll never forget that taste –  herbs and veggies, tender roast pork basted in sweet/savoury sauces – all stuffed into a crispy, toasty baguette. While there are good Vietnamese restaurants in KL, it was hard to find the same taste.

A few months ago, the fam and I went to Vietnam Diem Hen, an authentic Viet place in Bandar Puteri, Puchong. I was overjoyed to see that they served Banh Mi. Unfortunately, they had run out by evening, so it wasn’t until recently that I got to try it out.

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Only RM6.90! For light eaters, this is filling enough already 🙂

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Moo’s classic pork charsiu banh mi. The meat was soft and moist, while the crunchy cucumber, carrots and pickled radish were fresh and crisp. Beautiful blend of textures! The charsiu sauce was sweet but not overwhelming. Almost as good as the one I had in Hanoi 😛

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I had the pork bologna banh mi. This was drier, but was buttered at the bottom. Bologna slices were thick and lightly salted/peppered. Cilantro leaves gave it an almost minty kick.

Each plate is served with a complimentary glass of tea.

The food at Vietnam Diem Hen feels homecooked, but my only complaint is… their service is really slow. We were one of only two tables occupied, and they still took at least half an hour to serve the food. The same person who was making the drinks also manned the counter, collected the bills, cleaned the tables and handed out the menu.

VIETNAM DIEM HEN

10G, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100, Puchong, Selangor.

*Banh Mi not available for dinner.

Vietnam Diem Hen, Bandar Puteri Puchong

 

Happy Wesak Day! Today is an important day for Buddhists as it marks the birthday of Buddha. The fam and I thought of going to the local mall for some porridge, but the roads were packed with cars heading out for prayers/processions (+ the usual mall crawl), so we went to Bandar Puteri instead. Spotted this new restaurant called Vietnam Dien Hen, and since my parents haven’t had Vietnamese food before, we decided to give it a try.

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Place was very warm since they didn’t have air-conditioning – but it looked really homely, like we were in someone’s house. There was even a baby hammock in one corner. The walls were decorated with small Vietnamese items like leafhats and paintings.

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One side of the restaurant was stocked with Vietnamese snacks, instant noodles and food items. The owner is Chinese, but I think he married a Vietnamese lady as there were kids sitting at the table speaking Vietnamese to the mum (and an older lady whom I presume was the grandma) while they played games on their gadgets and watched Cantonese dramas on a small TV mounted on the counter.

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I wanted to get Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich made from baguette, stuffed with veges and sliced meat) but was told that they had run out – so I got lemongrass chicken rice instead. The dish was nicely presented – not fancy, but colourful and done with thought, such as the way they  sliced the tomatoes and cucumber into thin strips. The lemongrass fried chicken was decent, but I loved the butter rice which was fragrant and yummy. Could have eaten it on its own! 🙂

They also serve the meal with a bowl of soup and tea.

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Dad’s pork chop rice had pork done in three styles: thin, dry strips; a juicy grilled patty, and pate which reflected the Vietnamese-French heritage. The strips tasted like bacon but less salty, while the pate was well-spiced with an eggy aftertaste.

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Last but not least, mum’s Claypot Lemongrass Chicken Rice. Meat was tender, broth was strongly infused with the flavour of lemongrass, but a tad too salty.

From what I can see, the place is pretty popular with the local Vietnamese community, as they made up most of the customers. And you know what they say about a restaurant – if you want to know whether it’s authentic, always see if the natives are eating there.

Prices are RM10+ for dishes, and RM6+ and above for the Banh Mi. They also serve snacks (rice rolls, deep fried spring rolls) and noodles.

VIETNAM DIEM HEN 

10G, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100, Puchong, Selangor.

 

Banh Mi in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Have you tried banh mi? Although the term is used to describe all kinds of bread in Vietnamese, it is synonymous with the sandwich version. Vietnamese cooking is very much influenced by the French, thanks to centuries of colonisation, and the banh mi is the perfect marriage of cultures. There is the hard baguette, mayo, pate and jalepeno, combined with native Viet ingredients like cilantro, cucumber, carrots and daikon + slices of meat.

While in Ho Chi Minh City, we tried a stall just outside a local plaza – and were mindblown by how tasty it was. All for only 5,000VND (less than Rm1!).

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Thick slabs of different meats such as charsiu slices and pork belly lined the display window along with bread, veggies and sauces. The lady ladled a hot meaty broth straight into our bread before loading it with lots of veggies. The result was a beautiful blend of textures and flavours  : crunchy, wheaty bread, juicy chunks of pork and broth, fresh veggies… it’s true that the best food is found on the streets.

So if you’re ever around Ho Chi Minh City, do look out for street peddlers selling banh mi for a tasty and cheap meal. 🙂

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We went souvenir shopping at a local plaza.

There were so many shops selling the same items. Competition must be mad, which is why the saleswomen literally drag you by your shirt to look at their wares. There were lots of snacks, fruits and coffee at cheap prices. To maximise on foreign tourists, they even sell things like Kopi Luwak along with their Viet cofee. (Kopi Luwak is the coffee made from civet cat poop, popular in Indonesia).  I bought more sweets to go.. my bag was bulging by the end of the trip lol. I almost went over my baggage limit on the plane.

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Vietnamese Cuisine at Tam Coc, Vietnam

Do you like Vietnamese food? I think it’s very vegetable-heavy ,something that isn’t quite to my taste. 😀 But then again, I haven’t had much variety except for pho and what they serve at the local Viet restuarants in Malaysia.

Our first Vietnamese meal after arriving in Hanoi was a restaurant near Tam Coc (the Three Caves), a nice wooden building with air-conditioned interior. I can’t remember what it’s called because there were no signages. There were lots of Korean tourists.

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Their specialty is goat’s meat served with a sliced fruit (?) or vegetable that tasted slightly sour and with a coarse texture on the tongue, like unripe plantains. The mutton was grilled and quite tender.

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We were told to eat it wrapped in rice paper rolls, which were translucent and looked like plastic sheets. I was wondering if they were really edible, because they didn’t look like any food I’ve ever had. They make a crackly sound like paper when you rustle them.

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Placed everything onto the rice paper with some fish sauce, then wrapped it up into a roll and popped it into my mouth. The rice paper is crispy on the outside and melts once it touches saliva. The goat meat was chewy and well-marinated, while the herbs and vege(?) gave it a well-balanced flavour. Felt really healthy eating it lol.

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….and then proceeded to negate everything by gorging on fried food, lol. Most of it was seafood because we had to cater to one of our Muslim group members. She wouldn’t even eat chicken coz she said it might not be Halal.

The seafood was well-prepared, especially the fish cutlets. We dipped everything in more fish sauce and chilli.

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There was so much food we couldn’t finish it, so we told our guide to instruct the cooks to make less next time. No point in wasting.

SAM_1955-tile SAM_1946-tileEverytime we went to a restaurant, they gave us a choice of either Fanta, Coke or water. I think I drank my whole year’s quote in those few days lol.