Monday, March 21, 2011

Nhà Hàng Ngon

After much deliberation and many choices weighed, Gavin and I decided to take our pal Ann to Nhà Hàng Ngon for her last dinner in town.  Located at 160 Pasteur, it is set within a gloriously remodeled French colonial villa and its atmospheric courtyard.  Massive trees towering over the outdoor dining area, a fountain gleefully bubbling inside, and long strings of luminous bulbs carefully draped over the vegetation all contribute to a splendid ambiance.

When we first arrived in Saigon, we visited this bustling spot a few times based on the high praise bestowed upon it by the all-knowing Lonely Planet .  I actually used their vast menu as a way to sample new items and discover the Vietnamese names for morsels I enjoyed in the States.  Alone in a strange new culinary world, Gavin and I enjoyed many a phở gà and Mì xào bò here. At this point, generally sticking to comfort foods and the occasional order of steamed snails stuffed with ginger and minced pork.

While we hadn't gone for a while as you can often replicate your meals here at less expensive joints dotted throughout the city, it is a perfect restaurant to take visitors.  The premise of the restaurant is that everything is made by local street vendors who set-up their booths around the dining area.  Each booth caters specifically do a different type of regional delicacy.  Upon ordering, it's your servers job to amble from booth to booth collecting your dishes.  After ordering a large amount of grub, Ann and I took a stroll around to visit the booths and see what was being offered this evening.

Gavin the Troglodyte was already tucked into our first course when we returned to our table.   Our feast included an anemic plate of vegetable fried rice and a sumptuous pork, shrimp, and veggie stuffed pancake (Bánh xèo).

Gavin and Ann each had a grilled chicken skewer.  Grunts of delight spilled out of their over-stuffed mouths.  "Tender", "juicy", and "celestial" were some of the descriptors carelessly tossed around the table.

We also shared a plate of fried tofu and Chinese-style dumplings.  I highly recommended both of these dishes.

We left sated and happy.


Isis said...

So nice you took your friend out !!! Great pics, but I have never eaten escargot.

What do they taste like ? My Grandpa ( who unfortunately died when I was 2 ) apparently used to order Frogs Legs, whenever they went out to a "Nice Restaurant", as my Mother says ..... This was obviously a long time ago, because I've never seen Frogs Legs on any menu lately, anywhere in America !!!

The Restaurant looks beautiful, but please fill me in on snails...


Carol said...

Wonderful photographs, you make me want to try everything. I want to go to so many of the places you have posted....

huong said...

Wow, the day you posted this was the last day i worked there( i have worked for 'nhà hàng ngon' for more than two months and then i had to come back to school). Such a wonderful restaurant where you can find almost vietnamese food and a nice place to work too. Really nice to see all your comments.