The potentially deadly dinner at O’Viet by Du Viet

duviet oviet

“She saved me from embarrassment and potentially poisoning myself to death!” smirk

oviet duviet

We had dinner at O’Viet by Du Viet last night as part of our weekend staycation, which we just came back from. It’s a restaurant that markets itself as having food influenced by the ancient royal capital of Hue in Vietnam.

duviet booth

As we perused the menu before going in, I remember a lot of the dishes from my trip to Hanoi. The place just shouted out to us while we were walking around the mall beside the hotel and my dear decided to have dinner here.

duviet bill

The ambiance is great and they have a secluded back booth with period decorations which I thought was really nice. The service is great too but the prices are a little on the high side. The bill for the both of us came up to RM 104.39.

fish soup price

I wanted to eat the Sour Fish Soup Noodles (RM 33) and noticed that it had a *sticker* with a revised (!!!) price on it. Curious, I peeled it back to see what the original price was.

price revealed

It was RM 19.90. I understand that black cod is seasonal though, so since it’s out of season (and thus probably not that fresh – low food miles, eating in-season ingredients and all that) I chose their flagship dish.

vietnam spring roll

My dear ordered Nem Saigon (Fresh Summer Rolls) for appetizers. This is what people normally associate with Vietnamese steamed wrapped rolls and costs RM 9.90. We had made Vietnamese rolls at home before and while mine wasn’t successful, she managed to perfect it. There’s options of chicken, prawn, beef and vegetarian. We went for the prawn.

prawn spring roll

It’s served with a peanut sauce that I found rather intriguing. It has a bit of heat in it but just right to balance the sweetness. The perfect dipping sauce! The downside is that there was just a tiny shrimp in each roll.

pho

She also ordered the Pho Hai San (Special Seafood Soup Noodles) coz she wanted to eat pho. It came in a huge bowl with fresh prawns, fish fillet, fried shrimp balls, squid and cuttlefish in a mildly spicy soup. It was priced at RM 15.90 and I loved the soup base – it’s seafood-y goodness! :D

vietnamese hot pot

I ordered the Du Viet’s signature dish – Beef in Vinegar Hot Pot (RM 49.90).

hue winter hotpot

It’s marketed as a classic Vietnamese winter dish from Hue.

hue hotpot beef

It’s basically a communal soup hot pot with thin slices of beef topped with a raw egg yolk on the side.

duviet condiments

You’re supposed to swish the beef in the soup and then make your own roll with the large plate of condiments (rice vermicelli, various traditional vegetables etc) and there’s a salty fish sauce dipping sauce too.

winter hot pot

This dish came with four (4) separate plates, each with it’s own translucent wrap. There’s four wraps in total and it’s meant to be a shared dish, which I didn’t know.

hue roll

However, the beef tasted really nice when dunked into the hot pot – the soup is a medley of ingredients that makes it slightly sweet and it’s a real pleasure to drink from.

vietnam roll

However, the fuel source burned out before we could finish eating, and we didn’t even notice it until after a while. This prompted us to chuck the remaining pieces of beef into the hot pot to cook in the ambient heat. It worked. :)

fresh egg soda

I also noticed that they have a drink I’ve been craving for since I came back from Vietnam – Fresh Egg Soda & Cream (RM 8.90). It’s basically raw egg mixed with ice cream soda (that’s vanilla flavored soda for those of you unfamiliar with the nomenclature) and cream – you can find it in various street vendors in Hanoi and it’s delicious.

vietnamese coffee

I also ordered Vietnamese Drip Coffee (RM 8.50). It came in the same nifty ground coffee drip system I’ve seen in a Vietnamese restaurant in Sibu way back in 2004 and also while I was at an authentic coffee shop in Hanoi.

duviet us

I had asked for condensed milk and ice on the side and I thought that the bowl on the left is a nicely decorated wooden ice bucket that’s supposed to fit into the drip system. I thought:

deadly ice cubes

“How interesting! They made ice cubes in a similarly sized metal container that *connects with* the Vietnamese drip coffee. I’ll put it under the drip so it’ll cool down my coffee”

flame

…and that was what I was about to do when the waitress re-appeared and *lit* what I thought was ice cubes at first glance in the dark back booth. She just saved me from potential embarrassment and the likelihood of a deadly poisoning. Haha!

hue hot pot

The “ice cubes” turned out to be the fuel for the Hue Winter Hot Pot that I had ordered.

Vietnamese Coffee

hanoi coffee outlet

Hanoi does not have a coffee drinking culture, at least not in the Old Quarter. The people congregate and have communion over unsweetened iced tea instead. However, there are cafes around which serves coffee though I would hazard to say that tea vastly trumps coffee over here.

I have walked around the various streets and I’ve never seen the complicated Vietnam drip coffee contraption – except in high end (by Vietnamese standards) cafes. I choose to go where the locals go instead. This is a form of pride, I must admit – I shun all touristy places and eat and drink where the locals go to get a dose of their culture.

hanoi coffee stool

I am a very firm believer that when you go somewhere, you should do as they do, not go on some guided tour. Be a traveller, not a tourist and go about it yourself. I am a travel snob when it comes to this. I can never figure out why people come to eat…steak or drink beers which are available at their home. *snob

Anyway, back to Vietnamese coffee, they don’t put the drip contraption at your table coz there are no tables. smirk

hanoi coffee

You sit on the ubiquitous stools that are available while you enjoy your coffee. It’s served black with sugar over ice but you can also opt for condensed milk. The people there don’t speak much English so I pointed at a guy opposite me and said I wanted that. The coffee here is really good – rich and strong.

It’s a very refreshing drink on a hot day. I paid VND 20,000 (RM 3) for this and I saw the guy opposite me paying VND 10,000. I called them on it and they said it’s a different drink. How can it be a different drink when I specifically pointed and said I wanted the same drink? hmph

hanoi coffee guy opposite

Some places put a “foreigner surcharge” so I purposely waited until the guy paid since there are no menus or price lists over here. I guess they felt bad coz when I was about to leave they called me and gave me VND 10,000.

*thumbs up*

Posted: 7:00 pm Hanoi time

Nem Cua Be

Nem Cua Be frying

I discovered this delicious morsel of a snack while wondering the alleys of the Old Quarter in Hanoi earlier today. I had 1 hour to kill before the acclaimed Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre so I was just wondering around and stumbled upon this hole-in-the-wall eating establishment.

Nem Cua Be

I just wanted a beer but I saw they sell Nem Cua Be for 8,000 VND (about RM 1.20) and I asked what it was. It turns out to be beef and vegetables in a sort of spring roll. It’s deep fried before serving but that’s not that best thing.

Nem Cua Be dipping sauce

The dipping sauce (the ubiquitous fish sauce in Vietnam) is hot (as in warm) so it made the entire thing tastes really good. They had some meat floss action going in there too.

Nem Cua Be birds

Best enjoyed with a Bia Ha Noi. smirk

Posted: 12:26 am Hanoi time

Little Hanoi

little hanoi

Little Hanoi is a coffee shop that mushroomed up in place of another
coffee shop which has ceased operating some time ago. I just saw this
eatery when I came back to Sibu this time. I went there today with my
girlfriend for lunch. Little Hanoi serves Vietnamese food, with slight
alterations to suit local tastes.

little hanoi pho

This is their pho, which is made with hor fun. The dish is made with good broth (which IMHO dictates the taste of the pho) – clear and satisfying.

little hanoi lime

It is served with half a lime, the likes of which I’ve never seen
before…the patterns in the middle of the lime seems unfamiliar, or
maybe they just sliced the lime diagonally.

little_hanoi_pho_close.jpg

Here’s a closer look at the pho. The hor fun is soft, and the thinly sliced beef in the soup tastes tender too.

little hanoi beef noodles

This is Little Hanoi’s implementation of beef noodles – it comes with thickly sliced carrots and chunks of beef in a thick soup.

little hanoi sea salt

This one is served with half a lime and some sea salt, which goes nicely with the chunks of beef.

little hanoi beef noodles close

Here’s a closer look at the beef noodles…there’s some bean sprouts in there too, to counter balance the taste.

little hanoi spring roll

Finally, we ordered a side dish of deep fried spring rolls. The
coating on this is very unique, and this makes the texture interesting.

Little Hanoi may not be an authentic Vietnamese eating experience,
but it’s a welcome addition to Sibu’s relatively slow growing food
industry.

Adem Finest Cuisine

adem.jpg

Adem Finest Cuisine is the latest Vietnamese restaurant to hit Sibu
and I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. I went there for
lunch today to check them out.

adem interior

The seating arrangements are divided into two areas – the inside
(shown above) which offers a pub like ambience and the al fresco area
outside (shown below).

adem al fresco

I chose the latter coz it was a bright and cheery sunny day and also
because I found the water lilies they had growing in the trough lining
the al fresco area intriguing and very peaceful.

adem water lilies

I saw that the umbrella covers were all showing Trung Nguyen Coffee,
and the waitress confirmed that it’s their specialty Vietnamese coffee
so I had that.

adem vietnamese coffee

It came in the form of some metal contraption on top of a cup and saucer.

adem coffee lift

Noticing the befuddled look on my face, the waitress kindly
explained the system…basically, it’s a coffee filter, and you open
the lid when the water has seeped through and put it upside down on the
table.

adem coffee side

The other two contraptions is then lifted and put on top of the said
upside down lid “to avoid the coffee from spilling” or something.

adem coffee strong good

The resulting coffee was fragrant, with a nice robust aroma. It was strong and good, just the way I like it.

adem trung nguyen

There’s coffee service in the form of milk, ice cubes and sugar, but I espoused that in favour of the dark, rich coffee.

adem garlic toast

It also comes with complementary garlic bread toast, and man…I
can’t describe the feeling of chewing on a bit of garlic toast and
taking a sip of hot coffee to chase it down. It’s divine!

adem vietnamese omelette

As for the food, I ordered “Vietnamese Omelette” to start things off…

adem omelette

…it was just egg and sausages, nothing to write home about.

adem beef pho

I also ordered their famous Vietnamese beef noodles, shown here in all its glory – hot, steaming pho!

adem pho condiments

The pho came with three condiments – lime, chilli sauce, and sea salt.

adem vietnamese noodles

The pho was absolutely fabulous…it’s the understated but rich
type, with nearly clear stock, but it was well made and the natural
flavours of the ingredients fused together to provide a superlatively
wonderful meal. ;)

Seriously though, their pho is good…go and try it!

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