Thursday 12 October 2017

Fresh new flavours

Pluck your own fresh basil leaves 

My Best Friend wants to know why I keep going back to An Viet when there are so many other Vietnamese restaurants in my neighbourhood. I guess it’s because I’ve always enjoyed my meals here, especially knowing that An Viet is not just about profits. 
Its owners are genuinely concerned about food wastage and hope to create awareness about minimising wastage. So they encourage diners to choose how much rice and noodles they want. 
It also uses the freshest ingredients; indeed, at its outlet in Sunway Mall, diners practically pluck basil leaves off plants in pots. It can’t get any fresher than this. 
The mains are always cooked to order as the owners and chef Tuyen believe nothing beats the taste of freshly cooked food. Recently,  An Viet had made some updates to its menu. I couldn't wait to get over there for a taste. 
Deepfried spring rolls
Rice paper & mango salad served in a glass jar. Add condiments, shake well and
pour everything into a bowl to enjoy the multi layers of textures and flavours
We start with Cha Gio (RM7.90) deepfried spring rolls with vegetarian option available and Banh Trang Tron (RM13.90), a rice paper and green mango salad. The latter is a lot of fun. Diners add lime juice and a chilli sauce to ingredients in a glass jar, seal it close and shake to mix everything together. Then pour it out into a big bowl and eat. Lovely flavours in a shareable portion. 
Fat and juicy sugar cane prawn
MBF is always on the look-out for Chao Tom (RM11.90) but I usually find this to be too dry to enjoy. Fortunately for An Viet's version, the grilled minced prawn paste wrapped around sugar cane sticks is thick and juicy. 
Pork belly and hard-boiled egg braised in coconut juice, served with rice
Then it’s on to the mains. Oh, so many to choose from. Luckily, we are joined by a couple of friends, so we can afford to try more of the new items. 
I have my eye on Lo’n Kho Nu’o’c Du’a (RM17.90; RM19.90 with rice). This dish of pork belly and hard boiled egg braised in coconut juice is so yummy. Reminiscent of tau eu bak, the tender meat with layers of fat sandwiched in between, comes in a lighter sauce with sweet hints of coconut. 
Catfish cooked with fresh dill, Hanoi-style. Eat with vermicelli, herbs and fish sauce 
The staff recommends Cha Ca La Vong (RM23.90). This Hanoi-style fish with turmeric and dill is said to have originated from the Cha Ca La Vong restaurant in Hanoi, which has been named by US MSNBC as  5th in top 10 places to dine at.
Served in a cast-iron skillet kept hot over a portable gas stove, the chunks of catfish are cooked with fresh dill, turmeric, onions, chilli and scallions with a scattering of roasted peanuts. Comes with vermicelli, herbs and a tangy fish sauce. To eat, put herbs, lettuce and vermicelli in a small bowl. Add the fish and herbs from the skillet and pour in some nuoc cham (fish sauce with lime juice, chilli etc). 
Special Pho Bo Dac Biet with sliced raw beef, shank, tripe, tendon and beef balls 
served with lime, bean sprouts, chilli sauce and cruellers on the side
MBF is having Pho Bo Dac Biet (RM23.90), a Vietnamese national dish of beef noodles soup with sliced raw beef, brisket, shank, tripe, tendon and house-made pure beef balls. The soup, made by simmering beef bones with 18 herbs, spices and other ingredients for 12 hours, is both rich and complex in flavours. Add side condiments of beansprout, chilli sauce, fried cruellers, fresh basil (from the plant) and a squeeze of lime juice for added oomph.
Vermicelli in soup with pork ribs and bamboo shoot . Pluck fresh basil leaves and add. 
I don’t eat beef, but I am more than contented with Bun Su’on (RM19.90). This soupy vermicelli dish is topped with tender pork ribs and sliced bamboo shoot. Again, I add basil leaves, chilli sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. I must admit I was a little apprehensive about bamboo shoot but the one here is tasty without that strong pickled aroma. According to the staff, this is because the kitchen uses fresh bamboo shoots, not pickled.
Grilled lemongrass chicken and rice paper on Vietnamese vermicelli
Those who enjoy dry tossed noodles will love Bun Ga (RM16.90). The special Vietnamese vermicelli is springy with a certain resilence. It’s topped with grilled lemongrass chicken, shallots and roasted peanuts. Pour in some light, piquant nuoc cham and toss before eating. 
Banh mi chay with tofu patty and mushroom pate. It's so delicious
you wouldn't believe it's vegetarian
That ubiquitous Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi, is another favourite. This time, however, I notice that apart from fillings of pork chop and lemongrass chicken, there’s a vegetarian option. Banh mi chay (RM14.90) comes with tofu patty and a scrumptious mushroom pate to give it earthy notes. But to make a good banh mi, you need excellent bread and I’m pleased to find the baguette so light and crusty it crumbles at the slightest pressure of the teeth. 
The smooth, silky caramel pudding (RM6.90) is a fitting finale to our sojourn of Vietnamese flavours.

AN VIET (not halal)
Vietnamese Casual Dining 
LG2-127 Sunway Pyramid
Bandar Sunway, Selangor
Tel: 03-5611 2226

Monday to Friday: 11am to 10pm
Saturday, Sunday, Public Holiday: 10am to 10pm

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