Sunday, October 27, 2013

Food Review: An Nam Vietnamese, Lee Gardens, Causeway Bay HK

The slacker in me has decided to make more of an effort to "introduce" the good food in HK. I have been eating non stop but apart from loading to FB, it has become sort of a chore to try to blog separately here but oh case there is ever a day I need to close my FB account...better to have spare memory bank here as well. Heh heh.

Let's start with the newly opened An Nam Vietnamese restaurant, located at Lee Gardens 4F. ( The description says "upscale", I guess that simply means very elaborate nice ambience setting and prices packed with a punch. However that said, I loved the new Viet food joint here. Ever since Rice paper has closed at WTC mall, I have been lamenting about the lack of good Viet food in CWB area. Someone heard my wish list and gave me 2 viet dining spots within the same month after a long year's wait.

The other viet place is Nha Trang ( now located up at Times Square Food Forum. I didnt particularly like the food here though cheaper than An Nam, but that's for another day.

To date, I have been to An Nam twice, and had tried all different food to sample the relatively wide choice. Surprisingly, they didnt have my fav grilled pork neck, but I suppose that's more Thai than Viet.

On my first trip, I had ordered the Tamarind Chilli crab (HK480), the Jumbo clams cooked with coconut in broth, and lastly the Angus beef sliced pho.

tamarind crab. *yummy*
I seriously love the crab dish. The claws were meaty and fresh, no funny business there with the freshness. The sauce was honestly finger licking good with the right tangy sweetness and spice.

We ordered the clams belatedly after seeing what the table behind us had. They were fat, juicy goodness and the coconut did a splendid job of enhancing the flavor.

I had never had angus beef pho before and to be honest, chicken pho is my usual order. However, wanting to break away from convention, I bravely ordered this and was nicely rewarded. The meat was sweet and nicely cooked after being soaked in the broth for a while. This got to be the best beef pho in town, but like my fren said, how not to be good when its angus. Ha! he took the words out of my mouth.

On my 2nd trip last night, I tried a different starter. The marinated chicken on prawn crackers.
This came as a delightful yummy dish, the meat was tender and the prawn cracker has the right crunch. You know how horrible prawn cracker can be if its stale, like chewing tasteless chalk, but not An Nam prawn cracker. They were a solid bite and freshness guaranteed on my visit!

Marinated Chicken on prawn crackers.
 The next starter we had was traditional spring rolls. Personally, this didnt do it for me. I think after my backpacking trip to Ho Chi Ming a decade back, and having the BEST spring roll ever at the backpacker alley, I could NEVER find another spring roll as good as that ever again. Repeatedly, I get disappointed. The wrap was a little too hard for me. It didnt break nicely when I had my bite, so it kinda "cut" the back of my gum after 3 of these. The fillings was ok. Nothing special or wow about it. i think I prefer our Chinese spring rolls instead.

Wanting to try something unique not often seen in other Viet dining, we ordered the "Pork knuckles Vermicelli". First off, I would like to correct the misconception. In Asia, or at least in Singapore, when one says Vermicelli, you think of the fine white noodle or even mee suan. However, this vermicelli here in HK refers to the thick white laksa noodle (Hk's 米線).

The flavor was delicious. No seriously, it was good! I cant describe it but its not spicy yet has a slight hint of spice. Apart from the fact that one dont get much meat out of the pork knuckles, this is a very good bowl of noodles which I didnt have a chance of trying in my past Viet trip. If I could have my way, I would keep the broth and noodle and throw in pork neck instead to make this a bowl of kickarse undefeatable noodle.

Pork knuckle noodles
The last main for the nite was Jumbo prawns. They were JUMBO alright. Think the size of a huge lobster, that's what these freaking prawns are like. However, maybe they were too big, so the meat is not as tender as I would like and there is nothing special about the sauce though they were nice. Basically what I mean to say is, I could cook this in my own kitchen without a fuss and so it wont be something I would be in a hurry to order anytime soon. However, if you dont cook, and you generally fancy prawns cook with tomato sauce and worcestershire sauce mixed with dash of water and sugar, this will be your dish.

jumbo prawns

My dessert for the night was the chocolate fondant with coconut icecream. We started laughing at the appearance because it looked as if someone in the kitchen slipped and scattered some flour or icing sugar over it accidentally. It looks a mess! Lol!

However, taste wise it was good but no surprise there, moist on the inside. Def better than the mango pana cotoo dessert I had the last time though.

choc fondant with coconut icecream

Are the meals here cheap? Definitely NOT. My second nite set me back by HK1000, including 2 fresh coconuts to the meal. However, freshness and service is a definite thumbs up. The lady who waited on the table was very pretty to me and from her accent, I knew she wasnt local nor in Hk for long. I made a guess she was from Viet and sure enough in our conversations later, she confirmed her origins and I just love her smiles:)

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