Since moving to Dubai from Saigon, we have been longing for some good ol’ quality Vietnamese food that we love so much. So what we did is that we compiled a list of Viet joints and we will visit them all!
First stop, Hoi An! Based in the Shangri-La Hotel, Hoi An is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant serving a wide range of delicious tasting cuisine from all over the asian country (because cuisine from the North is completely different from the Central and South part of Viet Nam).
One thing you should know, is that all the staff are from Viet Nam, chef included, so they know all the dishes that you may like and want to try depending on your culinary preferences.
Prawn Cakes with Sweet & Sour Chilli sauce. Our favourite, but don’t get excited by eating too much and fill you up! Prawn Cakes traditionally are known to be served with the Vietnamese salads. So as a tip, if you order salads, request the waitress to keep the prawn cakes to eat in combination with the salad.
So we asked to try everything authentic, they came out with a dish that has a bite of everything, my favorite thing since I love to try everything! There was Goi Cuon (Vietnamese rice paper roll with chicken and shrimp), Cha gio or Nem like they say in North Vietnam (Crispy seafood spring roll), Banh Xeo (Rice flour pancake), Crab cake with spicy mayonnaise sauce, Crispy coconut prawn, Pan seared foie gras (a great fusion dish), grilled duck sausage and green papaya salad. Added to all that, we had to taste their Pho. Mitch usually would go for the huge big bowl, but needed to keep some space for the mains. The Pho was delicious, but as expected, since not all the spices are available, it was a bit different. Note that there is no MSG as well in the soup so it explains also the taste difference from the Pho we eat in Vietnam.
Mitch went for a big pho another time at brunch and was quite quite satisfied as the Pho tasted better that day! Kudos. Pho isn’t easy at all to cook.
We had this mixed dish with grilled baby chicken, oven bak seabass (was DELICIOUS) and pan fried king prawn with garlic, lemongrass and basil. These are fusion , or how can I say this… upgraded versions of traditional household Vietnamese food. It was great to have all that with delicious Hoi An fried rice wrapped in a lotus leaf and wok beef tenderloin. The mains we went for was a perfect reflection of food I grew up with cooked by mom.
For deserts, we went really really light as we had literally no more room for food. Couldn’t go wrong with fried banana serve with ice cream for both of us to share! Not to mention, we had to take a Ca Phe Dua Da, which is vietnamese ice coffee. THE traditional and typical thing you need to get when you visit the country. It felt so good to have one, it reminded me of Vietnam so much.
We were so impressed with the quality of food, we signed up for the Saturday Brunch to have a taste of every element of the menu they have. It is very well priced for the quality food you get. If you don’t want to drink, you can get all you can eat Vietnam goodness for only 145AED! Unlimited alcoholic drinks and food for 265AED which is super well priced in Dubai terms.
Our favorite part about Hoi An is that all the staff is vietnamese! They were the sweetest people and the restaurant manager Luyen was so helpful an fun to chat with. Throughout the night, we could see her team and herself greet other guests amazingly and with many of them had huge chats and laughs with them. We had the feeling a lot of regulars come to Hoi An and to be honest I am not surprised, the food, atmosphere and staff is great. The bar beside the restaurant is like your personal bar in the house, perfect to go get a calm drink. Shangri-La, big thumbs up!
Free parking is available and you can get 2 for 1! with The Entertainer! Totally worth it and plan a long night so you can enjoy fully the calm atmosphere. If you love Vietnamese food, make sure to go to their Brunch.
Follow them on twitter.com/ShangriLa_Dubai
Have you ever been to Vietnam? Do you like Vietnamese food?