One of the things I love about travelling is the chance to try new food and flavours. I'm not quite a foodie but I generally know what's a good meal and what's bad based on, oh, 100's of restaurants over the years. So far Doreen and I have been thoroughly impressed by some of the restaurants we have eaten in here in Vietnam. The boys, well give them a fresh mango shake or banana shake and they are happy (they're not big fans of the dragon fruit shake's though). These are photos of some places we have hit in Mui Ne.
Here's a fantastic meal we ate at an Indian restaurant. Highly recommended. We had Butter Chicken which was good but I've had better, the Aloo Gobi was very good but the higlight was the Palak Paneer (might be the best I have ever eaten). Their Tandoori breads and such are also worth a try as I think they do a very good job. With drinks and tip it worked out to approx $16.00 Cdn. Nice!
We tried "Good Morning, Vietnam" they have four locations in Vietnam and apparently they specialize in Italian cuisine. To be honest I thought this was the weakest place we have eaten at in Vietnam so far. The portions were small, the prices were a bit steep comparatively, the Gnocchi and Spaghetti (with capers, olives, anchovies and tomato) was about as uninspired as I have had in a long time. The tomato base they are using for their sauce was used in both dishes and it was singularly dimensional and had a poor texture. I'm not sure I got any anchovie in my dish. You can get better out of a can and a microwave. Staff were friendly as was the Italian manager, too bad the food didn't live up to the staffing. I should also add, the restaurant is set-back off the street and surrounded with a couple of buidings on either side which doesn't allow for good airflow, the back of the restaurant is stifling, a test of your heat/humidity capabilities. Take a pass on this one. There was a small ice cream parlour (in the open-air sense) a couple of minutes from Good Morning, Vietnam so we stopped in to fortify the small portions. The boys enjoyed their Banana Splits and at $1.50 per, it was a decent enough price. There are several of these along the way from our hotel towards Mui Ne village.
Our hotel "The Beach" resort hotel has seen us several times in the open-air restaurant (the only restaurant on the property). The staff, whether it is the morning or evening crew all treat the boys soooooo well, they greet them with their names and give them hugs and sit them down. It's not unusual for us to go up to the buffet and come back to one of the staff spoon feeding one of the boys their meal and wiping off imaginary spills on their chins with a napkin. I'm almost addicted to the "Morning Glory with Garlic" I'm not sure what kind of vegetable it is though it has a resemblance to a spinach with more stalk than leaves; cost = $1.25 Cdn, uhhmmmmm yeah I love that. A couple of nights ago the boys ate themselves into a coma at the restaurant, the staff whipped into action and in 30 seconds had them arranged on their newfound beds. We continue to be impressed with all the meals we have eaten here, the kitchen staff run a tight ship, things are very clean and considering the pricepoint (bargain) it keeps us coming back.
No doubt, this is a killer-find!!! I could keep going back to this place, again and again. "Rung Forest", write it down, go there then send me an email with a big "thank you Shaun you are the blog-king". Ok, I was just kidding about the last part. I'm not kidding about Rung Forest, it is incredibly good.
We started off with the spring rolls, sooo good but forget about how good they were - look at the plate presentation - it's is a masterpiece. Ok, don't go any furher in the blog until you click on this first photo of the spring rolls, the conversion of the Flickr held photos over to Blogger isn't doing a very clean presentation so you really need to click on this photo (and go to a much larger image) to understand what I am talking about. Those carrot flowers were hand carved with multiple petals and there were no breaks or disjointed attachments in the carving, it is a multi-layered, precise, artistic masterpiece in carving. Check out the greenery framing the carrots. Oh my! Now check out the hot pancake/crepe filled with seafood, bean sprouts etc, take a rice wrapper throw in some fresh greeneries throw it at some sipping sauce and it is so good you would want to fly here just for that (I think "that" is called Banh Xeo). Presented on banana leaf, it's the little things that count. The Banh Xeo's cost off the top of my head was approx $3.00 Cdn. Almost impossible.
Doreen's main was a multi-part plate which involved some of the tastiest marinated pork I have been exposed to. It was very complex, bold and by the time I got this photo taken Keegan had already filled both fists with attractive items before his bowl got to him. I went with a fish curry which was in keeping with all the other dishes - superb.
By the end of the meal, Keegan was still trying to eat with his eyes closed, feeling for his bowl by sense of touch then slowly putting more into his mouth. As you can see he slipped into a good-food stupor and Doreen was forced to eat one-handed. He barely raised his head at all as I carried him back to the hotel snoring on my shoulder.
A bonus about Rung Restaurant is that they made us wrist bracelets on their traditional weaving apparatus. Amazing to watch the two girls flip the loom around and somehow spell our names on the bracelets in hardly any time at all. Cost: Nothing, it was a present. This restaurant is doing it right and should be on every traveller's itinerary.
Can't mention food without mentioning coffee. It's now becoming a morning ritual to grind and Aeropress coffee in the hotel's restaurant. The staff are really interested in what's going on with all the arm spinning action on the grinder mechanism. This morning I was grinding up a blend of a Brazilian Beccor Lot, Ethiopian Harar and Indian Mysore Nuggets in a 70/15/15 split. I roasted it nearly 10 days ago so it's near the end of it's lifecycle - still it's miles ahead of any coffee around here. Just after Aeropressing a mug, I asked one of the male staff (who was watching the entire process with great interest) if he wanted a taste, he was very interested as he said he likes coffee. I offered him the mug, TO HAVE A SIP, he took it back behind the counter, poured the entire thing into another mug, added ice and condensed milk and sugar and had a sip - then gave me the thumbs up. he enjoyed the entire mug. Ahhhh, the language barrier. I proceeded to start grinding again. A classic, if only he knew. ;-)