Costly but worth every dong!Many Malaysian tourists, enticed by ASTRO travelogue Rasa Halal Orient hosted by one of the AF winners Farrah, would be familiar with the names of Halal restaurants like VN HALAL, Halal Saigon, Satay House and Kedai Shamsudin even before they depart for Vietnam.
|VN. HALAL serves both Vietnamese and Malaysian dishes|
We discovered that these were indeed necessary distractions since the service was at a snail's pace. I had downed two tall glasses of delicious Vietnamese iced coffee and iced chocolate drink before our shared kampong, salted fish and patprik fried rice, all reasonably tasty, was served. While we savoured our dinner, we spotted a Mat Salleh who almost dozed off at his table while waiting for his order!
More reviews on VN HALAL:
Address: 31 Dong Du Street (just across the Saigon Central Mosque), District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
On our second day, we had both lunch and dinner at Halal Saigon, directly opposite the Saigon Central Mosque or Masjid ar-Rahman and diagonally opposite the Sheraton. The blood red facade led us to a tastefully decorated interior, with sephia-toned photos on the dark grey walls and chic black-and-white lampshades to match the ceiling.
|This brightly painted restaurant is run|
by a dynamic lady, who's also passionate
about her pharmaceutical plant
The black and white floor tiles complement
the blood red furniture and wall on the left
as well as the grey ceiling and wall on the right
The sephia-toned photos did not diminish
the elegance of the interior decor
The food was delicious and the service efficient, with the Malaysian lady owner herself serving the customers when it's crowded in the evening. I had Vietnamese spring rolls for lunch and yam shrimp soup for dinner, which was delightfully different.
More on Halal Saigon: http://www.vietnam720.com/travel-tips/halal-food-in-saigon/
Address: 307/25 Nguyen Van Troi St
Phu Nhuan Ward, HCM City
On my third day, I joined a tour group to the Cuchi Tunnels. On the way back to the hotel, the tour bus stopped by an up scale neighbourhood, where we were greeted by the yellow signboard above the Balinese gate which led into the Satay House.
As soon as we enter the colonial style house, we were confronted with a blown-up photo of the owner with Maria Tunku Sabri, the host of the popular TV3 program, Jalan-jalan Cari Makan (JJMC). Since lunch was pre-ordered by the super efficient local guide Erra, it was served as soon as we freshened ourselves with the sanitised wipes provided. The 'asam pedas', 'daging masak kicap', 'sambal belacan' and other dishes deserved a rating of 4/5. The chef and owner themselves made sure that the meal was agreeable to the patrons. On the way out, we stopped to admire a smaller photo of Tun Raha (PM Najib Razak's mother) on the left wall.
Address: 445 Le Hong Phong St., Ward.2, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel : +84.8.6271-7494
Just before we checked out of the hotel, we had packed 'nasi campur' from Kedai Shamsudin.
From the conventional taste of the 'ayam masak kicap', 'sambal belacan' and 'ulam-ulaman', I surmised that the menu suited the Malay palate just fine.
This little makeshift alfresco diner is located right across the street from our hotel. It's placed in front of a shop selling 'telekung' and 'baju kurung'. The Poh (Vietnamese noodle) was refreshingly light and the iced coffee was a good deal at RM3. Very convenient for situations when your group leader and members left you in the lurch. Do be extra patient though with the pesky peddlers and starving mothers with infants in their arms hanging around the stall.