The most famous Vietnamese dish outside Vietnam is of course, the Vietnamese beef noodle, or pho (pronounce as “fe-eh”). This is likely the first dish most people think about when it comes to Vietnamese food, and for good reasons – it is accessible, delicious, and uses ingredients familiar with most other cuisines.
Pho Cao Van, at District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
There are in fact, two slightly different types of pho, one originated from Saigon/HCMC, and another from the Hanoi, a distance of over 1100 KM away. While both soup stock utilizes beef & beef bone as a major component, the Southern version also incorporate a stronger presence of aroma from fish sauce. In a way, pho from HCMC is the one you usually get, especially outside Vietnam.
the traditional way is to give you way too much vege
Pho Cao Van at Mac Dinh Chi road, however, is one of the few places that serves traditional Northern style pho at Saigon. At 40,000 VND and above per bowl, it is certainly one of the more expensive pho options out there, but also one of the more “authentic” versions there is.
squeeze the lemon, and dip those tendon in the chili sauce
I ordered a bowl with nothing but beef tendon (partly due to my failure in Vietnamese sign language, but no regrets), accompanied by a huge portion of fresh vegetable in which there is no way you can actually finish. The soup was light yet full of flavor from boiling beef bone over long hours. The tendon, melt in your mouth. It was absolutely lovely and not hard to see why this particular shop gets a steady stream of customers despite being rather shabby in appearance and yet charges a slight premium over others.
If you’re at Ho Chi Minh City, or anywhere else in Vietnam, you can’t go wrong with a bowl of pho, whichever versions it may be.
Phở Cao Vân
25 Mạc Đĩnh Chi,
District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
GPS: 10.784681, 106.699296
Hours: 6 am to 10:30 pm
A user commented that ever since I moved to Shah Alam, there’s been an influx of Shah Alam & Klang food entries with very few on PJ/KL, so here’s one that I thought is quite timely – the HK style Yung Kee Beef Noodle at Restoran Kwai Hup, Pudu.
Yung Kee Beef Noodle at Restoran Kwai Hup
This is certainly not a new establishment, but one of the really popular hawker eateries that I found out only recently via one of my colleagues.
A bit of research revealed that the proprietor spent quite a large chunk of his life in HK and brought the recipe back to Malaysia. The result is a version of beef noodle that is just slightly different from what we are used too. The broth is a little closer to the tangkak version, while the meat and innards are “fall off the bone” soft.
the default mixed beef (牛扎) with soup
Quite a few versions of beef noodle is available here.
Standard “ngau lam” style starts at RM 8 and comes with meat, brisket, and beef balls. Portion of beef is rather generous, and the melt in your mouth texture is really hard to beat. This place is becoming one of my favorites right after the first try, and I’ve returned for a few other visits since.
you can order just tendon, soft and tender tendon
If you’re like me who loves really tender beef tendon, you’re in luck. RM 12 gets you a bowl of beef noodle with nothing but tendon cut in scallop size. Heaven on earth is what this is about, I had this on my first visit and will dream about the beef tendon every now and then.
there’s also “American Fat Beef”, striploin I suppose
If you want to get a bit more fancy, they have a RM 25 portion of “American Fat Beef 美国肥肉”, or striploin for your enjoyment. We tried this last weekend and thought while it was good, the striploin doesn’t separate itself as a much more superior product than their regular beef/innards, which was already very very good.
Additionally, I’ve read that they have Angus beef every now and then (especially on weekends) if you want to indulge yourself further more. Feel free to ask for recommendations.
For me though, I’ll be back for their regular “ngau lam” with extra tendons pretty often from now on, I suspect.
Yung Kee Beef Noodle
Restoran Kwai Hup
24, Jalan Kancil, Off Jalan Landak
55100 Pudu, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.136191, 101.712989
Tel: 012-215 8009
Hours: 8 am to 2-3 pm
We traveled to Macau in late July 2014 for a three day two night of sightseeing and food spotting trip, and I’m happy to report that when it comes to food, this former Portuguese colony surely did not disappoint.
Should you find yourself at Macau, here are some of the places you may want to check out. This is the entry where I cover snacks and cheap eats, there will be another talking about the few restaurants that we tried during the trip.
we arrived at Macau on the evening, beautiful cityscape
As for weather, Macau isn’t different from Malaysia at this time of the year (July), temperature and humidity are pretty much the same, so light clothing and perhaps an umbrella if you’re afraid of the heat is advised.
The city is one that never sleeps, and I got the impression that it was very safe to walk around at any time of day. Public transportation by bus is very good, so keep plenty of coins and small change available as change is not provided on the buses.
HK dollars as well as Macanese Pataca or MOP are accepted pretty much everywhere, including the buses. At the time of travel, 1 MOP = 0.40 MYR.
Pro tip: there are many free hotel shuttle buses going to and from the airport, you can utilize them even if you don’t stay at the same hotel.
road side stall with chee cheong fun and dimsum in the city
The first thing we tried at Macau was this little road side stall situated opposite Centro Commercial Central.
We tried the chee cheong fun with siu mai which was priced at $30 MOP. The sauce was lighter than the one usually served in Malaysia, and the chili sauce has a stronger taste of vinegar to it. We found it pretty delicious and fitting as a pre-dinner snack or post-dinner supper.
Address: outside 48 Avenida do Infante D. Henrique
GPS: 22.191888, 113.541432
the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata
When in Macau, one of the snacks that you must not miss is the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata.
The egg tarts are $8 MOP each and was really as good as everyone claimed. The pastry soft yet crunchy, and the filling smooth and super flavorful with the aroma of milk and egg at their best. We only had 2 each but we really should have brought more. It was very delicious!
There’s always a queue at the shop, but you wouldn’t have to wait for more than a few minutes before being served.
Address: Margaret’s Cafe e Nata, Rua do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Macau
GPS: 22.191993, 113.542178
fried fish paste, pork bun, and beef tendon noodle at Sang Lei, next to Margaret’s
Right next door to the egg tart place is Sang Lei, a shop that perhaps thrive thanks to Margaret’s being constantly filled to the brim. We tried fried fish paste ($19 MOP), pork bun ($22 MOP), and beef tendon noodle soup ($22 MOP) there.
The food actually turned out pretty decent. The fish paste is pretty similar to those we get in Malaysia but tasted fresher, the beef tendon noodle was simple but if you’re a fan of tendon, you’d be delighted. The pork bun though, did not impress.
Address: Sang Lei, Rua do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Macau
GPS: 22.191954, 113.542136
cheap roast goose “fan hap” at Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon
While trying to go to Taipa island by bus on the second day, we accidentally took the bus heading to the wrong direction and ended up at this little strip of shops at Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon, which is located near the border between Macau and China up north.
Since I was hungry, we stopped by Sek Kei for a roast goose rice that was served in a styrofoam box commonly for those who wants it to go. Lucky for us Sek Kei actually has ONE table in their shop that I could eat. It turned out to be rather good and only cost us $27 MOP for the meal!
If you want a bargain, you can’t top this.
Address: Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon, Macau
GPS: 22.212118, 113.550351
Yee Shun steamed milk, a must try!
As for dessert in Macau, Yee Shun steamed milk is the one place that shouldn’t be missed.
The steamed milk custard ($28 MOP) has the consistency of our familiar “tau fu fa” but with that creamy aroma of fresh milk that made it so irresistible. We also tried their warm milk ($22 MOP) and papaya milk ($30 MOP) which did not disappoint either. The same place also serves sandwiches, eggs, and even pork bun.
Even as a person who’s slightly lactose intolerant, I now want to know how to make this at home!
Address: Yee Shun milk company, 60 Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau
GPS: 22.192741, 113.540461