And the fact that my iphone got flooded and my cousin loaned me her iphone 4. After being used to such nicer photos, it's quite a downer to have pictures that are less... erm.. desirable.
Anyway, here's one of the first few meals I had since my return from maternity leave. Ventured a bit further with my colleague to Nex at Serangoon. We went there 'blindly' with no idea of what to have for lunch. We just want to get away from the areas near or around our workplace!
Only upon reaching there do we source the shop directory and see what appealed to us most. And we decide on this Halal Vietnamese fare.
The interior of this restaurant is contemporary yet cosy.
What's interesting is that the whimsical decor vary with each wall facade.
Beside it was my colleague's Ice Lime Tea cooler. Very refreshing on a hot day.
We want to order a side to share between the both of us and we settled on the Bánh xèo- crispy Vietnamese pancake/crepe, with fillings. Can this also be attributed to the French influence on the country?
I've always seen this being eaten by hosts of travel shows; whenever they chow on Vietnamese street food but I can never get my hands on a Halal version, locally. Seeing this on the menu made me really excited.
This came served with a side of pickled veggies and lettuce. We are to wrap the pancake in the lettuce leaf with some pickle stuffed inside. And dip into some of the Nước chấm (dipping sauce) before taking a bite.
The crepe is really the crispy shell like I expect it to be. Combined with the savoury fillings of diced tofu, fennel, mushroom, shrimps and spring onions, it can easily be a meal on its own.
Also known as Bún Bò Nướng Chả Giò. Whichever rocks your boat. Basically it's grilled marinated beef served on rice vermicelli, with spring rolls.
I had the same dish when I dined at Orange Lantern, previously.
My colleague asked for my opinion as to what she should order and I told her about this dish that I had previously. She must have been taken in by my salivating description.
In the background is my glass of iced lemongrass tea.
As for myself, I got excited (yet again) when I saw the famous Cha Ca La Vong on the menu.
Cha ca means 'grilled fish' and 'La Vong' is the name of the legendary restaurant that created this dish. Tourists in Hanoi always make it a point to visit this restaurant to try this dish. And interestingly, the restaurant serves ONLY this dish.
How do I know this? Well, is it any surprise that I learnt all this from watching travel shows? That's how I learnt to hanker after all these exotic dishes. :P
Anyway this dish consist of marinated freshwater fish slices that's cooked with tumeric, ginger, dill, fish sauce, spring onions etc. And supposedly, lots of herbs. The bunch of herbs are absent in the one served here, I'm afraid.
Taste-wise, it seem more bland than what I expect. Maybe my expectations got heightened by the fame this dish received. Well, nothing that the Tương Ớt and Nước chấm combo can't help with.
All in all, the dining here is quite pleasant. I had initially wanted to try the Bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich using French loaf) but I obviously got taken in by the Cha ca instead.
However, I later chanced upon the Bánh mì in the menu of Streats Hong Kong Cafe, of all places. That's when I realised that these 2 restaurants, as well as BaliThai and some other restaurants; are under the same parent company- Katrina Holdings.
Also, I seem to see fennel being used widely. Well, it's strange that fennel is used in South-east Asian cuisine but I'm very sure it is fennel that I see. Don't tell me it's celery?!
Serangoon NEX, #B1-15
T: 6636 8195
Daily 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
(They also have another branch at #B1-08 JEM)