Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sao Nam - Vietnamese, Tingkat Tong Shin KL

Add: Sao Nam - No.25, Tengkat Thong Shin, KL
Tel: +603 2144 8225
Opened: 12pm - 12am week-days, except 12pm - 1am on Fri & Sat
A brilliant tasty way to start our meal .... Spring Rolls ala Vietnam (RM$18). Fresh, perfectly fried and not oiley, choc' a bloc' full of ingredients ... prawns, minced chicken, yummy!

Pomelo Salad (RM$28 - not cheap!) - Beautifully large and fresh prawns, and good fish sauce seasoning. Refreshing!

Signature dish ... Beef Pho (RM$18). Noodles are slighlty firmer then the usual Ipoh hor-fun variety, but this lends a character to the dish. With a squeeze of lime, the soup comes to life. The beef was tender and full of flavour too ... Good!
Fish Soup Noodle (RM$18) - Very interesting. Sharp, strong ... and you will grow to like it. Pieces of white fish, delicious!

Caramel Custard (RM$8) - Slurp. Nice with a hint of Vietnamese coffee!
Total damage for the meal ... RM$103. A really nice place, pleasant service ... and I must now try the one in Hartamas too!

Some write ups I found about this restaurant ...
Sao Nam, which literally means “Star of Vietnam” is located in the vibrant old restored street of old shophouses which is fast gaining reputation as a bustling food street – Tengkat Tong Shin, where trendiness has set in but the old world charm is retained.
Sao Nam displays the true potential of Vietnamese cuisine with a unique menu displaying a selection based on taste and an edge that sets this restaurant apart from the handful of Vietnamese restaurants in the city. Veering away from Vietnamese street food, menu is strictly authentic but presentation and innovative styles of cooking taking center stage. The result is that Sao Nam offers patrons with an authentic fine-dining experience with a touch of Vietnamese hospitality in a lovely ambience.
Recommended dishes are the fruit salads and in particular, the mangosteen salad, steamed rice rolls filled with shrimp mince, and the selections of Pho which use home-made noodles. Signature dishes also include Hue Beef Noodles and Hanoi Chicken Noodles.
A fabulous little Vietnamese restaurant has opened on Tengkat Tong Shin, a quiet lane with beautiful old shophouses that is fast turning into a food street.
In this unspoilt part of the city, only a stone’s throw away from bustling Bukit Bintang, old world charm has a home. Trendiness has also arrived, in the many restaurants that have popped up seemingly overnight.
Finally, KL has a restaurant that shows a little of the true potential of Vietnamese cuisine, which has so far eluded us. Popular Vietnamese food consultant Nguyen Dzoan Kam Van helped set up the menu, and has left her son, Vinh Khai, and another Vietnamese chef hand-picked by her, in charge of the kitchen to return to Ho Chi Minh City to mind her cooking school.
The menu at Sao Nam is conceived by Nguyen Dzoan Kam Van, who is a cooking celebrity back home in Vietnam. She has the longest-running cooking show on local TV and writes a food and recipe column in a widely circulated magazine. Nguyen Dzoan, who speaks English and French, runs a cooking school in Ho Chi Minh city, teaching Vietnamese food to foreign visitors and Asian food and pastry to the locals.
The 51-year-old mother of two boys has written 15 cookbooks, with nary a wrinkle to show for it – Nguyen Dzoan attributes this to her beauty concoction of a glass of yoghurt and pomelo drink every morning.
Nguyen Dzoan first rose to fame in Vietnam as the ''Knorr Lady'' in advertisements for the food flavouring brand. In the last decade, she has been sought after as a food consultant both at home and abroad. She helped set up the Macherie Vietnamese restaurant in Beijing’s five-star Hotel KunLun, and was the chef there for two years. Restaurants in the US, Australia, Germany, Japan and Singapore have sent their chefs to be trained by her. The prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) had invited her over for a 10-day stint as guest chef. There, she earned her reputation of possessing ''magic hands'' after concocting 16 dipping sauces from one simple fish sauce.
''To cook well, you must have good taste, smell and feeling; food must be good to look at and good to eat,'' said Nguyen Dzoan, who learnt how to cook the way all Vietnamese girls do; from their mothers and sisters. She cooks by taste and from memory, ''never from recipe''.

Ex-advertising professionals Lye Kin and Paul Liao tell of their decision to turn restaurateurs-''Our decision to start a restaurant on Tengkat Tong Shin was very much driven by emotion. We just had to ‘own’ this building. And this one has lots of character and a special aura."
Why Vietnamese? We think Vietnam is a great travel destination. We have made some lovely Vietnamese friends. And much of the good times we had in Vietnam were about enjoying Vietnamese cuisine. Is our food authentic? Yes, we have Vietnamese chefs. And we cook with essential ingredients imported from Vietnam. But we believe Vietnamese cuisine deserves a finer accolade than a mere reference to authenticity.
Ps. Sao Nam also has a newer branch located at ...
Add: Sao Nam Restaurant @ Lot P-36, 2nd Floor , Hartamas Shopping Centre , Jalan Sri Hartamas 1 , KL
Tel: +603 6201 0225

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