Vietnam flavors something to savor

By Jenny Hammond (Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-18 08:59

Vietnam flavors something to savorOne of the things Vietnam is well-known for is its mouthwatering food. Not unlike that of China, the cuisine of the Southeast Asian country adds delicate flavors to whip up something very characteristic and unique.

If you are in the mood for Vietnamese food, look no further than Dingxi Road and the Quan Viet Nam restaurant.

Leo Li, the restaurant's general manager, said the establishment, which opened late last year, was set up by two expats and two locals.

"They all shared a taste for Vietnamese cuisine so they decided to make it more accessible locally. Now it is one of only a few Vietnamese restaurants in Shanghai."

With head chef Ren Shijing Liang and three others all hailing from Vietnam, the food has an authentic taste.

Vietnam summer rolls are recommended as a starter. With spring rolls a favorite in the country these offer a refreshing twist - they are instead served cold and not fried and are both healthy and satisfying to taste.

More unusual dishes included the green papaya salad, oyster pancakes, curry crab with bean thread in clay pot and grilled shrimp paste on sugar cane.

The desserts were typical of Asia with ice creams and sorbets of many exotic and mouthwatering fruits.

The restaurant also has authentic Saigon beer and a selection of international wines, of which the selection is impressive and inexpensive.

With a modern cum retro interior, the Vietnamese touches are obvious in the restaurant's decor from the signature hats that guide you up the staircase to the carved wooden lamps and masks dotted around the space.

The mellow earthen colors provoked the appetite as the aroma of spices filtered through from the kitchen area to stimulate the palate.

Sitting down at one of the chic wooden tables you are confronted with a place setting of chopsticks, fork and spoon, a combination not common place in Shanghai restaurants.

"This is all part of the fusion of Chinese and Western influence," Li explained. "Our customers are a mix of locals and expats."

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