Date of Visit: December 13 2013
I am in Hong Kong for a week now and in between the shopping and organising furniture deliveries for my new abode, I had also sorted out my gym schedule with my trainer (yeah!) so it’s high time to meet with my buddies before they leave Hong Kong for their respective home-countries for Christmas.
Because my buds are all gym-junkies – 😄 – we decided on a late lunch after their exercise sessions. After checking out a couple of restaurants nearing the end of lunch service, buffets were out of question. In the end, we rocked into Nha Trang, a Vietnamese restaurant on the ground floor of Ocean Terminal at around 2:30pm.
FYI: Nha Trang is a chain of Vietnamese restaurant first established in Sheung Wan, many years ago… and they have just opened a 6th branch in Causeway Bay.
To drink: Gym-junkies are health fanatics, so we each had a round of fresh coconut. Mr D, in fact told us that he is eating 3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily for his psoriasis problem. He is also using almond cream on his body as well as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for all round health…see, no harm in having metrosexual guys as friends who always have some healthy/beauty tips up their sleeves!
Mr D’s Choice: Cold Vermicelli Bowl with Grilled Pork. Vietnamese people often serve rice vermicelli or bun as cold dishes in room temperature with grilled meats, chopped lettuce, herbs, mints, coriander, a lot of bean sprouts and grated carrots and cucumber all tossed with nuoc nam (fish sauce). Mr D, a commendable foodie himself, found his choice underwhelming, but promised to take us to Mongkok for more authentic Vietnamese…
Ms C’s Choice: Ms C’s middle name is ‘Spin’, she goes to spin classes at least 4 times a week. In order not to sabotage her well earned figure, she ordered the super-healthy seafood salad – 2 skewers of jumbo chargrilled prawns on a bed of pomelo and sprinkled with toasted cashew nuts, fried shallots and garlic flakes. Her verdict: Nom nom with a wide grin.
Both Ms Italian and I had the hot spicy rice beef noodle soup. A huge bowl of spicy fragant stock, filled with rice noodles, sliced beef, sliced pork shanks topped with bean sprout and coriander. We also received condiments of fresh lime wedge each and freshly chopped red and green chillies to kick the spiciness up a notch. Ms Italian loved soup, so no surprise that she drank up the entire bowl of soup! I am a bit picky however finding the rice noodles too hard and the soup too bland – so I asked for more chilli! Personally, it was an ‘OK’ dish, extremely filling BUT I wished I had ordered a salad instead. 😩
Our protein came in the form of a super fat oven roasted chicken. Mr D wondered about the authenticity of the chicken – Vietnamese chickens should be skinny right? We were also given a bowl of garlic and basil oil to dip our chicken into. All-in-all – meh – a bland chicken, no chicken taste.
The grilled pork meatball rolls was described in the menu as a ‘popular southern dish of chunks of warm seasoned pork meatball and Vietnamese salad in thin rice-flour sheets’. I did not find any pork meatballs in my portion at all- I only found crispy deep-fried crullers. The rice noodles and rice-flour sheets were hard and had to be softened by the nuoc nam on stand-by at the table. It was made ‘nice’ by the nuoc nam, but nothing to shout home.
The restaurant was very crowded even when we finished our meal at 3:30pm. We were lucky to get a table by the window which looks into the ferry terminal. Yes, the sky was hazy (polluted, as usual), the weather bureau reports that the temperature is going to drop to 10 degrees Celsius this coming Monday. I am looking forward to wearing my new parka!
It’s December, so do expect me to sign off with a pic of Christmas decorations from one of the malls in Hong Kong! This one is taken by Ms C at Hang Hau Shopping Mall.