Tuesday 22 March 2011

Saigon Oi! (originally Pho Saigon)

Saigon Oi! is my current favourite restaurant to go for lunch. In fact, I eat there at least 2-3 times per week. It's not just that this homey Vietnamese restaurant is only 2 doors down from my office (lazy me!), and air-conditioned, the main reason I go there is for their great clean, tasty and reasonably priced food. It's the sort of food you can enjoy everyday without feeling guilty!

Here are some of my favourites from Saigon Oi!

Sugar cane prawns with "Kanom Jean" (a kind of rice noodles). You can see the chilli, peanuts, etc on top. There is also the Vietnamese dipping sauce underneath. Mix it all up with your chopsticks and eat! A very light and refreshing dish. Some might find the sauce too sweet though. You can also have your "kanom jean" with other toppings eg. grilled pork marinated with lemongrass, beef, spring rolls, etc.

Sugar cane prawns with rice noodles

Vegetarian Fresh Spring Rolls - this is also rather gorgeous, and surprisingly filling due to the omelette and tofu. The sauce is thick and very yummy! I can just eat the sauce alone! They also have very good Fresh Spring Rolls with Prawns.

Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Deep fried Spring Rolls - This might be the only deep fried dish on the menu, and one of my favourite spring rolls in Chiang Mai! Very tasty, and deep fried so nicely - very crispy on the outside, and the pork filling so soft. Goes very well with the Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Spring rolls

"Lad Na" - Rice noodles with eggs and Maggi sauce gravy, well, I think they use Maggi! Quite different from Thai style Lad Nas & very tasty and fragrant.

Vietnamese "Lad Na"

The Verdict:
A great place to go for simple, tasty and healthy Vietnamese food. The staff is lovely too, but they suffer a bit from staff shortage, so service can sometimes be a quite slow if there are a few customers.

The Rating:
The food: 7/10
The ambience: 6/10 (Nice clean restaurant, nothing fancy. You go there to eat.)
Value for money: 7/10 (Dishes are from 45 baht-around 75 baht for beef / prawn dishes)

Saigon Oi!
Shop 206/27 Meechok Plaza
Chiang Mai
Tel: 0815308224

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Thursday 3 March 2011

Baan Khun Mor (Vegetarian Cafe)

Baan Khun Mor

Have I mentioned that Chiang Mai must be the Vegetarian food capital of Thailand? I have no figures to substantiate this, but there are really a lot vegetarian restaurants here. Most of them are cheap, local cafe style restaurants.

We literally came across Baan Khun Mor by accident. I was taking a couple of friends to Wat Suan Dok, an interesting temple on Suthep Road (behind Chiang Mai University). There is a strip of vegetarian restaurants near the temple...and well, we happened to find parking in front of Baan Khun Mor.

What attracted us to the cafe is that it looks quite modern and clean. The waitress is ready to welcome us in front with a big smile. As we approach the shop, we realise that the waitress might be blind in one eye (we didn't ask her!). This is quite surprising, since most blind people I've seen tend to end up busking at markets. Kudos to the cafe owner for giving the lady an opportunity.

Anyway, let's talk about food! The menu is quite large, and contains a lot of yummy sounding dishes, and the usual Thai dishes including Kho Soi, Pad Thai, etc. The waitress wholeheartedly recommends the Pad Thai, so how can we resist? And yes, the Pad Thai is good.

Other choices are: Golden Needle Mushroom Omelette (very tasty); Yum Moo Yor ("Moo Yor" salad) . Moo Yor is a kind of Thai pork loaf. Vegetarian Moo Yor is quite pleasant, and actually tastes remarkably like the real thing, except for a more rubbery texture. The salad itself is quite lovely, and the flavours quite mild (for a Thai salad), and quite gentle on our tongues and stomach! (Note: We asked for "mai ped" - not spicy)

"Yum Moo Yor"

The Verdict:
Overall, a nice and satisfying meal. Nice clean restaurant / cafe. Friendly service. Good place to go if you're in the area.

The Rating:
The food: 7/10
The ambience: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10

Sorry, I forgot to get their details! ..But as I mentioned before, it's located on Suthep Rd in a strip of shops just up (going away from the old town) from Wat Suan Dok, opposite Chiang Mai University.

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