Vietnamese food, much like Malaysian ones are heavily influenced by each region’s culture. Vietnam’s northern region uses more salt in their cooking while the centre produces spicier cuisines and food evolves to be sweeter in the south. This month, we traversed across Vietnam through Vietnamese spots in KL hunting for the best Vietnamese dishes our city has to offer.
Vietnamese Spots in KL #1: Sau Nam
This establishment has stood firm and unyielding for 15 long and fruitful years. With its first menu curated by the esteemed celebrity chef Mdm Cam Van, its selection has, since it’s initiation been upheld and reinvented by a proud line of talented, award-winning chefs. Preserving the French touch on their sui generis Vietnamese cuisine, this destination restaurant has captured the hearts of tourists and expats that wonder about KL. We were instantly floored by the first dish brought to our table. Goi Mang Cut, a mangosteen and prawn salad inspired by the southern region of Vietnam. This bizarre amalgamation of ingredients included coconut shavings, grilled chicken slices with annatto seed, dried squid, fresh tiger prawns and succulent flesh from the mangosteen fruit itself. This dance of fantastic flavours blew our minds. The sweet refreshing juice of the mangosteen fruit combined perfectly with the mild flavour of the meat and prawns, and the special kumquat dressing played its light citrus tones creating a symphony in our mouths that’ll definitely linger in memory. A work of art indeed. Another noteworthy dish we tried was the Cha Gio; Deep Fried Chicken Spring Rolls. Fried minced chicken rolls with strips of carrot, yam and mushrooms are delicately rolled in fine paper and deep fried to a golden crisp. These beauties are then rolled up in lettuce and some basil leaves and dipped in special fish sauce before taking a bite. Be prepared for an invigorating experience on your taste buds as the fragrance of the basil integrates seamlessly with the robust flavours from the spring roll while the slight sweetness of the fish sauce envelops the entire toothsome morsel. Sao Nam means ‘star Vietnam’, and it definitely burns the brightest in out-of-the-ordinary Vietnamese cuisine.
Address: 25, Tengkat Tong Shin, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hours: Open today · 12:30–2:30PM, 7–10:30PM
Phone: +60 3-2144 1225
Vietnamese Spots in KL #2: Kafe Vietnam
This hidden little nook inside Times Square boast its own proud range of unique Vietnamese culinary creations. A menu inspired by a true Vietnamese with a bevy of generational recipes under her belt, this family team has brought forth one of the most zany Vietnamese dishes in KL. Currently it’s the only place serving Lau Vit Nau Chao. An authentic Vietnamese family recipe so exclusive that even Vietnam locals are unfamiliar with it. But this broth, prepared with pure ingredients does wonders to impress. Customers here usually dry up the entire pot, so you can imagine how amazing a dish this is. Its main ingredient, the duck, is cooked with yam, kang kung, choi sum and mustard green in a boiling hot pot to be served with bee hoon. The broth on its own already tastes incredible but add in a dash of the fermented bean curd and you get a whole new world of flavour. Such a great find of a dish in one of the most unexpected of places.
In July, Kafe Vietnam is changing the Vietnamese game by reinventing their menu to provide a customizable Vietnamese culinary experience. Now everyone who frequents will be able to choose exactly what goes into their bowl, from the type of noodles, to the broth and even the meat. Be prepared to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine beyond the borders of Kafe Vietnam’s menu.
Address: Lot 02-49-08, 2nd Floor East Wing Berjaya Times Square No. 1, Jalan Imbi, 55100 Wilayah Persekutuan, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hours: Open today · 10AM–10PM
Phone: +60 18-260 8773
Vietnamese Spots in KL #3: Du Viet
The longest standing restaurant on our list, this pork free establishment’s name is a play on words suggesting to ‘do Vietnamese’ for a meal. Du Viet has been building its reputation as one of KL’s best Vietnamese cuisines since 2002. Inspired by his Vietnamese friends’ cooking while studying in Canada, Chris Goh; founder of Du Viet returned to Malaysia and started recreating the comfort food that he missed for the Malaysian audience. Filled with fresh ingredients with zero MSG, seasoning, or artificial essence, you get a taste of authentic, not to mention healthy Vietnamese cuisine. The Beef Noodle Soup was the show stopper. Naturally prepared by a Vietnamese chef, this Northern style broth was clear and full of flavour due to the imported bones from Australia boiled for 12 hours over low flame. Because of this elaborate preparation, the beef flesh was tender, and the stewed beef tendons were meltingly soft, you can’t help but be utterly impressed. Vietnamese food in KL doesn’t get more bona fide than this! And just to encourage you not to eat such lovely food alone, Du Viet has an offer of a free main dish after every two you purchase.
Address: Suria Klcc, Persiaran Petronas, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hours: Open today · 10AM–10PM
Phone: +60 19-263 3396
Vietnamese Spots in KL #4: Royale Vietnam
The opulent décor of Royale Vietnam foreshadows its equally lavish spread of culinary selection. This adorned abode, packed with Vietnamese culture sets the mood for an exciting dining experience. Our first dish there, the Goi Cuon Tom; Fresh Spring Roll was presented beautifully on its platter. Garden vegetables, herbs, vermicelli noodles, and fresh shrimp were wrapped up neatly in rice paper and dipped in sauce to serve. This mild tasting, healthy traditional Vietnamese delicacy was a refreshing treat indeed. We also gave the Pho bo dac biet; the Royale Vietnam Beef noodle Soup a try. This classic Vietnamese dish was served with tender beef balls, beef slices and flat rice noodles in a delicious broth boiled with beef bones for over 20 hours. A comforting concoction of flavour that you simply must try.
Address: 181, Bukit Bintang Street, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-2143 9778