Sunday, August 9, 2020

YummY! - Authentic Vietnamese Food @ Vietnomms Cafe Kepong

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Authentic Vietnamese Food @ Vietnomms Cafe Kepong

Kepong, Kuala Lumpur - July 2020
These days the Kepong eating scene is getting more interesting: there are multitudes of good Malaysian eats, covering a wide spectrum of Malay, Chinese and Indian food. Of late (these past few years) certain areas of this township is getting more international: there's a section where Thai immigrants have set up a small "Thai town" with good and cheap Thai restaurants and even Thai grocery shops. NOW there's even a section where one can find shops selling Vietnamese food and groceries; these are not just shops opened by locals, but more like a joint venture between locals and some Vietnamese staying in the locality - so one can be assured of their authenticity!

During our cycling rounds in Kepong, a friend and me used to go to this place called Bánh Mì Thịt to enjoy their good Cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced white coffee). We have sort of become addicted to it after drinking it everyday while on a cycling tour of Vietnam!
Bánh Mì Thịt was a simple shop, with not much frills and operated by slightly loud and chatty Vietnamese ladies, making it look like it just relocated from Vietnam en-bloc!
The operator seems to have joint-ventured with some locals, and the place have reopened as Vietnomms Cafe; (a cute word play on Vietnam & Nomms) it has been given a face-lift with a good redo of the interior - it's still simple but is now brighter and more comfy.....
The menu has been upgrade and extended with more items, with photos showing good presentation. Perhaps they have even changed their Vietnamese chef as the photos showed very delicious looking stuff!
We started of with our favourite - Cà phê sữa đá - and to our delight, our suspicions proved correct this new coffee WAS much better than the one done by the previous operator! It was thicker giving a good oomph!
And it was a harbinger of the authenticity of the good food that were to come later.

Next to come, served in a nice rattan basket was the Bánh mì. The ones here were slightly bigger, good enough for two person to share.

The filling inside (with sticks of luncheon meat/ham, a piece of fried pork served with greens & cucumber sticks) was virtually identical to those street fare ones we found during our cycling tour in Vietnam. It is also popular in Cambodian cuisine where it's called num pang (Khmerនំបុ័ង).

The Bánh xèo (Vietnamese pancake) came in two large platter; one containing the newly fried pancake, the other holding the salad greens and Bánh tráng (rice paper wrappers).

These days, the rice paper in made more nicer looking; they are hard twangy sheets with checkered patterns. Bánh tráng wrappers are made from rice flour supplemented with tapioca flour or sometimes replaced completely with tapioca starch; so the term rice paper could be a misnomer.... call them tapioca paper then 😂.
They come with a saucer of water, dip the hard sheets into the water and they be will soften, ready for wrapping things. Don't be overzealous in the dipping as the skin may turn up too soft.

My fingers seems maladroit and my Gỏi cuốn looks ugly with an odd salad leaf sticking out.
But this photo was not just about my clumsy hands; the photo has been taken with the spring roll skewed to one side, thus showing the beautiful patterns of the Ming blue china plate. I just love the crockery used here, they just add to the authentic atmosphere.

Our order of Chả giò/nem rán (deep-fried spring roll) looks interesting. Instead of using the usual Bánh tráng flat wrapper, here they used a wrap that seems to be made of vermicelli which gives an even better crunchy bite. Inside, the filling is not just mince pork but also long sticks of yam. And it has a salty-sweet flavour.

We have had a heavy breakfast, and just ordered on main dish to share between the two of us, this was the Bún thịt nướng.

It's cold vermicelli noodles served with grilled pork slices and with condiments of some fresh herbs (basil leaves, etc), ground nuts and deep-fried shallots.

Vietnamese vermicelli is not like the firm Chinese vermicelli; they are softer and have a slightly sticky surface texture almost like min sin (米線) but with a firmer inside. The ones here have absorbed the gravy well, giving them a good underlying taste that goes well with the soft-bite texture.

Overall it was a good meal, just adequate for the three of us. The next time we come here, we won't make the mistake of coming here half full, it will be on an empty stomach so that we can savour more of their authentic dishes.

The upgraded interior although Spartan, is clean and have a homely feel.

Black and white photos on one side wall add to the coolness of the place.

Midway are tall shelves stacked with Vietnamese groceries - dried foodstuffs, condiments and 3-in-1 Vietnamese coffee. All these are for sale.... we bought some of the Vietnamese vermicelli... haha!

On the other side walls, are painted some of the dishes available. I guess these are the more favourite dishes ....

.... like the Bánh xèoGỏi cuốn, Hủ tiếu Bò Kho (Beef Vermicelli Noodles), & Com thit kho tau (Braised Pork Belly in Coconut Juice). Hmmmm.... the last one sounds interesting, must try next time - Thịt kho tàu marinated pork belly and hard-boiled eggs braised in coconut water! It's not a rare dish and is quite common in southern Vietnam. Cơm (rice) is commonly served alongside this dish.

more of the wall menu: Cơm Sườn Nướng (Grilled Pork Chop & Rice); Cà Phê Phin (Vietnamese Drip Coffee), Banh mi thit (Banquette sandwich with ham) and Bánh Cuốn Chả cá (Steamed rice rolls).

They have quiet an extensive menu; below are Vietnomms Cafe's detailed menu:
Bánh mì Menu

Món Chính Main Dishes Menu

Mì Việt nam (Vietnamese noodles) Menu

Món Thêm (Vietnamese Snacks & Desserts) Menu

Thức Uống (Vietnamese Drinks) Menu

Thức Uống (Vietnamese Drinks) Menu

Món Chính : Main dishes.
Cà phê sữa đá : Vietnamese iced white coffee.
Bánh mìshort baguette with thin, crisp crust and soft, airy texture inside that is often split lengthwise and filled with various savory ingredients as a sandwich.
Bánh xèo : A savoury fried pancake made of rice flour, water, and turmeric powder. Some common stuffings include: pork, shrimp, diced green onion, mung bean, and bean sprouts.
Bánh tráng : Edible Vietnamese rice-paper wrappers used in Vietnamese cuisine, primarily in finger foods and appetizers such as Vietnamese nem dishes. Bánh tráng wrappers are made from rice flour supplemented with tapioca flour or sometimes replaced completely with tapioca starch.
Chả giò/nem rán : Ground meat, usually pork, wrapped in rice paper (bánh tráng) and deep-fried. This is the deep fried version of the more popular Gỏi cuốn spring rolls, but often the fillings are different. These are served with peanut sauce or other Vietnamese dipping sauces, such as nước chấm, a condiment based on fish sauce.
Bún thịt nướng : A cold rice-vermicelli noodle topped with grilled pork, fresh herbs like basil and mint, fresh salad, giá (bean sprouts). The dish is dressed in nước mam fish sauce (nước chấm).

23, Jalan Metro Perdana 7, Taman Usahawan Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60125219916
Hours: 10:00am to 7:00pm (Closed on Mondays)
GPS & Directional Map: 3.21516, 101.64306
(Click here for Google Street View)

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