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Seafood restaurant ticks all the boxes

Update: March, 13/2012 - 16:12

 

Understated: The restaurant layout is neat and simple and customers can enjoy the cool breeze flowing off West Lake while they dine.
Tempting: Stir-fried crab meat vermicelli (VND50,000) is served with beansprouts, crab, shrimp and dried onion.
Bring it on: The steamed snails with chilli is a tempting dish served with a delectable dipping sauce.

Huong Lan Seafood Restaurant

Address: 45 Nghi Tam Street, Ba Dinh Dist, Ha Noi

Tel: 0989 833 571

Hours: 8am - 23pm

Comments: Good service during rush-hour. Mostly seafood at a reasonable price. The space is airy and the staffs are friendly.

Huong Lan Seafood Restaurant looks like many of the city's other local restaurants, with their understated decors, but this one delivers more than you would expect, says reviewer An VuSoon after we arrived at Huong Lan Seafood Restaurant, the waitress brought us two large bowls of clam porridge and steamed snails. It was worth the long journey because our bellies were starting to feel neglected, but even during a packed dinner service with all the seats occupied, the staff didn't let us down, and quickly took our order.

It looks like many of the city's local restaurants with its easy-going decor, but this restaurant delivers more than you would expect. Maybe because it was my first time, I was unprepared for such an extensive menu, but although the restaurant was full by 7pm, we did not have to wait long for our food.

The restaurant is easy to find, located under Nghi Tam dyke in one of Tay Ho District's restaurant hotspots. Inside, everything is neat and simple, with two rows of tables and chairs in close proximity on the ground floor, but the second and third floors offer a wider, more spacious dining experience, where customers can enjoy the cool breeze flowing off West Lake while they enjoy tasty seafood.

We arrived with serious appetites, so I hurriedly picked a few dishes from the menu. Soon after, a bowl of appetising clam porridge (VND20,000) and steamed snails with chilli (VND35,000) were served at our table.

The dipping sauce for the snails was a little sweeter with a more intense flavour than I've sampled at other venues, and with the fresh ginger, garlic and chilli, my tastebuds were in for a treat. I guessed there was also a secret ingredient, but the owner would not divulge her secret, no matter how much I begged her.

Most customers are after a few tasty treats to satisfy their appetites, but others are just after a pleasant place to sit with friends and chat. Huong Lan has it all, and the hours can easily slide by as plate after plate of delicious food passes across your table. You can also rely on the staff who are neither pushy nor inattentive, providing what is lacking in so many of the capital's restaurants, good service.

We moved on to a dish of fried cuttlefish (VND60,000) which I had never tried before. I found it to be quite sweet with a meaty quality I enjoyed, but my friend said the portion was less than she was used to being served in other seafood establishments, possibly a sign of the times.

One of the tastiest things I have ever tried was the clam porridge. As well as the usual ingredients such as perilla, shrimp and crab meat, the dried onion gave it an additional sweetness that complemented the dish extremely well.

Because of its delicious aroma, my friend ordered a portion to takeaway for her mother, and I was tempted to do the same with both the porridge and the cuttlefish.

We finished with a huge plate of stir-fried crab meat vermicelli (VND50,000), with beansprouts, crab, shrimp and dried onion. We enjoyed it with the same sauce we'd had with the snails, but we were unable to finish because there was so much vermicelli.

The restaurant also offers a takeaway service, and you can carry on eating until deep into the evening, as it stays open late.

For a change of scenery, fresh air and delicious food at great prices, Huong Lan Seafood Restaurant will not let you down, so what are you waiting for? Grab your wallet and prepare yourself for a delectable seafood feast. — VNS

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