|Fresh end to a meal: Tea house in the Old Quarter: Limited spaces of the gold land in the area make room for fun and interesting interior design.
Located on the Old Quarter's bustling Dao Duy Tu Street, Com Suon (grilled pork ribs served with rice) is constantly crowded because of it's famous ribs and reasonable prices. It's perfect followed by a cold cup of fruity tea. Minh Trang reports.
"What should we eat today?"
That is the conversation my close friend Tran Ngoc Minh and her Korean friend always have each time they meet for lunch or dinner.
They met each other early this year when Minh found him struggling to find a university in which he'd enrolled in Ha Noi. Minh is very interested in Korean people and their culture. She is always ready to show her fluency in their language whenever she meets a Korean, in order to introduce Viet Nam and to improve her language skills.
Minh, a Hanoian girl, seems to know each corner and every street and shop in the Old Quarter. When she took her Korean friend to the Old Quarter for the first time, Minh choose Com Suon as it's good food and cheap.
Since then, she constantly complains to me, whenever she meets him, he always wants Com Suon for meals. Although she has suggested other delicacies in Ha Noi, he still insists on the same.
I wondered why that boy was addicted to Com Suon, and decided to try the dish with another friend, without Minh.
Although we are also local girls, wandering through the streets took time. We finally stopped in Dao Duy Tu, a busy street with many restaurants, food stalls, coffee shops and local people, besides foreigners.
|Balanced: Com suon (VND45,000), a dish that makes a name for itself.
I was startled when three men in uniform stopped my motorbike and invited us into a restaurant. I looked up and saw a large two-storey restaurant that had a prominent signboard mounted in front of it. We were excited because this was the one we were looking for. The staff smiled cheerfully to attract visitors. I did not think they were being polite, but I liked the friendliness.
I found the restaurant to be very crowded. An enthusiastic employee took us to the dining room on the second floor. I saw an outdoor, breezy dining area on the other side. A waitress urged us to order quickly and showed us the menu on a tablet. I counted 12 items for the main course. I ordered com suon (grilled pork ribs with steamed rice for VND45,000) for me and Com Dao Suon (grilled pork ribs with fried rice for VND45,000) for my friend.
The restaurant was very crowded probably because it was dinner time on a weekend evening. I had to wait for a long time (about seven to eight minutes). When I was thinking of reminding the staff, a man came from the first floor and presented us two plates of rice and ribs, and two bowls of soup.
While the accompanying soup was slightly cool, the plate seemed rather overloaded with rice, three pieces of grilled pork ribs, salad and other vegetables. I'm not sure it was a beautifully decorated one. The meat tasted like barbequed ones and had an amazing aroma. The salty and sweet flavours were in harmony. The meat was tender, fragrant and fully marinated with a nutty flavour. The steamed or fried rice combined with grilled pork had very distinctive flavours. The steamed rice was very soft and drizzled with a special fragrant sauce. I guessed the sauce was made of pineapple, with an interesting mix of sweet and sour flavours. The fried rice was garnished with fried onion and looked nicer than the steamed one.
All dishes were served with stir-fried vegetables or salad to balance the flavours. The salad was a Vietnamese mixture of vegetables such as cabbage, papaya, tomatoes and cucumber, known as "Nom". There was a variety of drinks, charged separately, for different palates, such as iced tea, boiled maize water, coke and soy milk, besides beer.
|Flavour frenzy: When you eat out in the Old Quarter, each stall is usually known for a house specialty.
Restaurant: Com Suon
Address : 47 Dao Duy Tu Street or 55 Bui Thi Xuan, Ha Noi
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm
Price: From VND45,000-70,000
Comment: A cosy restaurant with delicious food combinations and good service at reasonable prices
I enjoyed the food, without believing that it could suit me. The food was not excellent, just good enough, but the restaurant is almost always crowded throughout the day. Perhaps customers have to spend a lot of time and money to enjoy a perfect BBQ meal, and so a quick and unique meal of grilled pork ribs and rice at affordable prices is the perfect choice on a busy day.
My friend asked me to try grilled chicken with rice (VND45,000 per plate), which is as famous as the grilled pork dish. I had to divert her attention because I was full, and promised to try the dish on another visit. We left the restaurant to look for dessert at some other place.
We wandered through the streets and turned into Nguyen Huu Huan Street for some iced tea, which would perfectly complement the grilled pork. I was attracted by a tea stall named Hugo Tea at 62 and decided to try it because of its bright and clean appearance.
The tea room was not so large and there were just a few options for drink. I ordered a glass of peach iced tea (VND38,000) as I was attracted by its eye-catching colour.
The tea, with an amazing aroma, tasted fresh and was absolutely delightful. It had a delicate peach blend with the perfect combination of real tea and peach, sweet but not too sweet. This new and unique combination of fruity, sweet and fragrant peach and tea may completely replace lime tea, which was very famous once.
The Com Suon Dao Duy Tu meal had made my day perfect. Perhaps it was not of the best quality or appearance, but it was good enough for me to experience the bustle of the Old Quarter in particular and Ha Noi in general. A delicious Com Suon dish at reasonable prices and a glass of iced peach tea is the perfect combination that I want to try again. — VNS