Cosy: Mây Bốn Phương restaurant. Photos Thành Chương
Viet Nam News
by Mỹ Duyên
Despite its obscure location in a quiet alley in HCM City’s District 3, Mây Bốn Phương restaurant has developed a wide reputation for finely prepared traditional dishes at reasonable prices.
The restaurant, covering the ground floor and grounds of an old Saigonese-style villa in the Vườn Chuối residential area, has simple wooden tables and chairs, creating a home-like, friendly atmosphere.
Though the restaurant focuses on southern family meals, diners can also find delectable dishes with a modern twist.
On the main menu, gỏi cá Mây Bốn Phương, or cobia fish filet salad, and cá trứng mắm me, deep-fried shishamo fish served with tamarind sweet-sour sauce, are two of the outstanding starters, while the main dishes include bò cuộn phô mai, grilled beef rolled with cheese; gà nướng ngũ vị, grilled five-spicy flavoured chicken; and gà nấu rượu chát, chicken braised with white wine.
Bò xào hành tây ớt chuông, beef sautéed with green pepper and onion, and cá chẻm chiên giòn, deep-fried garoupa filet, are also on offer.
Favourite: Lưỡi heo hầm xốt pate or pork tongue braised with pork pâte has been a bestseller at the restaurant for more than 30 years.
Famous: Gỏi cá Mây Bốn Phương cobia fish filet salad is a specialty of Mây Bốn Phương Restaurant.
The cobia fish filet salad (at VNĐ150,000, enough for two or three) was our first choice, while my two kids ordered súp cua crabmeat soup with egg yolk (VNĐ23,000 for a small bowl) and grilled beef rolled with cheese (VNĐ90,000).
A specialty of the restaurant, the cobia fish salad is the most-ordered dish on the menu.
“The fish salad has made our Mây Bốn Phương restaurant brand,” said a member of the family who owns the restaurant.
The fish filet in sweet-sour lime juice was mixed with green onion, ginger and red pepper slices, while the homemade wasabi sauce added more pungency to the dish.
We loved our salads and my kids were especially thrilled with their choices. The soup, my daughter declared, was “tasty and aromatic”.
After tasting his first piece of beef grilled with cheese, my son was equally enthusiastic and begged to order another serving.
Next were tôm rang me or river prawns sautéed with sweet-sour tamarind sauce (VNĐ90,000), another standout dish. The secret of the dish is its tamarind sauce, which has a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavours.
Though I thought the tamarind sauce was outstanding, my children preferred only the prawns as they don’t like sour flavours.
To satisfy my children’s appetite, I ordered tôm chiên lăn bột or deep-fried prawns coated with a light tapioca, Mây Bốn Phương-style (VNĐ90,000). I tried the dish too.
The crispy exterior crackled at the slightest touch of my teeth, while the juicy prawn melted in my mouth. This fine delicacy should not be missed.
We were nearly full after the deep-fried prawns but still wanted more.
As recommended, we sampled lưỡi heo hầm xốt pate, pork tongue braised with pork pate (VNĐ110,000), served hot with a baguette.
Apart from its eye-catching colour, the finely cooked tongue meat was tender, juicy and aromatic. The dish has been a bestseller of the restaurant for over 30 years.
Besides our choices, there were a variety of sumptuous and stunning food items on the list at very inviting prices.
Among the must-tries include hotpots (from VNĐ160,000) including Thai-style and shrimp hotpots, seafood fried rice (from VNĐ30,000), cánh/đùi gà chiên muối ớt, fried chicken wings/legs with chilli and salt, and grilled five-spicy flavoured chicken (from VNĐ90,000).
After our fourth dish, we were far too full to order more.
So we postponed some tempting options for our next visit which, I’m sure, will come soon!
Mây Bốn Phương Restaurant
Address: 132/6 Vườn Chuối Street, District 3
Phone: (028) 38334743
Comment: authentic southern family recipes, cosy ambience and inviting prices (VNĐ45,000net – VNĐ180,000net).