If you have a penchant for buffets and are looking to have your fill of dishes from several parts of the world in an ambience that also facilitates reunions, Nguyen Thanh Ha has a recommendation to make.
I seem to have developed a taste for buffets, especially when meeting friends after a long time.
When Hoang Chien called and said he's back after a mission abroad and would like to meet at a good restaurant with a good view, I considered a few options and decided on Su Buffet, which is in downtown Ha Noi. It has a nice view of the beautiful Thien Quang Lake and is surrounded by quiet streets.
When we arrived at the restaurant, several keepers quickly helped us park our motorbikes and several young girls guided us to a private corner, as we'd asked. We were happy with the spot. It was in a corner, but convenient to go around and get our food.
|Japanese treats: A variety of sushi dishes at Su buffet.
The restaurant is not very big, but the buffet is a large one with an abundance of Asian and European dishes. Seafood enthusiasts are in for a treat with fried shrimps, boiled cuttlefish, sushi or sashimi salmon.
We took our seat and began with a hot chicken sweetcorn which was delicious.
"A very good starter," Chien pronounced.
Su Buffet Restaurant
Add: 64 Nguyen Du Street, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
Tel: 04 39413338
Opening hours: 9:00am-10:30pm
Price range: VND298,000-338,000 (US$15-17)
Comments: Good and abundant sorts of foods. Su Buffet helps increase appetising.
I went around with my plate. The salmon sashimi looked fresh and tasty, but the sushi looked cold, and the bread with butter and garlic and fried cheese did not look very inviting.
A fried shrimp, a piece of fried beef, a small bowl of Japanese seaweed and a small dish of salad were on my plate when I returned to our table.
The salad, with its sour-sweet tinge created by fresh, raw mango was very tasty and whetted my appetite. I decided to go for another salad helping, recommending it to Chien and other friends. They tried it and agreed it was very good.
As Chien and friends caught up with each other, I went over the Vietnamese traditional food section where bun cha, bun thang and pho were offered. The broths were so fragrant that I stopped and spent some time struggling over what I would order. Buffet, it might be, but there was no way I could try more than one of the soups, at my age. I wished I was younger, lean and hungry.
Finally I decided to ask a young girl behind the counter to make me a bowl of bun oc. I told her that I was nearly full, so I need only a small bowl. However, it has to be hot, I stressed.
"Don't worry, the broth is boiling. You will be pleased," she said, asking me if I would like some mam tom (shrimp paste) with it. I did not.
She was right. The broth was hot, and the snail was fresh and crisp. Along with the perilla, onions and tomato, the dish was delicious.
A few minutes after I rejoined the conversation, a few waiters invited us to try salmon with passion fruit and a bowl of cordyceps roberti (a parasitic fungi).
|Mouth-watering sight: Abundant and attractive food at Su Buffet.
Next time, we said. We were full, and there was dessert waiting.
I chose a Thai pudding because I've found it cools down my system, but our friends opted for nep cam (violet glutinous fermented rice).
Chien enjoyed this immensely, praising the fragrance and the "drunkenness" of the rice.
"I missed this so much. In all my years abroad, this was the dish I could never get."
On that happy note, we decided enough was enough. If you are feeling hungry, yet want to eat in leisurely fashion with a lot of conversation, Su Buffet is likely to fit your bill. — VNS