Viet Nam News
Compact eatery in an upscale HCM City mall serves delicious, reasonably priced Thai food, Mỹ Duyên reports
There is a welcome addition to the list of good places to eat when you go shopping in downtown HCM City.
At the recently opened Takashimaya Saigon Centre, the BlueChilli restaurant serves Thai cuisine, adding to the enjoyment of shopping with very good food, affordable prices and eye-catching décor.
Located in B2 of the building, BlueChilli holds its own easily amidst several eateries serving flavourful and tasty pastries and many attractive looking dishes prepared in open, see-thru kitchens.
The restaurant has limited space, seating only about 25 guests, and its popularity fills the spaces up pretty fast.
My friend and I were lucky to get seats as soon as we arrived at the restaurant last weekend. Many others who got there after us ended up having to wait to be seated. It was lunch hour, so it might have been peak rush.
But, in a shopping mall, it is very easy to wait. Tons of things to check out.
The restaurant uses the black colour, wood and iron imaginatively to create a décor with a vintage look, maintained in good detail, down to the small bowls, plates and chopsticks.
Something new: Pork BBQ served with sticky rice - a fusion dish, and standout dish: Soup with squid stuffed with minced pork - served by BlueChilli.
Though the restaurant focuses on Thai cuisine predominantly, there are some surprising fusion items worth trying such as stir-fried rice noodle with pork (VNĐ90,000); beef BBQ with Thai style sauce (VNĐ180,000), stir-fried rice (VNĐ90,000), an adaptation of Thai fried rice which combines green chilli, red onions, bacon and salted egg, and glass noodle sauteed with whole soft shell crab (VNĐ120,000).
Well-known and popular Thai dishes including tom yum, green papaya salad with dried shrimp and deep-fried catfish with mango salad, are part of nearly 80 items of offer. There are several curries, rice and noodles dishes, and a selection of hotpots, and the discerning nose can sniff out spicy flavours that carry influences from other countries.
We ordered a papaya salad (VNĐ80,000, large enough for two) to start our meal. Crispy and crunchy with a chilli sauce that blended sweetness and sourness perfectly.
Pork BBQ (VNĐ90,000) came next, with a superb dip sauce made with lemon juice, sugar, fresh red chilli, well-chopped cilantro and ground roasted rice powder.
“This is one of our new fusion items which makes up most of our daily orders,” said Duyên Trương, BlueChilli’s marketing manager.
“The ’secret’ of the BBQ recipe is that the pork is marinated well with fine spices and other ingredients, not to mention seasoned earlier with palm sugar, making it look delicate and irresistiable after grilling - as well as it gives the pork uniquely aromatic and delectable flavours.”
The BBQ went very well with Thai style sticky rice, but could also be had on its own. A large collection of BBQ skewers like grilled shrimp skewers with red chilli salt (VNĐ80,000), boned chicken leg sate (VNĐ80,000) and pork sate (VNĐ80,000) are also worth trying.
We liked the BBQ but felt like having something more, and settled on a squid soup at VNĐ120,000. The squid was stuffed with minced pork and served hot in sweet-sour broth flavoured with lemongrass, fresh red chilli and ginger.
It was superb, and we will highly recommend this dish, as also glass noodle salad with seafood (VNĐ80,000), deep fried, fluffy and crispy catfish with mango (VNĐ90,000) and stir-fried shrimp with satay (VNĐ80,000).
Spicy-sweet: Green papaya salad with dried shrimp.
In fact, seafood lovers have many choices clearly worth trying: whole soft shell crab stir-fried with green pepper sauce (VNĐ120,000), seafood curry (VNĐ80,000) or baby oysters fried with salted yolk and served in tamarind sauce (VNĐ90,000).
However, after the third course, we decided to focus on desserts, at least one typically Thai – banana ice cream and durian sticky rice – served with condensed coconut milk for VNĐ25,000 each.
I love coconut milk, hence the choice of two desserts, but I enjoyed the banana ice-cream more. It was not too sweet, and I could get the natural taste of banana and the richness of coconut milk.
No question that we thoroughly enjoyed good food in a luxury shopping centre, and no question that we’ll back there to try some of the delicious-sounding items. — VNS
Address: B2, Takashimaya Saigon Centre, 92-94 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa Street, District 1, HCM City
Opening hours: 9.30am-9.30pm
Comment: Good location, Tasty, Inviting prices, Cozy ambience and Good service.