Miss Saigon Vietnamese Cuisine… play the music!
They’re called bui-doi… the dust of life…
Conceived in hell… and born in strife.
Such was the first thought I had when I saw the name – a song from the musical Miss Saigon by Claude-Michel Schönberg et al. Then I remembered the scene in the musical where a bunch of Vietnamese bar girls / prostitutes compete for the title of “Miss Saigon”. Yes, it’s never a bad idea to research more extensively when picking a name. Not too different from people calling themselves Icarus or Chlorophyll.
The dining room of the restaurant was cramped. The tables were packed so tightly that we had to move our table to allow the lady who sat next to us to get in. The attitude of the staff were similar to what one would expect at a standard Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng (i.e. poor), although the per-head cost of dining here would be more than triple.
When we ordered, the manager told us that the portions we ordered were just about enough for 2 persons. Not so! The portions of the carbs were huge and was way more than what two non-Takeru Kobayashi diners could manage. The size of the bowl of beef pho was akin to a typical toilet sink, and the mount of glass noodles was definitely more suitable for a group of 4. Fortunately the portion size of the appetizers were not as big. I would definitely prefer for the manager to be honest instead of trying to sell more food than his customers can reasonably finish.
Whilst the large portions could be good news to some, the quality certainly isn’t. The beef pho was a combination of weak-flavoured lukewarm broth, stand rice noodles and beef that stayed pink throughout. I have been spoiled by the wonderful (albeit expensive) version at Brass Spoon, but this was worse than the standard pho you’d be able to find in Hong Kong.
The supposedly easy to make BBQ pork neck wasn’t any good, either. It was almost certainly not roasted. From the coloration at the edges, the supposedly sliced surfaces and how oily they were, it was extremely likely that these were pan-fried. $78 for a few pieces of bland, pan-fried “BBQ” pork neck. FML.
The small appetizer platter wasn’t much better. The lemongrass chicken wings were overcooked and dry. The “Miss Saigon homemade spring rolls” were unevenly cooked – one was under and one over. Both spring rolls were also extremely oily, to the extent that you would wonder whether they entirely skipped draining these. Squeeze them lightly with a fork and you’d see the oil. The pan-fried homemade Vietnamese ham lacked texture, whilst the deep-fried shrimp cakes were a bit too firm.
To save the worst for the last, here is the pan-fried glass noodles with crab meat. The crab meat was rather tasteless, as to be expected at such prices, but the glass noodles were actually suitably seasoned. Yet – so much oil. There was no doubt that we can extract a whole cup of oil from these glass noodles. Cooking oil must be cheap here.
The drinks were at least more-or-less normal. The longan ice ($32) was on the sweet side, even for a longan ice, but was very drinkable. The Creative #2: Discover Coffee ($32), however, was intriguing. The glass jug used was absolutely huge compared with the volume of coffee provided. The photo below was taken when it just finished dripping.
It’s crowded, it’s oily, and it’s expensive. No we’re certainly not returning, nor would we recommend anyone to come to this place.