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Finally, Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine

Been particular every time I go to a so called Vietnamese food place because having spent 11 years in Sydney, I have had authentic, very good Vietnamese fare there. I think more than half a million "refugees/immigrants/boat people" came to Australia in the 70s. Most of them choosing Sydney, so much so that there were two large suburbs with a substantial concentration of Vietnamese Australians. Namely, Marrickville and Cabramatta (though we refer to it as Vietnamatta).

Have heard good reviews of this place called Vietnam House @ Genting before, never tried it, and now its apparently under renovation. Finally made my way to Vietnam House @ One Utama, located on 2nd Floor Old Wing, near Popular Bookstore.

The decor was intimate, Vietnamese in style, actually very romantic, more like a scene from the famous Jean-Jacques Annaud's The Lover (starring Tony Leung and the sexy Jane March). First impression, all wait staff were Vietnamese, big plus to me. How many times have you dined at places for certain cuisines but got served by Bangladeshis and Nepalese? Nothing against them working, but its not quite the same if you are having good Italian food or Sichuan food but the wait staff are totally detached from the cuisine. Attention to detail, or insistence on "quality control" from top to bottom, either way, a big plus for me. The lovely 'au dai' dress on female waitresses is another plus.

the appetisingly fresh shrimp/prawn salad with crispy spinach

So, how's the food? One word, authentic. Two words, pretty good. Three words, must eat here.

First key test, the pho bo dac biet or beef noodle soup. Soup quality, excellent. There is a lime if you want to squeeze it in, I prefer not to.

Second test, salad, mango salad with agar, very refreshing, top hit. shrimp salad with crispy spinach, good but a little sweet for me. Will go next time to try their pomelo salad with dried calamari, and the banana flower cabbage salad.

The menu consists of mainly southern Vietnam style of cooking, which is better than the northern style, plus a few dishes from Hue province. Hue used to be the old imperial capital,   Hue is famous for its severe weather with boiling hot days in the summer and ceaseless raining weeks in the winter. Hue people, therefore, have formed their own culture to overcome geographical and climatic difficulties. Thus they have a few Hue dishes, which are particularly more spicy/hot, well worth trying out.

smooth sticky rice topped with shrimp, shallots and fish sauce

This could be my favourite dish thus far from Vietnam House, its braised chicken in coconut juice with egg. Its so inviting, so homey, as if somebody dear in your family has cooked this specially for you. Goes great with rice - comfort food.

the comforting stewed chicken with egg in coconut juice, very home feel

Other enticing dishes to try out: Hue style spicy tangy beef ball soup; Vietnamese seafood curry; 5 kinds of beef wraps. Vietnamese cuisine, having been influenced by French and Chinese cooking styles, have their own identity of using the freshest herbs and spices available in their country. Always aromatic, always fresh, .... get your dose of Vietnam at Vietnam House without needing to go to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.

You should really go on Friday, Saturday and Sunday because Vietnam House have their "street hawker food  stall" on parade. They take the popular hawker food in Vietnam and you can pick and choose like from a buffet table. They have the popular Hue style tapioca cake, grilled chicken on lime leaf, duck tongue, grilled beef with lemongrass, grilled fish in banana leaf, mini pancake, among others.

The Vietnam House @ Genting is under renovation but should be operating again before the year is over. Under the same owner, they also operate the  Royale Vietnam @ Starhill Gallery (a bit more upscale) and the Mekong House @ Taylors College Lakeside ( bit more Vietnamese food court style). Later, I found out as well that the lady boss is a Vietnamese lady, thus explaining much of the authenticity. 
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