Today we found a little gem of a restaurant called Nina’s Cafe – thanks Tripadvisor- hidden down a little alleyway and tucked behind an iron gate. The drizzle had just turned to hard core rain which motivated us from “getting a bite to eat” to ordering a full out 4 course lunch with a glass of wine. I guess you could say I’m a “fair weather” tourist because the temptation to sample delicious Vietnamese food far outweighed the photo op of me trying to pose in front of a famous pagoda in the rain. Our decision was a tasty, memorable one.
Here’s what I ate:
I started with a Khoai pancake which looked like an omelet with shrimp, pork and chicken inside. I was then instructed to cut off a piece of the pancake, place it in a thin piece of rice paper with some fresh basil, lettuce, and cucumber and roll all of those things together. Then I dipped the little “roll” in a light peanut sauce. Delicious.
Next I savored a bowl of “sup dai biet”, the chef’s special soup. It was a rice soup with a rich chicken broth, shrimp, chicken, egg and Vietnamese spices that I think included some lemon grass. A cup was not enough. This soup was delicious.
The main course was Ga Xao Xa Ot, chicken with lemongrass and chili. This is kind of like fajitas, or Chinese stir fry with peppers, onions, meat and lemongrass. I really like the taste.
Dessert, which is not so common at restaurants over here, was a banana pancake (a thin crepe filled with warm sliced bananas.) Eric had a mango pancake with ice cream on top so I stole some of his ice cream to give mine the extra sweet, warm melted ice cream deliciousness.
Here’s what Eric ate:
He started with Nem Ran Hai San Lupe Va Banh Beo (I really didn’t spell these correctly because I don’t know how to make Vietnamese characters). The short form of this long word is “fresh spring rolls”.
He also loves duck and ordered Vit Nau Cam, duck in orange sauce. I, on the other hand, don’t really like duck because I remember my first pets, Daisy and Donald (although they were both girls) and they were white ducks just like the thousands of ducks floating around on the rice paddies, and…well…I just can’t eat a pet.
A couple of glasses of Dalat (region in the south of Vietnam) white wine and we were set for a Sunday afternoon nap. The rain is dripping down the windowpanes, Eric is snoring, and I’m thinking that the rain poncho I just bought get us back on our bicycles tomorrow and keep us from getting too fat.